Monday, August 31, 2015

WEI Event Lay Stress on Women Empowerment

WEI Event Lay Stress on Women Empowerment

Tiruchirappalli Aug 27: The swan song, women empowerment, left a huge impression at a women entrepreneurship seminar at Kolakkudipatti village, some forty five kilometer from this southern city.

The mega event was organized by Women Entrepreneurs International (WEI), an initiative of ROKITT Inc, a US-based tech startup. This was done in collaboration with Gramalaya, an NGO engaged in micro-financing for women.

It was an occasion for women from nearby villages to turn up in large numbers, to attend this day-long event.

Many started gathering since early morning. First they registered at the WEI stall, then sat under the huge tent or ‘shamiyana’ to watch the cultural show.

All eagerly waited to listen to the WEI top brass, who had specially flown in from US as well as from different places in India to attend this seminar on women entrepreneurship.

The WEI officials engaged the women participants, telling them the aims and objective of WEI and how this global initiative can change their lives through digital technology.

“Women Entrepreneurs International intends to expand the women’s empowerment’s initiative on a very large scale,” said Rohit Mahajan, the CEO and founder of Rokitt Inc.

 “WEI supports women in launching and running businesses and create a global market place for them” said Oksana Sokovlsky, President of Rokitt Inc.

“WEI offer services like how to build an effective business plan, securing funding, registering a company, legal and accounting services, launching a website, networking and many such initiatives that goes into able entrepreneurship,” she added.  

Mahalakshmi Sarvanan, WEI Head, India Chapter said ‘WEI benefits are numerous.’
‘We provide online tutorials, ‘how to do business,’ ‘webinars’, a tool to interact with industry specialists, ‘skills workshops’ on business subjects and specific crafts and many add-ons.’

The women entrepreneur seminar provided a platform to local women entrepreneurs to showcase their products.

Many locally produced products were put on display to attract their attention of the participants who were seen moving from one stall to other.

The objective of the seminar was to promote WEI commitment to creating jobs and income generation initiatives for women and making them financially independent.

It was also an occasion to champion social cause like, creating awareness about breast cancer, campaigning for toilets for women and their issues related to sanitation and hygiene.

Women Entrepreneur International (WEI) that aspires to empower more than one million women in next few years, used this occasion for its membership drive.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Army Dogs and Horses are Killed at Retirement

Army Dogs and Horses are Killed at Retirement
Syed Ali Mujtaba

Indian army shows no mercy at the dogs and horses that have dedicated their lives to serve them with distinction. The minute these animals grow old or fail a fitness test, they are simply shot and killed. However, the say they use euthanasia.

For years these animals were killed in secrecy, but now a Right to Information Act query has blew the lid off the army’s inhumane methods.

Army dogs are trained since they are puppies. It’s used in critical areas like explosive detection, guarding bases, and finding disaster victims. These brave animals regularly save citizens’ lives.

However, after a lifetime of saving lives, when these animals grow old, instead of being given service benefits they are awarded death sentences.

The law only allows killing animals under very ra
re circumstances such as an incurable disease.  But these army-owned animals are not covered under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act -- which is why the army gets away with their murder.

The logical reason Army gives is that the upkeep of such dogs with the kind of facilities they enjoyed while in service is too expensive and that they are exposed to severe sensitive locations while in service makes it unsafe to leave them in civilian hands.

The canines after a month of being declared unfit to work are euthanised as it is considered unsafe to leave them in civilian hands, say army sources in response to the RTI query.

"Army horses and dogs are evaluated for their fitness with respect to the performance of duties. The animals which are considered unfit for one month active service are disposed of by humane euthanasia," the army said in its response.

Many feel that these innocent and loyal animals who serve the Indian army day in and day out should be given a decent shelter once they are old and unfit and be cared rest of their lives.  These animals deserve the affection of individual soldiers who have served the nation and should not meet such sadistic fate.

This cruel and senseless policy, a legacy of colonial rule and need to be amended. Now when this fact is finally in the open, efforts be made to ensure these animals are treated well.

'Animals cannot be tossed away like empty ammunition shells. It is unfortunate that the dogs are euthanised,' says Poorva P Joshipura, PETA India CEO.

Indian Army mainly uses Labradors, German Shephard and Belgian Shephards for security services.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bajrangi Bhaijan – A celebration of Humanity

Bajrangi Bhaijan – A celebration of Humanity 

Syed Ali Mujtaba

Seeing movie Bajrangi Bhaijan made a stream of ideas flow from my funnel. I need to pen them as it may escape the mind and the commentary on a meaningful film will be lost forever. There are many stories within the film
and each need to be narrated to highlight the achievements of this film.

The first theme is all about India- Pakistan relations. The movie shows how similar the two countries. The idea of people to people contact dispels many misgivings. There is an explicit message that the hatred that exists in India against Pakistan and in Pakistan against India is meaningless and its burden has to be shed.

