Protest against ejipura site demolition (held in feb)

Hello! everyone. I am sure that all of you must have watched the Oscar winning movie “slumdog millionaire”, and enjoyed it too. Movies make everything look so beautiful, but does it really happen and exist everywhere? Close your eyes for a while and just imagine. Imagine that waking up one day in the “metal sheet” house not in your home and spending the whole day without electricity and clean water. Above all getting bad unhealthy food to eat and filthy smell all around. What would you do then? Curse yourself or your own fate or the almighty ? As I love eating a lot, moving all around, staying in a peaceful atmosphere with good supply of water and electricity so I can’t even dream of spending a day in such horrible situations.Not only me but no one can actually think of facing all those troubles everyday. Therefore, my dear friends,citizens and senior citizens we all must open our eyes to get out of this horrible nightmare.Everyone does not have the same fate like us ,slums and shanties are reality for many people, they are also humans, they are also one of the same like us.

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                             A slum is a rundown area of a city consisting of poor, lower class people, who often cannot afford the basic necessities of life, such as sanitation, healthy food and clean water.  A shanty town is a slum settlement (sometimes illegal or unauthorized) of plywood, corrugated metal, sheets of plastic, and cardboard boxes. There are millions of slum dwellers in India. People choose to live in the shelters they make themselves. There are various reasons for this unwanted happening like the most common reason being is that it is too expensive for slum dwellers to afford housing, basically due to poverty and illiteracy. Also people who want to avoid paying rent and taxes, reside in slum as well. This kind of living that can be a horrible nightmare for us but is actually a day to day life for many people and they try to remain happy in their small dirty world by satisfying themselves with the thought that it is better to have some shelter than to live on roads where there is no place to live.

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                              Since January 2013, more than 5000 urban poor people have been mercilessly displaced from their homes in EWS Quarters, Ejipura. Houses were demolished, toilets were destroyed, water supply was stopped and power lines cut off. 1512 families were out on the streets in the cold – they were unable to go to work, children were unable to study for their upcoming exams,moreover families could not afford advance deposits for a home anywhere.

There was a protest  to be held basically asking Why is land earmarked for purpose of housing, Economically Weak Sections (EWS) being used for the purpose of private profit and commercial exploitation? It was to demand the rebuilding of houses for all erstwhile residents immediately on the same land, prosecute those responsible for brutal evictions and collapse of the EWS quarters, order an independent judicial enquiry into the illegal diversion of public lands.

Unfortunately the protest was cancelled as police stopped us and arrested a few. But there was a meeting held. Many people had come to attend this meeting. That was the day I met other Aam Admi Party members. There was a huge crowd where each one started introducing themselves. They also gave information about why they joined the party. I can’t forget a woman saying that she will never leave the party, she is ready to give her life for it. The reason was that the party members had supported her when she was in a big trouble. Her son was in hospital and someone in her family had died. But still she had come for the protest and meeting.

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        Prashant ji joined, but my bad luck was that I had to leave early. The worst thing happened that the demolition was carried out and the protest had no effect. If the demolition was necessary then it could have been ensured that the people living there were given a place to stay. It was really sad to read about the woes of people. Not only that they didn’t get a place to stay but also many fake “brokers” fooled them by taking the advance and not giving the promised place. This time the purpose of protest was not fulfilled  But I hope we join together next time and not let anything such happen.

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What I miss in city!!!

Sitting in my aunt’s balcony in Hosur, enjoying rain and sipping tea reminds me of what I miss being in a city. Bangalore, the IT hub, which was once also called  “The garden city” feels so lifeless. “Lifeless”, that is what I feel looking at all the buildings around me in Bangalore. There are trees here and there but i wonder what their fate may be. They are standing there now but after few years there may be something else built instead of them.

Hosur too is changing. I remember it being “jungle like” when i was a kid. Later there were new buildings coming up. A fly over was constructed two years back aprox. I have come here after four years and cant recognize its the same old place. But it still has few ponds (which may dry in few years, few may mean one or two year), a hill that can be seen from many houses there( the houses dont have more than two floors) giving a beautiful view. The house where i am now has so many trees around making the surrounding atmosphere pleasant.

