I am my own Hero

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I am my own Hero

By Somali K Chakrabarti

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No means No,’ the message has been conveyed sharply and clearly in the movie ‘Pink’. Thankfully this time it has caught the fancy of viewers. The theme of gender and consent has often remained ambiguous or has been construed differently by different people, though lately we see that the message is being sent out and reinforced through plays, street art, and movies.

The above picture is of a mural at a Railway station in Chennai on the theme of Gender and Consent. Here’s is a poem based on it.

 

She emerges
from a jasmine sea
the lovely, lissome Padmini
and captivates the spunky Shivaji;
— they are the golden pair
of Tamil cinema of the yesteryear
She is dressed in vines and petals
He, in the dazzling warrior gear,
Perceiving a petite maiden,
he moves ahead to save
the damsel in distress
Into his strong arms,
he must, must
sweep her away…
With a gentle gesture of hand,
she shoves him and there she stays
Looking at him in his eyes,
she gives an assuring smile
‘I am my own hero,’
Ms Padmini says.

© Somali K Chakrabarti, 2016

 

 

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‘Making Friends with the Crocodile’ by Mick Canning

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By Somali K Chakrabarti

 

Prejudices, biases and gender inequalities have always existed in our society, and from time to time these come to the fore front. But, when such points are raised by foreigners, there is always a risk that the writer may succumb to temptation of stereotypical or caricaturish portrayal of the characters or the culture of a country.

Making Friends with the Crocodile, written by Mick Canning is a book that highlights gender inequalities prevailing in a North Indian village. Steering clear of stereotypes, the book depicts lives of people in a normal village family, and the conditions that not only dissuade a woman from reporting an assault, but also subjugate her further by holding her responsible for it.

makingfriendswithcrocodile

Making friends with Crocodiles is available on Amazon. 

Here’s a bit about the author. Mick Canning is an Englishman, who has traveled extensively in North India, Nepal and the Middle East. Mick finely captures the essence of these places in words and in pictures in his blog that goes by his name. I have always enjoyed reading his posts on Bodhgaya, Varanasi, Sarnath, and Punjab. While I had been intending to read his book since quite some time, I managed to do so during this weekend.

In his book, Mick has delved into the mind of a middle- aged woman living in rural Bihar (I have no  idea how he managed to analyse and portray the sensitivities) and has beautifully sketched the love – hate relationship she shares with her daughter in law.

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Camel Bus – Social Innovation for desert transportation

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Camel Bus – Social Innovation for desert transportation

By Somali K Chakrabarti

 

“Innovation opens up new vistas of knowledge and new dimensions to our imagination to make everyday life more meaningful and richer in depth and content.”

~ Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

While most people know about camel rides in the deserts of Rajasthan, not many would have heard about a bus that it is driven by a camel.

The idea of the camel driven bus was conceived by a school teacher late Radhey Shyam Mishra , as a means of safely transporting students to and from school through the desert.  His friend, Mewaram Jangid, who was a skilled carpenter developed the bus in 1972, which provided an affordable solution for mass transportation in rural desert areas.

Camel Bus, Rajasthan

Seven such buses are still used to transport over 400 students to Bhanwarlal Kala Bal Mandir School in Churu, Rajasthan. According to the school principal, the school has developed a distinct identity because of the Camel bus and other schools in the area have also followed suit. Buses currently used by the school are still based on the same design.

The Camel Bus is a simple, affordable, and efficient local solution social innovation developed by creative individuals for solving a local problem.

The Center of social Innovation, Stanford Business School defines Social Innovation as:

A social innovation is a novel solution to a social problem that is more effective, efficient, sustainable, or just than current solutions. The value created accrues primarily to society rather than to private individuals.

Many times, these innovations from the informal sectors of our country remain localized. As such, their potential growth gets constrained, and the benefits are confined to a small section. To overcome this challenge and support the social change agents, volunteers of Honey Bee Network scout, spawn and sustain such frugal innovations at the grassroots level.

This instance of social innovation was spotted by the Honey Bee Network, and it was appreciated in National Innovation Forum, a body which works towards promoting creativity and social innovations at grassroots.

More examples of grassroots innovation are given in the post Frugal Innovation – bringing Grassroots creativity to the Global stage.

In the words of Dr. R.A. Mashelkar, Chairperson, Governing Council National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad

“The purpose of innovation is to create a new value for an individual, team, organization or for society at large.” 

 

References and Image credit:

  1. National Innovation Foundation, Rajasthan Innovates

 

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Song of Nature- A Haiku

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Song of Nature- A Haiku

By Somali K Chakrabarti

stillness

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calm stillness surrounds; 

in silence they sing, yet the

echoes are distinct!

.

© Somali K Chakrabarti

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Celestial Ganesha- A Haiku

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Celestial Ganesha- A Haiku

By Somali K Chakrabarti

Ganesh Utsav

celestial cheer in

festal times, clouds combine to

usher the divine!.

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Mathematics and Poetry – What’s the connection?

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Mathematics and Poetry – What’s the connection?

By Somali K Chakrabarti

 

The mathematician destroyed all the poetry of the rainbow by reducing it to its prismatic colours.” is how Newton was once referred to by noted poets of his time.

Poet William Blake had once said, “God is not a Mathematical Diagram“.

But a flower surely is! Mathematics defines the shape of spirals and curves of seashells, sunflower heads, wherein poetry describes their beauty.

Read:  10 Quotes on how Nature Inspires Creativity

Maths and Poetry

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