Peace

Poorva Inamdar

‘Peace is the only battle worth waging’

This saying by Albert Camus is true indeed! Peace cannot be fought for;

it can be created, developed and secured in the hearts of the world’s

millions! It is, of course, an antethesis of war, a term which mainly

describes destruction, hatred and cruelty towards all.

The word peace has many synonyms like friendship, love, armistice, union,

unity, pacifism … but none of these is able to capture the integrity and

emotion of the word ‘peace’ — the bond, the feeling which  seeps deep inside

one’s heart and makes it a holy place.

Peace makes its way to develop a sense of tolerance in international relations,

strengthening the truce of belief and understanding between them. The word

‘peace’ gained importance in the early 20th century when great leaders like Mahatma

Gandhi and Martin Luther King made it the cornerstone  of their strategy to

obtain freedom from slavery and imperialism. Mahatma Gandhi won freedom

from British Rule for India on the principles of non-violence and Satyagraha.

Martin Luther King fought for justice and equality for Afro-Americans and is

one of the greatest heroic leaders in the history of modern American liberalism.

Today the concept of  ‘World Peace’ has gained recognition worldwide as part of

the efforts by the human race to secure safety and understanding between warring

nations.

The initiative for World Peace is  now in the hands of the United Nations which is

striving constantly, through both conventional and unconventional methods, to

establish peace in this world threatened by terrorism, in order to make this world

a better place. The dove with an olive branch in its beak, the symbol of peace that

was popularized by world famous artist Pablo Picasso in 1949 has been widely

used in the post-World War II peace movement.

However, to really bring about world peace, each of us needs to take this mission to

heart and come together to make this world a better and safer place!

Youth

by Shivani Galhotra

The youth are the most important part of any society because they are the citizens of tomorrow. Similarly, India’s youth are the backbone of Indian society.

Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, India’s former President, who was fondly called the ‘People’s President’, had great hopes of India’s youth. During his tenure he interacted with people from all walks of life. He always used to interact with the youth and realized their importance. The youth can play an important role in realizing Dr Kalam’s dream.

Dr. Kalam always believed that the youth, when mobilized, can play an important role in the fight for equal rights. They can take out rallies; make pamphlets to create awareness among the people about their rights. They can also help fight other social and political evils like corruption.

We can see Dr. Kalam’s vision for India’s youth coming true as the youth is playing an important role in the making of the Lokpal Bill. A big section of the country’s young people are supporting the Gandhian leader Anna Hazare. Thousands of youngsters have been participating in his rally and agitation, pledging their support for the fight against corruption. We can see on the news every single day that the youth of the country are leaving their studies and fasting for their rights.

In the newspaper there was a recent story that an IIT student left his convocation, where he was to get a degree from Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, to support Anna Hazare’s campaign against corruption. Students at numerous IITs are boycotting their convocations by the PM just so that they can show their support towards Anna Hazare and the Lokpal Bill.

They want the PM to first listen to what the masses want, which is an end to corruption and a new Jan Lokpal Bill according to their terms. They support it mainly because corruption affects them in a big way. For example, admission to a medical college requires a huge donation on the student’s part.

The RTI (Right to Information Act) also had the youth as a major part of it. The elections last year had highest percentage of youth voting. The youth help in mobilizing support. They can give ideas and help in research. The youth of today are tomorrow’s citizens. They should be encouraged to come forward.

Shivani Galhotra is 14 years old and a student of class IX at DPS Vasant Kunj, Delhi. She likes to read, write and listen to music. 

Memories for Life …

by Tazeem Akhter

Sometimes little incidents leave a strong imprint on our minds. This one happened just a month ago, and I know the sweetness and positivity it infused into my thoughts will stay with me  for the rest of my life.

It was a sweltering June morning. I was at Kalai, waiting endlessly for
a bus to Poonch; papa being out of town, and any other means of commute, thus, being out of the question. The sun was directly overhead, beating down upon our heads in full form and  getting more and more unbearable with each passing second.

Buses came and went, wholly jam-packed, so no driver applied brakes at our stop. Finally, after an irksome wait of about two whole hours, a bus stopped. It too was crammed with people like a matchbox just two matchsticks short of a full load. Mamma and I, thus, managed to squeeze in at the back door.

Riding on the steps, we were offered seats by two kind men, and felt much like damsels in distress being rescued by gallant knights! I had an idea that it was going to be a bumpy ride, but not that the ‘half hour journey’ would become a memory for a lifetime!