A pic I took from uncle's home

A pic I took from uncle’s home

I have never planted a tree till now to be frank. I also am very bad at observing things but this is something that comes into view so strongly that you cant just ignore it. Hosur is a part of TamilNad. There is a huge fight for water between Karnataka and Tamilnadu and  so also cant assume that Hosur is plenty of water. But it definitely has a pleasanter weather. I have been to other villages too. They all feel better than the pollution here.

This was the view near by my grandma's place on every roadside. Now I see nothing other than buildings.

Pic from roadside in Hosur. This was the view near by my grandma’s place on every roadside. Now as I said it is changing and trees are being replaced by other constructions.

The thing that scares me the most is when my grandparents say “Here was a pond before.” A pond?? Seriously!! Where is it now?? Vanished just like that!!? I searched about the “vanished” water bodies. To my horror there are so many places where the water bodies have been replaced with something else.
Dharambuddhi tank was where majestic bus stand is now. The Bangalore city bus stand where there is always a huge crowd, each of one must have been there atleast once, without even knowing it was a place that provided water to many previously. It will always bother me whenever i think of it. A lifeless place again!! The Dharambuddhi tank was difficult to find even on google! No one knows what happened to it and its as if no one should know it.
The Koramangala tank is replaced by a sports complex. Challaghatta tank replaced by KGA golf course and Sampangi tank is a sports stadium now. The list goes on and so do the stories of water shortage.

I am not completely against the urbanization.  I am confused myself when i wish that there must be a metro in the city and also that there must be a stop on cutting of trees. I see tree felling in teachers college area a lot. I called up the south zone forest department to inquire about it. He said that the trees are being replanted. It is an act that trees if cut must be replanted. Well, that is a relief. But the water crisis is still a horror.
The environment we study about in school from the beginning should not , i hope not, become ‘extinct’ like the dinosaurs. I hate to imagine that the only thing that remains is buildings n roads n flyovers, the lifeless things. And even worse no water to drink.

The forest office numbers for Bangalore are
9480683842/08026578423 for south zone
9845174447/08022485317 for north zone
you can complain or inquire things here.

Just hoping that Hosur too doesn’t turn lifeless like Bangalore. I too will join few tree planting events and any campaign that speaks of environment. Will know things better and next time I post about environment I will have proper info..

Protest against the child rape

Many people joined at town hall for protest against the rape of five year old. Within four months after the nirbhaya rape case, another brutal rape reported. this time even more violent, even more disturbing, rape of a five year old. The people joined there were disturbed by that and so they had joined. We all started with making charts expressing our rage about the incident.

‘We want justice, hang the rapists’

‘Arrest the rapists not the protestors.’

‘The girl’s life is more important than the election campaigns’

‘Stop violence against women and children!!’ etc.

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       We started with the slogans at around 6.30. The highlight was the kids who were standing in the front row shouting slogans with us. A girl kid was holding a banner saying ‘save me and my friends.’ The youngest girl was shouting with full energy. But all this dint stop  me from wondering about their innocence. Do the kids have any idea what the protest is about? They are just innocent little kids like the one who was tortured for three days. The youngest kid had a poster which showed a girl whose mouth is covered with someone’s hand and ‘stop violence’ written on it. She was saying the other girls showing the poster that the girl will bite that hand. How innocent!!

We later lighted candles. While lighting the candle the hot wax fell on my hand which made shout ouch and pull back my hand. It made me imagine the pain of that innocent little kid had to go through when the candle itself was inserted into her. Thinking about this makes me cry even now as I sit and type this. She spent three long days suffering there. No matter how many protest n such events take place, nothing can do justice to the trauma she must have gone through.

