The Good Samaritan Law in India

Good Samaritan Law provides legal assistance to those people who help save road accident victims by reporting the accident to the police or by helping the victim reach to the hospital. Often it is seen that the helper is wrongly accused and harassed by the police personnel as the perpetrator of crime. It is in these situations that police authorities are required to follow certain guidelines and regulations while dealing with a good Samaritan or witness of the accident.
According to the Law Commission of India, 50 per cent of road accident deaths could be saved if immediate assistance is provided. As per a study conducted by the SaveLIFE foundation (which filed a PIL for the enactment of Good Samaritan Law in India), 3 out of 4 people hesitate to help a road accident victim and 88 per cent out of these cite unwarranted police harassment and questioning.
The Supreme Court in March 2016 approved the guidelines issued by the Centre for enacting Good Samaritan Law. It is sad to know that till now majority of the population has not been sensitized about this law. Even more saddening to know is that many police chaukis are not aware of such law. Following action steps can be taken by relevant authorities:
  1. Since police is now the most evident hurdle in enactment of law, police chaukis on roadways should be sensitized about such provisions.
  2. Provision for appraisal and reward for those who save accident victims
  3. Sensitizing through TV advertisements, social media, Mann ki Baat, etc.
  4. Integrating Duty to Rescue with Good Samaritan Law
  5.  Toll-free helpline numbers to nearby hospitals on highways for immediate response. Dedicated division for handling such emergency cases
  6. Signboards and posters on National and State Highways especially in the accident-prone areas
  7. Making sure that Police Stations follow SOPs and government guidelines, eg.  not forcing the Good Samaritan to disclose her/his name, limiting the witnesses’ visits to police stations, treating the witness with dignity
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Importance of breathing

Keep Calm and Bhastrika pranayam
Yoga is India’s gift to the world!

Hardly people realize the importance of deep and slow breathing. From my personal experience and having read tens of articles on breathing, I can easily summarize the benefits of breathing. A person may survive without food for over week, without  water for 2-3 days, but he cannot survive for more than 10 minutes or so without breath. With age people realize their physical body changes, their behavioral changes, but an aspect that never changes since the time of birth is  Breath.

Pranayama means controlling of the fundamental life force. The entire ambit of Pranayama  is based upon “Prana” i.e., life force, which is nothing but breath. Pranayam is an ancient in-depth yogic discipline developed in India by the sages. It specifies a set of breathing techniques which are targeted to achieve specific results which can improve our physiological and psychological balance.

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Meditation can be as simple as being aware of your inhalation and exhalation

In this short blog, I will be stating some of the many benefits of slow and deep breathing.

  • Our cells also breathe. Uninterrupted, deep and relaxed breathing ensures  the continuous and necessary oxygen to all the cells of the body. Inefficient and insufficient breathing makes cells in your body devoid of the requisite energy to function properly. Insufficient oxygen to your skin cells leads to dead cells. Insufficient oxygen to your scalp may lead to hair loss. Insufficient oxygen to your brain cells leads to inefficient thinking subsequently leading to inefficient or ill-thought decisions and actions.
  • For greater focus. When you concentrate and focus on your breath (inhalation and exhalation), you become aware of your breath. You let go off all the negative and undesirable thoughts from your mind.
  • For relaxation. You must have experienced choppy, quick and shallow breathing pattern when you are anxious, worried or over-excited. Take a deep breath, filling your stomach (the diaphragm, to be particular) and exhale. Irregular and shallow breathing causes dis-ease to you. This is directly related to point no. 1.
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Your diaphragm is the key to confidence!
  • For increased lung capacity. Diaphragmatic breathing is sure to increase your lung capacity. Diaphragmatic breathing means breathing which expands your diaphragm with inhalation and deflates the diaphragm with exhalation. This expansion and contraction can be felt by placing the backside of your both thumbs just under the top bone of the rib cage while breathing deep and slow.
  • Your lifelong companion. Your only companion till you leave it. Your breath is going to remain with you throughout your life. Your physiology may change, your attitude and personality will change, but your breath will truly be yours till your death. Take care and be aware of it and it will take care of you.