The dialogue that hatred sells and love don’t sum it all. This movie is a genuine attempt in building India Pakistan relationship. It will stand out as a master piece in such genre of movies. Raj kapoor’s ‘Hena’, too has been on similar lines.
This movie also touches about the core problem of South Asia. This is the Kashmir issue that has been the bone of contention between India and Pakistan for last sixty five years or so. The division of Kashmir as dealt in the film shows how this piece of land is so near yet so far for people living in that divided space of land.

How the two countries are playing for the possession of this beautiful land. How the innocent people living there are the victim of this divisive politics. All these ideas come out very boldly in this film.

The movie tells the story of South Asian Islam. It shows how Islam in part of the world is based on syncaretic traditions, the blend of Sufi tradition that has common shared culture. How Saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulyia of Delhi is revered in Pakistan.

How the lyrics of Amir Khusro is sung in India and Pakistan even after eight century when it was orginally written by this illustraious disciple of Hazrat Nizamuddin.

How, Islam and Hinduism exist side by side in old Delhi area adjoining Jama Masjid. How, Muslims and Hindus enjoy the Sufi Qwalli, which is sung in the praise of Islamic saints in such hospice.

This is a movie about Hinduism or Sanatan Dharma. Bajrangi Bahijan who is a Brahmin and a Chaturvedi cannot accept any one other than a Brahmin or at bes a Kastriya. He is ready to accept Munni within two caste categories. He cannot view anyone beyond these two upper caste.

Nothing more exposes to the world this world view of Hinduism or Sanatan Dharma. This hard reality is portrayed very innocently in this movie.

The movie is about Bajrang Dal and Sangh Privar. There common behavior of being intolerant against Muslims and Christians. The movie tells them that humanity is higher than their religious faith.

A true Hindu cannot be intolerant or fascist is the deep message of this film. The movie shows how Maulana Om Puri and Bajrangi Bhaijan are on same page when it comes to helping the people in distress.

All praise for the director Kabir Khan, who grew up in Delhi and studied at DU and Jamia. He knows how Hindu temple and mosque exists side by side. How dargah and Hanuman temple is common landscape.

The journalist in him is portrayed in Chand Nawaz character, comes out very well. He has meticulously built this character and actor Nawaz Siddique has given a life to it. No wonder he has been applauded across the screens all over the country.

Finally, Salman Khan has moved from playing Romeo or doing dishum dishum as an action hero. He is now moving to do the character based role that suits his age. In this Salman is being nurtured his father Salim Khan, of Salim- Javed fame. It seems the elder Khan and a master of pen has a big role to play in shaping Salman’s future.

Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijan and Amir Khan’s PK, both the movies fall in the same genre of films. Both are a satire on contemporary India and a bold attempt to question the realities of India.

These two films Bajrangi Bhaijan and PK compel Indians to think differently about things that so common around them. The message of both these films is to shed the misgivings about others and act as normal human beings.

The success of these two movies suggests that Indians are ready to move beyond love story, sex and dance, fight and hate stories. The triumph of humanity in the Bajrangi Bhaijan and PK, epitomizes that India is changing and so are many Indians.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Debate on Colonialism Remains Inconclusive 
Syed Ali Mujtaba

This is never ending debate; the colonial argument is that British rule has helped India in many ways. The progress and development of the country is due to foreign rule. Imagine India without colonial rule.

India was exposed to science and technology, English language, discovery of its past, railway, telecom, newspapers etc all due to colonial rule. The argument that colonial rule was benevolent is unending.

On the contrary the nationalist argue that colonial rule symbolized a master slave relationship it was a tyrannical rule. Whatever British did to develop India was for their own selfish purposes and there was no sympathy towards the development of the country.

To put the nationalist argument succulently through an  Urdu couplet “ wo karam unglion pe ginte hain, zulm ka jin ke khoi hisab nahin.”  It can roughly be translated as; ‘they count their generosity on fingers, whose deeds of atrocities are account less. Well this debate is unending.

I have a footnote to it. The British came as colonizers, they left as friends. Even with all the ill will as acts of colonialism, there is hardly any animosity against them in the country.

Contrary, to this, the so called Muslim rule in India are seen with disdain. The so called Muslim rulers virtually got assimilated in the Indian milieu and were never colonizers in any sense.

However, the genesis of the souring Hindu- Muslim relationship and the hatred of Hindus against the Muslims are traced to those historical past.

There is an argument that communal relationship was not all that bad during the Muslim rule and the communities lived in peaceful coexistence. However, in independent India, there are not many takers to this line of thought.

In this debate goes an argument that it was divide and rule of the British rule that polarized the religious community in India.

If that is the case, the benevolence of the colonial rule is steeped into deceit, because the seeds of hatred they have sown have left a huge negative impact on the country.

No amount of persuasion of unity in diversity and peaceful coexistence can pacify the polarized communities. This is the ugliest legacy of colonial rule in India.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at