In spite of sound financial conditions and the required marks, Tanya Agarwal could not make it into the school of her choice. The reason: it was a co-educational school and thus her parents considered it a better idea not to get her admitted there. Was the reason enough to take decision? For them, yes.

There are many parents who want to send their children to single sex schools in order to minimize their contact with the opposite sex. However they should try to understand that by sending one’s child to an all-boy or an all-girls school, one might minimize the child’s interaction with the other sex when in school, but what about the tuitions, fests, extra classes and neighbourhood?

In fact, sending one’s child to a co-educational school helps him to be more comfortable with both girls and boys and thus the child will be able to handle advances better.

For example, a girl studying in a co-educational school will be having many friends who are boys. Thus, she interacts with them, understands them. However, when a boy approaches a girl from an all-girls school, the girl might get carried away and accept a person even if he is not the right kind of person.

The point here is that merely sending a child to a unisex school does not make him very safe or secure. He can always indulge in hanky-panky if he desires to do so after school. What is required is that the child be made to understand the difference between the right and the wrong, which requires open discussions with parents. It is often the curiosity among children which lands them in trouble. Therefore what is required is a change in the mindset of conservative parents.

The decision by Maharashtra Cosmopolitan Education Society ( MCES) to introduce a co-educational wing in its all-girls Abeda Inamdar Senior College invited wrath among some conservative Muslims who felt that the concept of boys and girls studying together did not suit Islamic culture, and would act as a deterrent for parents reluctant to send their daughters for higher education….but….how can religion act as a deterrent to a child’s development? One has to change with the changing times. Gone are the purdah days when interaction between men and women was negligible. Today, in every field one has to interact with the other sex, then why not at school level, which shall help the child deal with situations better

There are pros and cons to everything, and yes, co- education too has it. But the cons can be overcome by guiding the child in the right direction, keeping a tab on him and by helping him recognize his limitations.

Today the number of co-educational institutions is increasing day by day. And it is hoped that with the changing times, parents will start evaluating schools by what they offer and not by whether they are co- educational or not, and also that children will also understand what is right and what is wrong and not go astray.

 Written By: Neha Baid, JD Birla College, Kolkata

Special Economic Zones

July 9, 2007

Of late one of the controversies that has kept the pot boiling in India has been, the policy regarding the Special Economic Zones. With Government of India approving another 237 SEZ projects, a lot of questions are being raised regarding the relevance of these in the long term economic policy of India. Hence it would be germane to have a look at the competing arguments as any decision would have repercussions for legions of people in the country.

The concept of SEZ in India has been borrowed from China, where the communist regime, spearheaded the growth of Chinese economy, by establishing SEZ in various parts of the country. This was a huge success and the Chinese exports received a big boost.

 The SEZ are treated as foreign territories where tax holiday is granted. The economic laws are very liberal. Taxes are negligible and thus business thrives without any restraints. The incentives and facilities offered to the units in SEZs for attracting investments into the SEZs, including foreign investment include:-

• Duty free import/domestic procurement of goods for development, operation and maintenance of SEZ units

• 100% Income Tax exemption on export income for SEZ units under Section 10AA of the Income Tax Act for first 5 years, 50% for next 5 years thereafter and 50% of the ploughed back export profit for next 5 years.

• Exemption from minimum alternate tax under section 115JB of the Income Tax Act.

• External commercial borrowing by SEZ units upto US $ 500 million in a year without any maturity restriction through recognized banking channels.

• Exemption from Central Sales Tax.

• Exemption from Service Tax.

• Single window clearance for Central and State level approvals.

• Exemption from State sales tax and other levies as extended by the respective State Governments.

In fact the need to have SEZ had become a necessity to provide a level playing field to Indian manufacturers who were operating at difficult regulatory regime and a crippling infrastructure with high taxes as compared to their counterparts in other countries. The first EPZ was established in India way back in 1965, at Kandla. But SEZ became a part of policy only in 2000, after the grand success of the model in China and also in other countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Brazil.

SEZ bring capital in the form of FDI and India needs that badly so that infrastructure improves. We need roads, ports, airports, machinery to sustain our growth. We need people to invest, the amount of capital that is required cannot be taken care of by the government and others won’t invest unless incentive is given. SEZ is the bait that we need to offer, as far as creating employment opportunities goes, SEZ presents tremendous potential. The 200 SEZs which have been proposed are expected to create nearly 40 million jobs which mean that great opportunity is in the offing.