I am also sharing four of the wonderful videos about breath which I found on YouTube. These have treasure trove of information and wisdom.

  • Bhastrika (Pranayam) : Explained by Swami Ramdev (Audio language is Hindi)
  • Meditate Everywhere Anytime by a Tibetan Buddhist Master | Mingyur Rinpoche
  • The surprising secret to speaking with confidence | Caroline Goyder | TEDxBrixton
  • The powerful secret of your breath – Romila “Dr. Romie” Mushtaq, MD | Romila Mushtaq | TEDxFargo

Thanks for reading!

Triple talaq debate in India

Islam has two sects – Shia and Sunni. These sects emerged owing to differences in opinions following the death of Prophet Muhammad in 632 AD as to who would lead Islam, which was then a new and a rapidly growing faith. Some section within the Muslim faith wanted Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law (Muhammad’s descendant), Ali, to be the rightful successor (known as the “caliph”). While another section believed that the leader should be chosen by consensus. The end result was the election of Abu Bakr as the successor, causing differences and rift between the people. Thus the sect comprising followers of Ali came to be known as Shia while the other one loyal to Abu Bakr was called Sunni. Two successive assassinations after Abu Bakr’s election ensued and Ali eventually did became the caliph only to be assassinated at the Battle of Karbala.

Triple Talaq

Talaq is an Arabic word meaning divorce. The custom of triple talaq is followed by Sunnis and it states that a husband can divorce his wife by enunciating the word “talaq” thrice.

Shias, although belonging to the same religion of Islam, oppose this custom citing its total absence in the Holy book of  Quran. Just like any other custom, triple talaq apparently evolved in the Sunni society and culture with time. It finds a mention in the Sharia, the religious law which governs the members of the Islamic faith and this forms the basis for support to this practice. However, many countries including the Muslim-majority ones have laws which render “triple talaq” a not-so-effective law, paving a legal route to register for a divorce.

What can be a more happier moment than waking up to see your phone flooded with Whatsapp and Facebook notifications? But what if you could be divorced by a mere Whatsapp message or over a Facebook post?

Triple Talaq in India

India still needs to fight a tough battle to end triple talaq for its Muslim population. It is a custom which renders women powerless and voiceless, as they face rejection and isolation from their community, for no one really wants to talk about it openly because of fear of strict opposition from the hard-lined community members. Reports of women receiving talaq over Facebook, Skype, Whatsapp have been surfacing in social media and some news channels. As amusing as it may sound, the women has to live under a constant fear of receiving an instant divorce. Recent instances of Muslim women groups, particularly All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board, coming out to protest against this practice has to be seen as welcome sign by all those who are against gender-based discrimination, from people from all walks of life.

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Instant talaq with a text message

Sadly, in our country it is difficult to find full political support because of the quantum of vote bank involved with triple talaq as it amounts to politics of appeasement of religious communities. Favouring triple talaq equals support to hard-lined clerics and scholars who can influence the Muslim population. I believe that non-Muslims in India can be the biggest helping hand in the fight to ban triple talaq as they have nothing to fear. By supporting this cause in the name of human rights, they can voice their opinion to scrap this traditional law which snatches away dignity of women. They can protest loud and give voice to tens of millions of Muslim women in India. This rising voice against triple talaq should not be seen as an unwanted interference in the functioning of a particular community but as a movement to bring reform to its centuries-old and obsolete laws. A mass movement on social media can give a big push to this movement to ban triple talaq.

Since triple talaq finds its basis in the Sharia, Sunnis and Shias should collectively analyse and debate on Sharia laws. Definitely a solution and a common ground can be reached if they are serious about the future Muslim generations. Just as it is true for Hinduism, those clerics and scholars who are strongly opposed to progressive reforms have deep-rooted insecurities for their positions and roles if they witness these reforms in their lifetime. I wonder what will these clerics do if their daughters and sisters are divorced by triple talaq, would they still support it in letter and spirit?