On my right sat Mamma. The seat to the left was occupied by a typical Gujjar (rustic) couple: a middle aged man sporting a graceful white beard and a ‘safaa’ on his head, and his wife in a hand-woven round red cap with a beautiful flowery
pattern in bright colors that was partially visible underneath the big
chadar, and a round golden laung (nose stud) with a red bead embedded in its centre.

I found myself gazing at them, fascinated, but had no idea how to strike a conversation. My mom helped me there. She asked them where they were from, how they make their living, etc. As the conversation progressed, it transpired that we had some mutual acquaintances.

I had some delicious plums with me and I offered them some. I asked them about their family. They told us about their only son who recently passed class 12. The couple was on the way to the Government Degree College at Poonch to inquire about admission details for him.

The talk shifted to their son. I asked them why he wasn’t with them, and the father replied that he was away in Srinagar with his maternal uncle for the annual gathering at Laar Sharief. Then he told us a little about his own background, and his life as a poor Gujjar farmer from Marhote (a village in Surankote), the hardships he faced in the militancy affected area, caught between the crossfire as it were, with the militants suspecting him of being an undercover agent for the army and  the army suspecting him of being a militant sympathizer.

It spoke volumes for his courage and determination that in the midst of these circumstances he managed to educate his son well, reiterating proudly that
his son had never failed in any class: ‘Mero nikko kise class maan ryo ni’.

His son’s excellent scores in the board exams–both 10th and 12th standard–were on the tip of his proud tongue, but he acknowleged our congratulations with a modest ‘Uppar ala go karam hai’ (It is the Almighty’s grace), while his wife smiled with quiet pride and content.

The couple had no idea of the subjects their son had studied at the senior secondary level, but their eyes were shining with dreams of their son’s bright future in college. The conversation turned to the subjects their son wanted to study at college. The father reached into the breast pocket of his brown kameez and brought out a dilapidated wallet. A 500 rupee note, a couple of 10 rupee notes and a 5 rupee coin came into view as he scrabbled in it with his fingers. An old photograph of Rani Mukherjee also met my amused glance!

And now his hand emerged with a carefully folded slip of paper–three options of subject combinations that his son had written down for him: Urdu, Persian , Pol Sc; Urdu Persian Geography ; Urdu, Persian, Education. As I read them out aloud to him, he asked curiously, ‘Science haina?’ I shook my head and he pointed towards ‘Political Science’ and asked ‘Baccha! yo science ni?’ (Isn’t that science?)

Before I could answer, his mind veered off to his biggest preoccupation, and he asked me whether the college gives residential facilities to students belonging to far flung areas. As I said ‘yes’, his expression lightened. Their minds obviously relieved of a huge worry, the couple exchanged happy smiles, as the father said with a sigh of relief, ‘Unn koi fikar ni’ (no worries now)!

More relaxed now about this aspect of their son’s future in college, they were able to relish the plums I had offered them, and which they had been holding tightly in their hands so far.

‘Yo chango hai’ (this is great) he said as he spit the pits of the fruit out of the bus window, adding gratefully, ‘Baccha! teh mero dil khush kar choryo … tero Khuda shehar bassawe’ (child, you have gladdened my heart … Allah bless you). Prevented from raising his hands in prayer because of the jam-packed bus, his eyes showered blessings upon me.

Plump (as they are called instead of plum) bada mitha hai … apna hain?’ (these plums are so sweet! are they your own?) I offered him some more and the half-hour journey passed most pleasurably. As the bus reached its destination and started emptying, he kept on saying, ‘Allaha tina salamat rakhe, Allaha tero sheher basawe’ (May God protect you and help you blossom).  As we said salaam to the couple and moved our way, he bellowed politely after us: ‘Aao chaa palawaan tamna’ (let’s have a cup of tea).

And such was the goodwill emanating from him that I wanted to accept his offer, not for the chaai, but for more talk. We felt impelled to decline his invitation, however, and he vanished along the College road, waving his hand and calling out, ‘Allaha ge hawale; zindagi rahi de milaanga dobare’ (Goodbye and God speed; if destiny wills it so, we shall meet again).

All the way back home I kept thinking about that beautiful couple. I realized that I had even forgotten to ask the name of their son–the lucky guy who has such lovely parents. Maybe I can locate him at college sometime and tell him how caring his parents are. Maybe, as they said, if destiny wills it so, we shall meet again …

Tazeem Akhter is a 17 year-old writing enthusiast from J&K. Apart from reading and writing she loves photography as well.