The nirbhaya case had stirred each one of us. It was said that the laws have been strengthened. but nothing is changed. The rapes continue and with every passing day they take even more cruel face. Even yesterday there is again a rape reported of a four year old girl in Madhya Pradesh. There was a huge debate on issues about giving death sentence to the rapists and about the juvenile age. But do debates really help? I too can sit comfortably at home and say anything i want to. Various people have various ideas. But the people who have the power should take some serious action to do this. They exactly know exactly how these kind of cases can be dealt with.

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      I met a girl Shilpi who pointed out that very few girls had turned up. (She had her exams next day but had come to join the protest. Her question felt very right.) ‘When boys have come out to support the cause of women where are the girls?’ she asked. If we the common people don’t come to fight for our justice who else will? Wasn’t there a pressure on the authorities when huge number of protests that followed the nirbhaya case? We need to join together fight for our cause. And this is not just when there has been some injustice, or in this case a brutal rape, but till the justice is served, till the laws are enforced. It should be made sure that we people put enough pressure till we are served justice.

Abdul Kalam dreamt of a progressed India where a woman can walk in streets after midnight without any fear. Wishing that his dream comes true and we see a safer India. Jai Hind!!

Joining Aam Admi Party

 

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I would like to begin with how I came to know about AAP. I am not a “newspaper” person, so its just impossible that I would have known about Aam admi party. I love reading novels. Chetan Bhagat novels inspire me a lot as they always have something about making India better. I just know one thing, I wish to see a better India. I am a Chetan Bhagat fan and I love his blogs that speak so well. There was a post which said about the demerits in existing system. In the end it spoke of youngsters getting into politics. I remember thinking why not people make a different and better party? Rang de basanti (movie), Revolution 2020 (novel by Chetan Bhagat) and several other movies, documentaries and books have been dedicated just to speak against corruption. But still it is horrible to see the existing parties have mutual understanding when it comes to corruption. If someone is blamed from one party, he/she points to someone in the other party and says “so and so from that party also is corrupt. But we haven’t said anything about it.” When will this self serving system end? Why don’t youngsters think about it? Many people wish to do a lot for the country. Why can’t such people be joined together to have better politics? I went to sleep with all these thoughts haunting my mind.

The very next day, I heard about a party, Aam Admi party, that was working independently of the existing parties and was participating in every issue which concerns of common man, the Aam Admi. I felt very happy that a night before I was wishing something and it was actually true. I started searching about it. I checked its website and followed it on twitter. That was the time I dint know anything about it. Whatever info I got then was from point of view of the party people. I dint know about what exactly the every individual working for it felt. Did it really fulfill all its promises? I wanted to know more about it but dint know how. So thought let me wait and watch.

I work in volunteer for cause, where I met a boy called Nalin. We were busy teaching kids and dint get a chance to interact much. But later I came to know that he was with Aam Admi party. I felt like Wow!! Just after wondering about having a new, better party, everything around me was taking me towards Aam Admi Party. I started questioning him a lot about it. He mailed me about it and suggested to join it. After thinking a lot I decided the better way to know about it was to join it and see what all is being done.

I got info about a protest against Ejipura site demolition. Again, I had no idea about it. I checked about it. I had never been to a protest or a meeting. When I asked Nalin about it, he just told me a thing that I will always remember. “There are many people like me who have never seen a protest but joining there to change the world.” I wished to go but had office. I decided that I will attend meeting at least as I won’t be able to attend protest.

After finishing the work, I called up Nalin to confirm about the place, but he dint pick it. I called another friend and even he dint pick the call. Now I was really thinking what has to be done. I got a message from them that they were in police station, they had been put into jail. And that too when they were not into the protest, no sooner did they reach the site of protest, they were arrested without any reason. I went directly to the meeting that was being conducted in new horizon college.

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The meeting had many people. They were introducing themselves. There was a common thing in their introductions that they all wished to do something for India. All my life, I had friends who just wished to complete their education and settle down in some foreign country. Not that I was opposed to such a thing, but I used to wonder whether I was the only person who loved India and wished to stay here no matter what. Seeing these people in the meeting felt so good. They dint want to run away from the problems here, but wished to stay and solve them. There is one more thing that you cant help but notice, AAP has loads of youngsters. These young people whose aim is to do something for the country; who don’t wish to just sit aside and pass comments.