A “surgical strike” to end triple talaq would not the serve the entire purpose of putting an end to the practices of demeaning women in Islam. But an initiation has begun which is a good sign. What more evil mental conditioning can you see than the defendant, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) saying that triple talaq prevents the wives from being murdered or burnt by their husbands. I don’t understand what act or mistake by a Muslim woman would force her husband to burn her. This speaks of the patriarchal setup and male-dominated thinking that is rooted in our society (mind you that many similar customs exist in Hinduism which need urgent reforms). Nothing new. Opposing the legal route as a substitute to triple talaq, the AIMPLB opines that the Judiciary is too slow in these matters. Triple talaq is definitely not in line with today’s modern thinking – where is gender equality here? To counter the defendants of triple talaq – why not give triple talaq to women to divorce their husbands?

Whatsoever be the logic behind the birth and continued practice of triple talaq, since it is not mentioned in the Holy Quran and since Islam espouses justice, kindness, compassion and wisdom, a healthy debate should definitely shape the opinions in a progressive (and not regressive) direction. As Victor Hugo said, “Nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come”. This idea must meet its logical end.

What I constantly learn from my family members

We all learn something from someone. As many people have said, learning should be a life-long process. One must never stop this attitude.

Here is a link to a page that talks about the same- 3 Techniques to Never Stop Learning

I thought of writing a small post on what I constantly learn from my family.

  • My mother – faith; dedication to your work; cleanliness is Godliness; care and compassion for other people
  • My father – constant self-improvement; strong general knowledge; sociable; always updated with news
  • My brother – imagination; celebrating life; having a positive attitude in life

Thanks for reading 🙂

Will it now be Jio vs Non-Jio?

This blog was originally written for Awesummly. Awesummly is an android which provides you with real-time summarised news. To download the app, click here.

At a time when Indian telecommunication companies are blamed for charging much more than they ought to, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani seems to have brought a revolution in this sector with the commercial launch of Reliance Jio Infocomm (Jio) on September 1, 2016, at the Reliance Annual General Meeting. From providing highly attractive introductory offers in voice calling and 4G services to its ambitious plan of capturing up to 10 per cent of over 1 billion-strong customer base, Jio has caught the attention of both mobile subscribers as well as mobile service providers. It aims to serve 100 million subscribers by the end of this year, with an addition of 1 million subscribers per day. Following this, Reliance plans to make revenue in the range of ₹36,000 crores to ₹50,000 crores in FY17.

In an impactful speech, which cost Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular approximately ₹12,000 crores in losses in under 45 minutes, Mukesh Ambani announced a series of measures which is set to directly affect mobile users’ behaviour, waging a “tariff war” with incumbent players in the telecom sector. From issuing free SIM cards and providing lifetime free voice calls (local plus national roaming) to providing free mobile data till December 31, and lowest data rates per megabit consumption (4G data rates will see a decrease from ₹250/GB which is charged by the incumbent players to ₹50/GB), advent of Jio is sure to have sent jitters down the telecom sphere. It is said that competition leads to better performance, but in all this brouhaha, future seems bleak for the likes of Aircel and Telenor. How Bharti Airtel, Vodafone or Idea Cellular effectively react to this is yet to be seen. A battle for providing the lowest tariff will not be a surprise.

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The Jio rates

The erstwhile Infotel Broadband Services Limited was rechristened as Reliance Jio Infocomm in 2015. Jio was previously launched as a beta service to its employees and partners in December 2015. As far as the initial investment in this project is concerned, Jio is supposedly world’s biggest venture with ₹150,000 crore investment. With a very strong backing by RIL, it is all prepared to take initial blows in terms of direct losses till 31 December. It will only start making revenue from January 2017 when it begins to charge for its data usage (from ₹149 to ₹4999 on a monthly basis). Apart from data services, it aims to leverage revenue from various digital services like video streaming (with a feature similar to Netflix) and other sources, not to forget the already profit-making RIL.