Social Networking: School Style!

by Mridul Mahajan

‘Socialising’ is coming to be recognized as one of the primary human needs. One only has to look at the formidable outreach of Facebook to see that. Ever since homo sapiens evolved on earth, they have looked for ways to express their emotions. And these emotions have brought into being different types of people and situations.

Stern fathers, soft mothers, harsh officials, quarrelling couples, teenage-drama-queens, cool dudes–human permutations and combinations are endless. And so also, endless are the means and media of expression and communication with fellow beings. But means and media were not necessarily invented–some developed spontaneously out of the human inclination to sudden outbursts of emotion.

One such case in point is the prominent Social Networking Areas (SNAs) in school: Corridors and Staircases (yes, there do exist other avenues, apart from Facebook!)–the venues of so many ‘Gossip and General Committee Meetings’!

The passages where, while ascending or descending the staircase, we always ‘happen to’ meet a friend (or a friend of a friend) and pass on messages, lists, books, chocolates and so on–where a story-teller gradually acquires the centre stage and narrates the latest events in which the climax is usually dominated by some burning issue like ‘How Harry met Sally’ (and someone usually spices it up with ‘How Sally smashed Harry’).

Traditionally, corridors have also been home to the criminals of the highest order (class-bunkers, on the run from the teacher’s ‘Why didn’t you do your homework’ third degree (lecture)). However, since our school has almost see-through corridors, the bunkers become soft targets, but still persist (I guess that’s why they are bunkers).

Apart from the ‘criminal escape service’ the corridors and staircases also provide recreational programmes. Sometimes, when the weather is good enough to distract you from your class (well, actually any weather will do), the corridors are ‘the’ place to shun all worries and walk freely with a blank mind (although, when too many ‘distracted souls’ are visited by the same impulse, the ‘walking freely’ becomes more of ‘meandering’).

Then, there is the morning assembly stage. Easily visible form our classrooms and the SNA,s and a major hub of activity at all times, it is a great allurement. I remember how once, in the seventh grade, I escaped from class with some silly excuse, to watch the ongoing Good Luck Party for Class X!

And the best of all: Corridors are means to reach the sanctum sanctorum of teenagers–The Washroom! After every class, the students wend their way en masse to this shrine to vanity, where the ancient ritual of ‘Mirror, Mirror on the Wall’ takes place.

Here the transformations take place: trousers pushed southwards, towards the ‘blue zones’, and combs flourishing in the ‘red zones’. And the corridors and staircases stand mute witness to the age-old fashion drama that is as regular as the end-of-class bell!

There is a multitude of other activities that are conducted in the SNAs, with ‘student meetings’ as the common denominator–the ‘move-for-assembly’ morning evacuation towards pre-appointed locations; opening of ‘Pandora’s boxes’ of secrets of known people; lamenting falling grades or cheering basketball victories, imitating teachers; being scattered like ninepins and re-herded like flocks of sheep by said teachers–the Social Networking Areas see it all.

It makes school life really worthwhile. And it’s all REAL, not virtual, unlike Facebook!

Mridul Mahajan is a student of class XII at Bal Bharti Public School, Pitampura, in New Delhi, India. He is interested in craftwork, theatre, debates and discussions, reading and writing (with an inclination towards satire and allegory).