I made few friends there, they are a part of AAP and I would like to share few things about them.

There is Nalin, I mentioned him earlier, who always smiles no matter what. I remember feeling tensed when I heard they had been in jail but I get messages from this guy “Atlast we have become complete krantikaris..went to jail too for India. 🙂 :)” He always gives a biiiiiiiiiiig smile 🙂 and that will surely convey the message that any problem can be solved with a smile .

Vikash  is really dedicated and takes out time for AAP or rather I would say very rarely  takes out time for himself . He manages the AAP’s works and responsibilities  for the BTM area brilliantly. His dedication , strong will to change the system, ability to do so much of hard work does marvels.

Vijay and Renu,  is dedicated volunteer couple of our group who shares the AAP BTM’s responsibilities  with Vikash . The way Vijay moderates  BTM’s  meetings is amazing . Besides this they have been instrumental in lots of other tasks like helping EWS people etc .  They are really an inspiration for everybody  .

Chinmay says that he India is his first love. The way he wishes and believes in betterment of India, will make you also to wish to live and die for the sake of country.

Saumya is the energy packet of the group. You just can’t help noticing her. She has that energy radiating from her, ever ready for the country.

Suren leads the RTI team. He has given seminars and spreads knowledge about the RTI act. He has helped me too for the info I needed.

There is Sakshi who keeps track of all the activities and meetings. Dedication seems like something ‘inbuilt’ for these people.

Last but far from least I would like to mention a little about Amit , the master Director of Nukkad natak , always at peace 🙂 , yeah that’s his takiakalam(pet word)  , he is an amazing personality , genius mind and undoubtedly a great actor working hard to get the drama (Nukkad) more and more effective , got to learn from him how to put his soul into something  you would love to do .

This is just the few people I know, few youngsters actually. But there are loads of such people there, their determination , energy , faith in the Party , strong will to bring the change  is what made me love the party and have faith that yes the time is here and surely we going to work together for the betterment of our system and nation .

Now that I had actually started liking the people, I had to know and work about the various activities that were taking place. The Ejipura protest and meeting, which I had been a part of, was to support the urban poor who had been displaced from their homes in EWS Quarters. There are many other activities. One of it is supporting smartvote organization  where they spread awareness about importance of voting and also help in registration for voter  id’s .Work is going on for daily laborer’s wage scheme, where information about the daily wage labourers is collected and it is given to the government authorities so that they get the benefits they deserve .My favorite is the nukkad natak that takes place almost every weekend which showcases the rampant corruption  practices prevailing in the current system and spread awareness among the people about the new political  alternative to these practices , AAM AADMI PARTY (AAP) . Hoping for the best  out of this second struggle for freedom not from British but from Corruption ..

Children’s Helpline Number 1098

Today’s Times of India has an article “Many offer help to educate Lakshmi”, about the nine year old girl who dreams to study in an english medium school. She had the courage to go to leave home, knock the doors of an English medium school and demand for her ‘right to education’. How many children have this ability? We see many children who beg, or girl children who are married and child labor is like a common thing. Yesterday someone commented on FB that instead of giving money to child we can call the child helpline number-1098. I called up that number and here is the information I got. I hope this helps everyone who reads this and if you have any more queries please comment on the blog I will surely find out and let you know.

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 Me: If we see any child begging what should we do?

Child Helpline: If you are sure that child comes to that place for begging daily, then you can give us the exact address and we can send our team there. We have teams in almost all the areas.

   Me: what do you mean by “sure that child comes to that place daily”?

CH: Suppose you gave us some address, and when our team goes there and finds no one such, it will be trouble for us. We will feel someone is playing prank on us. It is better that you see the such kids and make sure that they beg there or around that place at some time. If we get the correct info we can work correctly. Few kids beg at same area and change the signals daily. If you get a correct idea that these kids are seen here almost every day, we will send our team.