All this is indeed a welcome step towards digital literacy, especially as it is brought about by a private entity. This will motivate other players to step in –  a step they must take in order to survive in the competition. According to media reports, Vodafone and Airtel have called Jio’s offer a “gimmick” while the state-owned BSNL has pledged to match Jio “tariff-by-tariff”. At the current stage, Reliance Jio has everything to experiment with, owing to its strong financial support. What is left for other big players is to prevent an exodus of their top customers to Jio, for 30 per cent of the customers contribute to 70 per cent of their revenue. The launch of Jio seems to have been played out positively on consumer sentiment. Whatever level of competition and commotion this leads to, the end beneficiary is going to be the customers. And this is what really matters to us.

This blog was originally written for Awesummly. Awesummly is an android which provides you with real-time summarised news. To download the app, click here.

Bob Proctor’s eternal wisdom

The legendary speaker and author Bob Proctor has been and continues to be a great motivation for millions all over the world. An institution in his own self and a great admirer of Napoleon Hill, Bob has been passionately giving himself for the cause of personal development, educating people all over the world. One can only realize the power in his teachings by watching his videos or listening to his audios. Most of his videos are available on YouTube for free.

In 2006, Mr Bob Proctor featured in the blockbuster documentary movie The Secret which featured many other authors and speakers who emphasized upon and discussed about The Law of Attraction. About a decade ago, he co-founded the Proctor Gallagher Institute with Sandy Gallagher – a successful banking attorney in the U.S., and someone who was taken aback when she heard Bob for the first time in one of his seminars in Vancouver (in 2006) and had decided back then to work with him and be his closest adviser.

In his mid-twenties, Bob, with a very little formal education, started a cleaning business and he went on to take his then meager earning of $4,000 a year to over $1,000,000 a year in under 5 years by following his mentor and reading, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, among other steps that he took diligently. He worked closely with Earl Nightingale from 1968 to 1973 at Nightingale-Conant, before starting his own personal development company. Interestingly, Bob Proctor continues to use the same copy of the book, every single day of his life. Now that is dedication and consistency. Bob is now 82 years old but still a student – someone who is passionate and believes in continually learning.

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A young Bob Proctor (center) with Earl NIghtingale (left) and Llyod Conant

After becoming a millionaire, it took 9 years for Bob to get to know exactly what he had done to transform his fortune. Like he stresses in his videos, he knew he wasn’t smart and intelligent enough to earn so much, so he really wanted to find out what exactly he had done to transform his life. Since then he had decided to dedicate his life to the cause of personal development, by sharing all that he knew. Almost all of Bob’s talks are focused on Paradigms (conditioned way of thinking; why do we what we do) and money. Other aspects like imagination, visualization/visioneering, positive thinking and goal-setting revolve around Paradigms.

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Bob Proctor and Sandy Gallagher

I would like to share some of the numerous quotes by Bob Proctor which I have come across.

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Sharing a link to the video of one of Bob’s live seminars –

~ Thank you 🙂

Five Things Plaguing India’s Potential in Science, Technology and Research

You might be aware of the recent case of group of CSIR (Council of Scientific and Educational Research) scientists at Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh, India, being caught in a case of furnishing fabricated data in research Papers. It comes as an insult for the scientific community to India.

If asked about 5 things that are plaguing India’s potential in Science, Technology and Research, I will give the following points:

  • In general, a paradigm shift from a scientific inclination (bent of mind) towards non-scientific pursuits- This point is contestable. Parents these days do not actually encourage their child/children to take up Science and Research as a career. Maybe they are aware of the plight of M.Sc.s and Ph.D.s in India demanding more pay, comparable to management graduates and B. Techs. All they want is : their child/children should be earning a 7-figure pay package after graduation.
100th Indian Science Congress
Kolkata: A boy displays a ‘Micro Air Vehicle’ at the ‘Children’s Science Congress’ during 100th Indian Science Congress, in Kolkata on Friday. PTI Photo
  • Questionable work ethics of the scientists or researchers: In all possibility, incidents like these from the same scientists, and others, might have gone unnoticed in the past. A student who can successfully forge lab data and readings to defend his/her thesis may try to do the same in his professional life.
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Institute of Microbial Technology at Chandigarh, India
  • Significant brain drain of talent from India at all levels (post-intermediate, graduate, post-graduate, doctorate, etc.): loss of talents, who choose to leave India for a more prosperous and fulfilling future in their respective fields
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Brain Drain or Brain in a Drain?
  • Lack of engagement with foreign institutions and agencies at the research level resulting in no or low accountability for local researchers
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Education globalization
  • Lack of funds (such as, for procuring latest instruments) and incentives to successfully carry out the research work
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Pipe dreams?