The Fateful Science Project

by Akshdeep Singh

People say I’m a clumsy klutz, and after some incidents in my life, I believe them. The most bizzare of these is as follows:
It was winter time …
Hell I’ve got to submit my science project today, or I’m a goner. Needless to say, I’m already a goner. The chill wind agrees with me.
“Hi!” said Ranja , as I climbed up the stairs. “Having a good day?”
I scowled. “I expect my days to be dark and gloomy from now … my science project isn’t very good.”
Which was true–I knew very well that my hurriedly assembled soil structure project would need heavy doses of fixes and truckloads of makeover to make it pass muster.
The silly project consisted of the awe-inspiring cardboard box whose interiors were buried in sand and dust. In fact, I later heard a rumour that it was a sandbox for the nursery section!
Even though I was absorbed in my own thoughts, I noticed Ranja ‘s project–a chart that he was clutching in his hand as if it was made of gold! I racked my brain (I always do that!) to remember what Ranja had been working on, but in vain!
“What’s your project about, Ranja?”
“About.. about what?”
“Uhh, about your project?”
“Well, what about it?”
“Don’t act the dunce … what is your project about?”
“Ah, yes! It’s about ‘the uses of trees’ of course”.
“Ah, yes, yes. Mind if I look at it?”
“Of course not, but wait till we reach the classroom”.
Once inside the classroom, he showed me his project rather proudly. And it was really nice. He got full marks for it (good for him!)–and needless to say, I failed!I winced when our science teacher announced this!
I had tucked it away safely inside the cubbyhole of my desk like a shameful secret, but Akshit’s hand moved in and out before I could say “Stop!”, and there was my project, on his lap!
“Wow, look at the future of science projects!” he smirked sarcastically.
“GIVE IT BACK!” I was losing my temper. Already sore about failing, I was smouldering on a short fuse as it was, and Akshit’s jeers did nothing to help!
“No way–let me see it properly!”
I tried to get it back; he tried to pull it towards him. Together, we proved Newton’s Third Law of Motion. My ill-fated project had its supreme moment, as it got ripped to shreds!
I was looking daggers (swords, rather) at Akshit. He was glaring back at me, and there followed an exchange of unprintable remarks.
@#%@$$#^&$……..
The class was in fits of laughter all around us!
The teacher, meanwhile, had stepped outside the class, and so, had missed the entire drama. I opened my mouth and raised my voice to complain:
“MAAM..”
“Rampal, stop screaming in class! And incidentally, please get some notebooks from 8-B”. She crisply ordered, casting a damper over my anger.
“Triiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!” screeched the shrill notes of the bell–if it were any shriller, only bats would be able to hear it!
And so, ended my fateful science project, in an avalanche of mud and sand, all over the classroom floor, the desks, Akshit and me!
***
Akshdeep Singh is 14 years old and a student of class IX at Guru Harkrishan Public School, Loni Road. His hobbies and interests include Science, reading and writing.

Akshdeep wishes to thank his friend, 14 year-old Rajkumar from Europe for collaboration and editorial support.

A Trip to Buddha Amarnath Shrine …

by Saqib Syeed Usmani

Last year, on 22nd December we were taken by our school for a picnic to the Buddha Amarnath, a sacred shrine of the Hindus. I left my home at eight in the morning. We boarded the bus at nine o’clock to journey via Sher-e-Kashmir bridge to reach Buddha Amarnath.

On the way, at Dalera village, people had blocked the  road and we were struck in a long traffic jam. The ladies in that area were out on the road with their buckets, pots and pitchers, protesting against the shortage of water that they were facing.  This made me realize that villagers lack even basic amenities such as water, electricity and medical facilities.

Meanwhile, our school bus turned back and started for Buddha Amarnath via the Nangali Sahab road. We reached there and offered prayers at this holy shrine of the Hindus, which is situated in an area populated almost entirely by Muslims. This temple, where thousands of people come every year from different parts of the country, is, indeed, a pillar of national integration.

We found a beautiful picnic spot beside the crystal clear waters of the River Mandi. We had food with us, but I found myself unable to eat or drink. I kept remembering the faces of the women–my mothers and sisters, all of them–wailing for water.

I kept thinking: Gandhiji always thought that the real India lives in villages, but what is the plight of the ‘real India?’ We are living in the twenty first century and talking about our achievements in science and technology–about the Chandrayan Mission; about our claims to a seat in the UN Security Council; about nuclear power–but alas! The problems of our villagers make it obvious that is is a case of chirag tale andhera (an old Hindustani proverb meaning that it is always dark underneath the light-giving lamp).

Our country’s government has so many  excellent development schemes, but they are really bad at implementation. Our leaders and politicians are busy making money through  scams like the Fodder scam, Coffin scam (coffin for Kargil martyrs), Commonwealth scams, Telecom scam,  Adrash scam, etc.

Developments schemes are implemented on paper only as the implementing and development agencies collude and divide the gains among themselves, while the common man gets crushed. Our rivers are are full of untapped hydro-power. Our foodgrains rot in the FCI storage godowns instead of being provided to the poor, in spite of the directions of the Supreme Court.

As far as I can see, the current situation prevailing in the state is due to lack of basic amenities. If these were provided to the common man, maybe there would be no need to incur expense of crores of rupees on interpreters to act as middle men and mediate in efforts to solve the problem of J&K.

I am only a kid from the seventh standard, but I feel the basic problem is that of paani (water), bijli (electricity), roti (food), kapda (clothing) and makan (shelter), and not sthan (a new country). This is a big question that needs to be answered by the state as well as central government.

Saqib Syeed Usmani is a 13 year-old student of class VII at Christ School, Poonch in J&K.