Apprehensions have been expressed over the impact of SEZ would have on the farmers. For all those doubting it is pertinent to mention that it is not the Agricultural land which is being taken for these projects but only the wastelands that are non arable lands are being used. In cases where agricultural land is being taken the government has the responsibility of providing equivalent land to farmers at some other suitable location. Besides that the Industrialists will have to convert an equal amount of wasteland into an agricultural land. At the same time the lands are being taken by providing adequate compensation to the farmers.

 However it is not being intended that SEZ is the panacea for all ills of economic policy. A certain section of farmers whose land is being taken are bound to experience some hardship but that is no reason why the policy should be rolled back. Agriculture remains a low productive activity we need to pull people out of agriculture and invest more in industry, manufacturing and services which are more efficient sectors with good yield. The problem in India is not that we have very less agricultural land or that there are less hands in agriculture but the problem is that the share that agriculture contributes to national incomes continues to dwindle with each passing year. Today it is nearing 19%. What we need to do is to enhance productivity through better irrigation facilities, equipment seeds and better agricultural practices. We need to invest in agriculture and it must be given the priority it deserves but at the same time we cannot strangulate the growth momentum. Industry and services is the sector which would be a great spinner of money for us and we can not leave the opportunity.

SEZ policy if properly implemented has the potential of changing the landscape. Xiamen in China can be the best example. A remote village has been converted into a city which employs 20 million people. It has changed the life of the people, brought employment, led to infrastructure development and made a remote village the centre of activity. It leads to spreading out of the economic activity, to hitherto unknown areas. We need to spread out, diversify our markets, move off saturated places like big metros and create infrastructure at other places and that’s what we can do through this.

For farmers without any land there is nothing much to lose. Their labor services would be as much required in new industry. For others with land, which is being used for agriculture, who would only be few we need to tread with caution, give them land and see that they are also given adequate compensation to resettle. There would be still some problems, but then success stories can’t be written without hardships or inconvenience. All we can do is reduce it to minimum. We cannot look back.

Bringing reform in India is like shifting a graveyard, even the dead standup and plea status quo, it is time we rise to the challenge. The SEZ policy needs to be properly implemented rather thwarted for the welfare of people of the country.

Written By: Achal Tyagi, Legal Executive, Satyam Computers, Hyderabad

Live in… really?

June 26, 2007

I am 24, earning half a million a year. Retrospection says ‘Oh man, you have not done badly till date’ but looking ahead I am as confused as a toddler who can’t choose between chocolate and a candy. I have to consider two things – which I want to marry much earlier than 30 and I have to build upon my career now that its roots have found water. But what we do? Just like that toddler, we want both. Aah! Marriage seems to be a prison, so we have a workaround – LIVE-IN with a ‘prospective’ life partner.

To most of us, settling down means marriage. But since we belong to GEN Y(or Z) everyone keeps looking for the best one. Every one of us wants a life partner with whom you will not have to say -no match is ideal. The irony is that we keep on saying and believe too that no match is ideal and still keep looking too. The real fun begins when we happen to find one who is very close to the silhouette in our dreams. The battle between ‘no match is ideal’ and ‘the best one’ is won by the former but we do not want to get tied up but to enjoy life to the fullest, to grow in that relationship, to make each day the one worthy of recalling later on. But in all this we end up bargaining responsibility, assertiveness which brings out the moments that you had long craved for. We have to accept the fact that the primary reason for us to go in a live-in is to keep the game of chasing alive. Yes, that seems a bit in your face thing but that is the fact. The real fun is in chasing not in accepting responsibility, caring and blah-blah. Since both the partners are not socially “tied” up they are like independent threads just hooked on the same spindle. For keeping such a relationship going on we keep on pleasing the other one in all the imaginable ways and obviously enjoy it too. Then as happens in every other relationship we have fights too, some enjoy it and some find it a reason enough to relate it to the proverbial last straw.