Me: what action will be taken then?

CH: We will take the child for counseling. If the child has parents, we will also call them to counsel. We have many centres where the children can get shelter, food and education, and we will take proper measures.

Me: The child labours are usually working because they are the bread earners for family. I have met small girls who work for domestic help because their parents cant afford to give them shelter and food. So they leave them to work for some affluent people in exchange of shelter, food and some money.

CH: We will take such children and their parents for counseling and they can join their kids to our centre. We have many centres spread all over India. There are already so many kids who are staying there and being educated. We are in contact with many other NGOs who too will help us to guide the children. Anywhere you see child labour, whether it is hazardous or not, if the child is below fourteen it is a crime.

Me:  If we report about child marriage how you people work? What if I assume that the girl is under 18 and call you?

CH: We will send our team to that place for investigation. Usually by seeing the girl/boy we can make out the age. Even you will have informed us because you thought the age is less than 18 for girl/ 21 for a boy. If we too cant understand, we will ask the documents from the parents. Necessary counseling will be given.

            Me: We see many kids of the construction workers who are usually playing in mud. For such kids will education be provided? Can we report about them?

CH: Yeah you can. We have many filed workers for the children of construction workers. Their job will be to take care of children of the construction workers. Many such kids have been sent to centres or schools after interacting with the parents. So if you find such kids you can call us and we will inform field officers for that area.

Me: Do we need to provide our identity? Suppose I am informing you something, but I don’t want to disclose my identity. Is it ok?

CH: It is OK. It is better if you give us your identity and cooperate with us. But if you cant, you can just tell us the exact location. We will take action.

Me: Will there be any action taken for fake calls?

CH: If we take action against public, no one will report anything to us then. It is trouble for our team if it is a prank because we just believe what you informed and go to that place. If there is nothing such then we will feel bad about it.

    Me: Can we also report if we see any child who may have run away from home or lost somewhere?

CH: yes. Please do report. We will surely help them out.

That was a long conversation. I may have missed out a few points. But these are the basic doubts I had. So, finally, ladies and gentlemen, if you see any

  • Street children and youth living alone on the streets
  • Child labourers working in the unorganised and organized sectors
  • Domestic help, especially girl domestics
  • Children affected by physical / sexual / emotional abuse in family, schools or institutions.
  • Children who need emotional support and guidance
  • Children of commercial sex workers
  • Child victims of the flesh trade
  • Victims of child trafficking
  • Children abandoned by parents or guardians
  • Missing children
  • Run away children
  • Children who are victims of substance abuse
  • Differently-abled children
  • Children in conflict with the law
  • Children in institutions
  • Mentally challenged children
  • HIV/ AIDS infected children
  • Children affected by conflict and disaster
  • Child political refugees
  • Children whose families are in crises

Please inform 1098. Hope to see atleast the places I roam to be ‘child problems free’. Once again, if you have any more queries, do post in the comment I will reply in a day, or even better, call up yourself to 1098 and let us know what answer you got.

http://www.childlineindia.org.in/index.htmThis is the link for 1098 helpline. You can check this out too.

Hyderabad bomb blasts

               “Ishwar Allah tere jahan me nafrat kyon hai jang hai kyon….

Tera dil to itna bada hai, insaan ka dil tang hai kyon……”

                The bomb blasts are back again, killing people, injuring many.  The terror is back.  I have a friend from Assam. When we speak about blasts, he says its common there, he doesn’t feel it is something new.  But is it that easy to just not feel anything about it? And not to worry at all about the lives lost? Every day when we leave our home we are not sure whether we will return back safely or not. Anything can happen. If nothing does, there is at least a bomb blast waiting to happen. A student died in the blast when he went to purchase books. Would he have been saved if he dint? Can we blame it all on fate, pray nothing such happens to us and our close ones and forget it all in coming days?

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NDTV new report says “The police are attempting to make sketches of possible suspects, work hampered by the fact that both the CCTV cameras near the blast sites were not working. There are reports that the wires of these cameras had been found severed a few days ago but had not been fixed.”