~Thank you 🙂

 

 

Not a Yahoo! moment

This blog was originally posted on Awesummly. Awesummly is a news app available on Play Store. To download the app, click here.

It is said that Internet is an unforgiving place for yesterday’s great idea. Acquisition of Yahoo! Inc.’s core business by Verizon Communication on 25 July for $4.83 billion validates this fact. Verizon is America’s top ranking telecommunication company, which has started to experience a radical increase in digital content consumption from its mobile users. Hence, Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo is clear as the latter had emerged as an unavoidable, but struggling, player in the field of content distribution. Last year, Verizon had acquired AOL Inc.(Yahoo’s biggest competitor for a long time) for $4.4 billion. Surprisingly, because of Verizon’s increasing customer base in the area of digital consumption, its biggest competitors now are Facebook and Google, the big brothers in providing content, and not AT&T or Sprint, big names in America’s telecommunication sphere.

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Verizon’s growing empire (source: Bloomberg)

Yahoo has reached its end as an independent company which was founded in 1994 by Stanford graduates David Felo and Jerry Yang. One of the biggest names during its heydays in the nascent world of dot-com, Yahoo was the front door to Internet for many first-generation users. At its peak in 2000, it was valued at $125 billion, having evolved through numerous products such as Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Messenger, Yahoo Answers, Yahoo Finance and many more. By mid-2000s, Yahoo struggled to maintain its spot, courtesy- beginning of era of Google and Facebook. For every Yahoo Search, there was a Google Search; for Yahoo Messenger, there was a Google Talk. Arguably, every Yahoo Mail user started to have a taste of Gmail, and the competition just got increasingly tough for Yahoo.

Just like many companies, Yahoo made goof-ups, but it had to pay a massive price for some of them, as it turns out to be in recent times. A shocking incident as it may come out to be, Yahoo had missed opportunities to acquire both Google and Facebook. Apparently, Yahoo was not willing to spend even $1 million to buy Google! Again in 2008, Microsoft offered a deal of $44 billion which was rejected by Yahoo.

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No more Yahoo!

Flash-forward to the present scene. No doubt, Yahoo has lost its charm. After this acquisition, Yahoo will have stakes remaining in the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba (estimated at $40 billion), Yahoo Japan and other small portfolio of high-end patents. Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, who had a long stint at Google, will be paid a severance package of $57 million. Notably, she was hired in 2012 to revive Yahoo but failed to do so. After all these years of pressure for Yahoo and its ultimate acquisition, one thing on which we all can agree is: Yahoo! came to its logical end.

This blog was originally posted on Awesummly. Awesummly is a news app available on Play Store. To download the app, click here.

Television news media is shaping our perception

This blog was originally posted on Awesummly. Awesummly is a news app available on Play Store. To download the app, click here.

Famously regarded as the fourth pillar of the Indian democracy, the television media in India has expanded both in its purview and responsibilities. It appears to be diverting from its presumed duty of divulging unbiased and neutral information, and from existing as a platform where people can raise and share their opinions — a phenomenon that has caught the attention of news viewers. Primetime debates on TV news channels look no longer like debates, and resemble more like an entertainment show catering to a man in search for a mood change after the day’s tiring work. Arguably, not every panellist’s point of view is addressed in these debates, resulting in a discussion that is heavily biased and sometimes confusing. Surprisingly, viewers tend to be more attracted towards the rhetoric of host and the speakers rather than the outcome of these debates.

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All eyes on you!