But what we learn from all of this? Evolution says that human has always been very adaptive in all sorts of environment. And evolution itself says that we have evolved from a nomad to a civilized creature. Then why was this institution of marriage created at all. And no, this concept is not limited to one particular state, region, or a nation. It is followed all over. The answer is purely intellectual. Human being is primarily an animal and animal instincts reside in each one of us. It’s just that we have and are continuously making our life a complex web of emotions in which the basic instinct gets suppressed time and again. Our predecessors realized this important facet of human psychology and made this institution to suppress that emotion. Rituals were made to beautify the concept of marriage so that human enjoys the tied up condition as well. An argument can be made that that was something devised by the then intellectuals, we have the right to make decisions for us. We may say that that was the past and in this new age we need fresh ideas that are we need to evolve further. And we may say that live-in is a new concept and may prove that it is even better one but then to innovate you need to have the history on your side. If you do not know your past you can never invent something. You need to have first your basic concepts clear in your mind before you embark off on the journey to find a new path altogether.

Live-in in my view is a completely new product which is still in its nascent stage. If treated very intelligently it is still a very good option for new couples but should be looked at with a completely different view. It is an alternative and a very good one too, for marriage. But if you are looking at it as a means to find the best one, you need to think again.

Written By: Akash Gupta, Cadence Design Systems, India (akaarj@rediffmail.com)

It was the day when i came down to your house. Surprisingly your mom n dad weren’t there. I started reading books at your home with an alibi that I was waiting for your brother but I knew that you were aware of the purpose i was there. I looked at you relentlessly but you were so immersed in looking outside that you left me disappointed.

I was trying to peep at you and make a regular sound, but you were motionless. My body was growing cold with the cool breeze that flew across and your long blackish brown hair just shuffled over your chin because of the breeze, making me feel irresistible to you. When you just pulled it back from your rosy chin and ears which had faint streaks of hair it just killed me. Your white dress made you look like an angel. Your eyes were like pomegranates that have freshly taken birth. Your lips were as red as a red rose. When you walked, it created an angel path for me, when you gave me an occasional look I felt like I had been blessed with god’s best wishes. When you giggled each time it made me feel that I was growing closer to you. And when you yawned and stretched I felt sleazy; for your ignorance of a stranger.

What are you telling me, Don’t you mind doing things that you are not supposed to in front of a stranger or have you chosen me to be your man. I rush through a labyrinthine thought process. All of a sudden when you ask me “coffee or tea”, I out of confusion just utter coffee and see you smiling again. I wish that those moments were stretched to eternity and stored in my hard disk forever. I keep seeing you though I don’t own you; you keep giving me an occasional look and smile. When you keep doing that, my heart pounds like a battering ram and it keeps pushing me towards making you my Juliet.

I finally make a decision that I would do it today. I slowly gather strength and courage to propose to you. I pick up the rose that I had hidden secretly and start advancing towards you. When you hear my foot steps and turn back in surprise I just close my eyes to offer you the rose and tell you -

“I love you more than what a mother does to its offspring, more than what a Swallow does to a flower, more than what a man does to his life.Would you be my princess and accept me to serve your life as your better half?”

Then I turn back for your ultimate reply. You come after an eternal minute, then place your hand on my hand and smile at me tauntingly. With that a rush of warmth fills my blood, I go mad with joy and ecstasy and not able to control my 4 year love, I start sobbing.”

All of a sudden I woke up to the reality to find my watch showing Morning 8:00, February 14 th. Its 20 years since that day passed in my life. As I start brushing my teeth blood flows as the toothbrush strikes hard in my jaws. But tears flow through my eyes for what I faced that day even today. I still remember how you shouted at me when I proposed you that day. You did not like me, but more than that you had no right to punish me. You chose to vilify me and tell my parents that I created a problem for you at the college which I never did. The bell rang as the maid had come and I wiped my eyes with a towel. As I start going to my office in my car I remember how my parents kept crying for their son’s conduct. How they felt insulted when your parents came to my home to fight for the cause. And after that how I would become a laughing stock in my college days. I remember each time when you passed across me which created a murdering shiver and insult. That day when I unfortunately ran across you, which was by pure mistake, you made a mess out of it and complained to the principal. I still know how I was made to take off my shirt and walk while kneeling in those corridors. When my parents heard that, they could take it no more. The worst they stopped believing me.