“NDTV has accessed details of a terror alert sent by the Centre two days before blasts. That had warned of possible attacks in Hyderabad among other cities. The alert also mentioned Bangalore, Hubli and Coimbatore as possible targets. The alert also talked about possible revival of Indian Mujahideen and  Lashkar modules.”

               This remind me of the various movies where you see different people, the police men, the officers at various levels trying several things to save the country from any harm. The reports really make me wonder whether it only happens in movies and never in real life. The people who died may have been saved if only there had been an action taken to the alerts. Now there are investigating agencies working to find out the about monsters who did this. But I don’t understand what do they do the other times? Do they have to work only when there is a tragic event like this? When they know who the suspects are then don’t they have enough authority and power to track them down, instead of waiting for something such to happen? If there had been alerts and the CCTV cameras were tampered with, should not they have suspected something fishy and not wait till the bomb blasts to just “investigate”?

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           There is one more thing I don’t understand- the hatred! Why is it that there is so much hatred that people don’t even think twice before killing so many people? I am a muslim. But I don’t hate non-muslims. We are all humans and that’s enough for me to respect and love my fellow beings. But it is not the case everywhere. I was travelling in bus the other day, when there were some women who wanted a seat. There were girls in burkha who dint get up at all to give them the seat. It is the just an individual issue. But the women started with “muslim girls are like this. Blah blah…”  Where does that come from? When I got a seat( I too was in burkha) I offered it to those women. They had nothing to say then.

One more incident was when my friend and I (both wearing burkha) were waiting for a bus. It was late in the evening, we had finished our tuitions. A woman (in burkha) came to us and asked us why we are out so late at night. We said her we had tuitions that just had gotten over. She started lecturing us “girls should not go out so late at night. If you have to then just take care of yourselves.” And here is what made me think so hard about humanity. “ .. you are muslims so I am saying. If it was hindu or other girls I would not have cared. It is ok if anything happens to them but muslims should not be hurt.” I mean what the hell!! Why doesn’t it matter if some other girl is hurt? Just because she is not a muslim does it mean it is alright if she is raped or if she dies?

This hatred has killed many. There had been an incident few years back when someone had thrown pig in masjid and cow in temple or something like that.  And that lead to riots between hindus and muslims. Is it not stupid not to understand that someone is doing this on purpose. It is obvious that someone wants these fights. But when coming to such things people seem to have no common sense. They just blame it on each other.

It is really horrible to read the news and get to know what various people think and how much they hate. There had been some incident where some boys had molested a girl for not joining in some campaign. And there is some leader saying that the other religion people faked the girl’s wound to pull their party down!! Who could think of a thing like that? Which girl would agree to do such a thing? That too in a country like India where they say “betiyan ghar ki izzat hai”( girls are the honor of a house.)

From our childhood we listen to a story about the sticks. When they are separate they can be easily broken but when put together it is impossible to break them. But it just became a silly tale. There is always so much praise for Japan as it has found its way through all the difficulties. If there needs to be a change, then everyone should work together. Every other day there are fights on name of religion or state or something else. Till we all dont join together and work, how do we expect India to grow??

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                  Hatred is seen even in kids. My cousin brother, when was in first standard, declared that he won’t make non-muslim friends. Cant understand from where kids get all such ideas. His dad scolded him and said he should not differentiate in that manner. Now, after ten years, the boy does not say anything such and has made many non-muslim friends. He invites them to home and never indulges in these hindu-muslim fights.

Most of the people don’t want the fights or the deadly riots or the bomb blasts. But just praying for safety wont do anything. It should be understood that if people don’t want any such terror around them, it should start with their own homes. Hope everyone would teach this and don’t let the hatred bud at all. If I cant take care of whole nation I should at least take care of my people in my family and make sure that there is no harm that will be caused by my family to the country. One less terrorist equals one less blast which in turn will save thousands of life.

By

Fathima and Chinmay