Shortcomings of the Indian television media

The quality of reportage by TV channels have raised questions by many sections of society. An instance of astonishing reportage by the TV media is the consistent impression of a fellow politician’s character upon the viewers. While a politician’s actions might be suggesting a positive assertion, such a reportage does not allow time and space to alter the negative image in the eyes of the people. Another shortcoming is the range of news coverage by some of the Hindi news channels, ostensibly labelled as “mainstream” and “national” news channels. Their coverage is remotely pan-India and grossly inadequate — in case it is not known — the 2015 Chennai floods took 3 days to hit the headlines of these news channels; environment issues and tribal affairs fail to find a space in their news ticker. Rarely does one see a news from the Northeast in these channels, and if the Northeast seems far enough, a state like Odisha (which is among the most neglected by the Central government, but the most mineral-rich in India) has a similar story to tell. Little coverage of these areas amounts to little public awareness, leading to reduced scope of outreach and development in these areas. No wonder the organization National Socialist Council of Nagaland- Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM) is, to this day, demanding a separate flag and passport for their proposed Greater Nagalim region. Apparently, the only time a person in the north hears of Kanyakumari is in the phrase Kashmir se Kanyakumari tak, most popularly pitched in political speeches in Hindi. Compare this with coverage of the NCR and the North India, and the difference will be all too clear to justify. In all this, the fundamental problem is in the news coverage, and to a greater extent in them being labelled as “national” news channels. How can a channel with a grossly limited coverage be dubbed as a national channel?

It is not only the political affairs that lack their due coverage. Various sports in India marred by minimal coverage have a similar story to tell. Undoubtedly Cricket has a massive fan following in India, perhaps more than all other professional sports combined. Is it then not the right time that other sports like be popularised and promoted? No doubt, the government and the various sports bodies have a role to play, but the media can play an even larger role because of its wide reach and popularity. This assumes greater importance at a time when our country is sending the largest-ever contingent for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil.

Shaping our perception

While a person is entitled to her opinion on a personal level, the same is not true for a news channel which is expected to be all-encompassing to as much an extent as possible. News is expected to be presented as it is without manipulation, and the final judgement of a right or a wrong should be left for the media audience to decide. Moreover, hunting down a single person or a group, for more TRP, and not giving them their due time and space to defend, sets a bad precedent for journalism in our country as this diminishes the distinct roles and responsibilities of the media. In light of the recent controversy regarding the Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, the media trial against him was regrettable. Several TV news channels stepped out of their expected roles of unbiasedness and left no stones unturned in shaping public’s opinion against him. Another incident involved the comedian Tanmay Bhat’s video that went viral in the social media. Though it might be too late to comment on this issue but it still stands relevant: Tanmay Bhat was already made a scapegoat before he could appear in the public to defend himself. The same thing happened in the case of the JNU incident where one of the students, Umar Khalid, was lambasted in a live TV debate and not allowed to put forth his argument. The media trial that followed is known to all. In such incidents, common questions arise: Is this kind of action by media justified? What is the TV news media creating — an informed public or a misguided mob?

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Is this a debate? (cartoon by Vignesh Rajan)

It should be noted that is the same media which airs a high-level coverage on Salman Khan’s acquittal from the Bombay High Court but fails to discover about Kailash Satyarthi and his works until he is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Because of incident such as this, there is a high chance of the public missing out on issues of social importance. Isn’t it the responsibility of the media to make more and more voices heard, and not just the popular ones?

In this age of globalization, it has become all the more important for us as citizens to be aware of the prevailing situations and develop a tendency to engage, if not appreciate, a different perspective, even on a non-permanent basis. We should not let ourselves be derailed by the decibel level while watching a TV debate. And so far as the role of television news media is concerned, the lines by the English writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall fits appropriately — I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

This blog was originally posted on Awesummly. Awesummly is a news app available on Play Store. To download the app, click here.

Top 5 quotes on capacity building

As an ardent follower of quotes which deal with capacity building as an essential prerequisite to achieve one’s dreams and ambition, I have always been fascinated by them. I think the best way here to explain the importance of capacity building will be to directly share these quotes.  Here is my list of top 5 quotes on capacity building.

Do check my latest post on “Top 5 Quotes on Happiness”. Also share your thoughts/analyses in the comments!

#5

quotes137

#4

Sandeep Manudhane quote

#3

quotes136

#2

quotes135

#1

quote005

~ Thank you 🙂