I ran away from my house for the biggest insult of my life. I did not want my parents to own their son’s misdoings. Suddenly the traffic signal turned red. I reach my office and have just finished a meeting. My secretary says that she wants a half day leave with a wild smile because its 14th. I let her go. Again I remember the day when I chose to leave that locality since no body believed me. I left my home, my place and my IDENTITY.

After 20 years I still find it difficult to spend a lonely life abandoned by my home, abandoned by self. I still don’t dare to speak to a girl looking into her eyes; people take me for granted thinking that I belong to some anachronistic times. It’s a lonely life with no family of my own and I am already 42 today. And each time I see this date, I ask myself “Did I deserve this?”

Just then I see a greeting which carries the words – “Happy Valentines Day!”

And I laugh in my solitude, waiting for the next day to arrive…

“Not every one is lucky and not every one is necessarily brave. Let god chose to partner such hapless.”

Written by: Ravi Shanker J.P., Osmania University, Hyderabad

The other day I was thinking- Why is it that I am feeling ownership of my senses- Can you just imagine-Why are we feeling ownership of a soul that is occupying a human body? Lets think- Why we should have got this sense when we were in this body and why we did not get the same sense since its birth where as after a certain period of time. There is no way I am going to agree that it is all science with our brain being the “master piece”. No! There is life not only within my body but also in my soul, but “where had it been before I took birth”; Was it in someone else’s body- then why did it forget its history. Or does it follow a progression that as time progresses our IQ and EQ increase. Knowledge is also energy, where does it go when my soul leaves my body. Does it collapse? These are few things which i could not perceive till today.


Leaving these questions, what is truth, what is good and what is God. Everything is subjective and relative. If light is the truth then darkness can we rule it as false. Same goes with everything- What some may perceive as truth may be false to some one else. They say the Universe was born out of a very energetic tiny spot that has been expanding and expanding. If a part of magnet can repel the other part, Then a part of that tiny spot may also have an impact on some other. I believe that everything is cancelled out in this world. The end equation may have infinite constraints and parameters but the result is “0”. Light/Darkness, Thrust/Gravity, action/reaction I believe P (Event) is a superset of two variables which are {Cause, Effect}. The sum of probabilities of both cause and effect is “1”. P (cause) need not be 0.5 it can be 0.99 or .000001. This defines the irregular cycles in life. I believe that If we are doing some thing in this life there is a certain cause tied to it, we all are governed by a cause. When the cause expires the effect is “1” we die.


I also feel that there is a certain truth in this world on whose realization we get promoted to the next dimension. Then why do these goals and aspirations exist, is it to delay the process of super promotion. May be then they are not exactly our goals.


Within so much confusion can we know what “truth” is? Well there is one truth which flashes regularly like a nature’s law acting on us which is “MATING” Yes it is a truth, Think over. God neither taught that to us nor did he to a street dog.

Written By: Ravi Shanker J.P., Osmania University

Huh…! I apply for an MBA/ MS and the first question I should be prepared to face is “Son! You an IT guy. What prompted you to quit your job?” I try hard despite understanding that the odds are heavily loaded against me when trying to convince the world that there is a larger interest behind my pursuit of a higher degree. And the general opinion would be that I too must be yet another of those frustrated, lifeless desultory creatures who have either slogged in office 24*7 and were denied an overseas opportunity or those who sat on bench for a lifetime. I am craving for respect. I wonder if I might just as well loose my self esteem and identity in this wilderness.At college I used to wonder what must be happening inside those magnificent glass chambers, those imposing structures flanked by greenery all around. I was envious of those bright kids who made great careers in such a short span of time, of all those kids who traveled overseas on business trips. A business trip for me was real business then and that these whiz kids must be child prodigies. I dint realize how it happened until it actually did. Providence brought me too into one of those big IT Cos. And I never was the same again. A lot has changed. I realized so many inherent features in me. In fact, I should gleefully admit in all the modesty that I am a repertoire of everything. I, for the first time, realized the thrill of cribbing and complaining against anybody/ anything under the sky. I became more and more creative by the day. Now I can say with confidence that I have mastered the art of sarcasm and irony. I can very easily understand the leitmotifs of my boss whenever he opens his mouth. Among other things, I also mastered the art of deriving vicarious pleasure (Self-aggrandizement rather) from my fellow’s achievements. Perhaps that’s why we say- “Success has many fathers whereas failure is often an orphan”.


Another skill that I have developed over a period of time is the art of malingering – it took me some time to realize that I was good at this special skill. And of course, not to mention, I have understood and applied the infamous 80/20 principle at my work place with great success. The nature of work is really amazing. It invariably goes to those people who respect it and to those who feel that their contributions cannot be substituted for. Then of course, I stand as a symbol of socialization as demonstrated in those little get-togethers, the team parties and those occasional so called client- sponsored grand dinners. And not to mention, boy, my spoken English is just borrowed straight from the queen Elizabeth’s palace. I don’t bother to make full sentences anymore and I tend to be so very crisp, so very pithy that everything the listener would be caught unawares as soon as I finished speaking.


As I have mentioned above, I can write satirically on anybody and we have a case in point here. I have also embraced the Gandhian idea of civil disobedience and non violent protests at my work place, detesting every move of my boss by filling up my work place with a hazaar quotes about the rude-boss. Further, I have tried to show my disobedience by deliberately being unpunctual to work, inconsequential I know, but then I derived some pleasure out of these simple acts of defiance.

Therefore, the bottom-line is that whether it is about celebrating every moment of IT or about celebrating work or applying thought, I always remain a square peg in a round hole. 

Written By: Pavan Kumar Vemuri, Hyderabad

Gossiping

June 6, 2007

“People with extraordinary minds, talk about ideas. People with average minds, talk about events. People with simple minds, talk about other people. – Anonymous”

Gossiping has become such an imperative activity in our daily lives that it is difficult to survive in a society without experiencing it. We often gossip about our “achievements”, about our peers, about film stars and others whom we love to hate. Gossip can be defined as doctored information that involves maligning someone’s reputation. And the outcome of excessive gossiping will result in what we call rumors. So join me in exploring the frequently neglected but unconsciously practiced taboo called gossip.

Researchers say gossiping is good for health, so supporters have a valid point. They (supporters) also put forth opinions of psychologists who uphold the belief that emotions should flow freely, whether it is LOVE or animosity, without bottling up one’s feelings. So these arguments try to show a rosy picture whose authentication, in reality, is severely doubted. Before delving further, check out the following reasons why people gossip/spread rumors:

·Ignorance

·Creating Sensationalism

·Jealousy

·Inferiority complex

·Disappointment over something/covering one’s own short comings

·As a time killing technique

Since the reasons are numerous and beyond the realm of any conscious mind, let us confine our discussion to above mentioned “broad” categories.

It is the ignorance that makes people to gossip. Most people, who are ignored by others, try to put themselves in lime-light by sensationalizing any trivial matter. The issues these people raise will do no good to others, the solution lies in the cyclic process of ignoring their words. Self judgment should play a main role in dealing with these kinds of people.

It is un common to hear that gossiping often occurs out of jealousy. As a fact, people love to hate those who are hard working, who are dedicated, who are successful, who are happy in doing one’s job and the last one who are beautiful. Beauty causes such envy among others that sometimes it is the sole motivating factor leading to gossiping. In order to show their prominence over the above listed people, the accusers retort to the old trick called gossiping. Hear no word from them but accept that they are what they are. People, sometimes, do gossip to change the direction of conversation that is aiming towards any of their failures.

The last one in the list, gossiping as a time killing technique, is less malicious but having said that it is not to be taken lightly. Even though the intention is different, this method will put gossip mongers and their victims in a more dangerous situation as these kinds of people will always gossip for the sake of gossiping. These people start gossiping as soon as they wake up in the morning and continue it in every walk of life till they sleep at night. Their taste buds will only be satisfied through gossiping.

The irony is we, often, do gossip with or without being aware of it. So how do we grope with it? It is through self consciousness and having a cool head that settles the matter. So next time, when you hear any one gossiping or you start saying anything about others, just think why these kinds of thoughts are coming to some one else or to you. If you find the motivation behind these sayings, you are more likely to deal it in an effective way because we are the best judges of our thoughts and observations. The point is, you have to decide whether you want to be one among them (gossip mongers) or one apart from them.

Written By: Santosh Matala, Hyderabad

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