Testing Times

by Akshdeep Singh

The sun glowed softly in the east on that cold morning. ‘Wake up,’ it said. But a boy, lost in deep slumber on his bed, was unaware of the rising sun or the golden morning. I was the boy, and very soon, not only the sun, but my mother too was desperately trying to wake me up. I woke up at last and had a bath. Mother waited for me with my breakfast on the back seat of the car so that I didn’t go school on an empty stomach.

Uh-oh! Hindi test today! Got to read up on grammar—compound words and one word for many—horrible! The wretched, boring brain-fogger of a Hindi Grammar book–it shall meet its end after the paper! MUHAHAHAHAHA!

The paper was creepy (though I did manage to scrape good marks despite my apprehensions—but now I’m done with it and have had Hindi studies to last me a lifetime)! I completed the paper before time, desperate to be rid of the miserable subject. After that I whiled away the time, observing the pigeon who had made its nest on the large window sill of the classroom, which was high enough to be out of reach. The pigeon’s suspicious red eyes met mine for a split second. He flew away the next instant.

Trrrrring Trrrrrrrring! Time over! The silence broke. Ma’am collected all our papers.

“How was your paper?” asked my friend Ranja.

“I will get shunya (zero)!”

“Ha-ha! I think I will get chaubees (twenty-four)!” he boasted.

“That’s cool! But you know very well that I am the worst in Hindi.”

“What was the answer to Question2 Part a? Who was the poet? Sur Davi?” asked Abhishek, jumping into the conversation.

“HA-HA-HA!” both Ranja and I laughed in his face .

“It was Sur Das, silly!” scoffed Ranja.

“Whoops….”

“How was the paper Akshit?” I asked, sighting Akshit.

“I don’t expect papers have feelings, do they?” he joked.

“Very funny. I mean, how many marks do you expect?”

“It was okay. I will manage twenty one at least,” he said

“Cool!”

“I bet Deevanshu will get twenty four and half on twenty five,” said Akshit. “He is the champion in Hindi!”

“I don’t think so,” said Ranja. “He was overconfident this time, and he never answered any questions in yesterday’s test.”

“SETTLE DOWN!” came the shrill roar of Harpreet  Ma’am. We jumped. “Are you nursery duffers who make noise all day long? SETTLE DOWN FAST!”

It’s Science period, taught by Harpreet Ma’am. She is tall and fair and has taught us science for years. We love her classes. But today I’m just sooo… sleepy after the Hindi test. She is speaking but I can’t tell the difference between friction and fiction.

“Fiction is a pepper salt between two peppery surfaces,” I write sleepily…

Akshdeep Singh is 14 years old and a student of class IX at Guru Harkrishan Public School, Loni Road. His hobbies and interests include Science, reading and writing.

Grow Your Hair Long: The Soft Side of a Hardliner

by Tazeem Akhter

Sometimes telling a tale about one’s growing up can also be a catharsis of sorts, but in this case it is more likely to evoke sniggers and giggles from the depths of the readers’ hearts.

As I look back to happier times, one vivid reminiscence shines brightest — like the silhouette of a lonely tree against a scarlet sunset…

Ding dong ding! It was Nanak Academy. I was in  class 4 or 5. Everyone went in terror of the principal–a hard-as-nails, shrieking, screaming virago–the exact antithesis of the concept of a soft-spoken, cool and calm head of an educational institution.

Referred to (dreadingly) as ‘Badi Ma’am’, she was feared not only by students, but by teachers as well. None had ever seen her laugh; nor a smile ever anywhere near her. Smiles and laughs were substituted by taunts and jibes in her case.

It was not only her dusky skin tone with patches of white, the ‘keratotic papules’ caused by calcium deficiency (and which, students claimed, were actually a result of her volatile and cranky nature) that set her apart from the rest.

However, in my capacity as class monitor, my interaction with her was cordial enough. We usually exchanged greetings–one sided: mine–when we happened to see each other.

It was break time on a red hot summer day. I headed towards the bathroom in desperation, squeezing myself through the narrow staircases (I was quite plump at that time), I emerged into the vast, open ground which I had to cross at peril to life and limb in the  blazing sunshine, through the continuous traffic of students in white shirts and grey pants, with red ties and belts flashing like danger signals.

I finally made it to the girls’ bathroom, but hardly had I stepped there, when all around me erupted a cacophony of ‘Oh’s and ‘ah’s from the senior gals, who, looking at my short hair, thought that a boy had invaded the girls’ bathroom.

“Hey boy! what are you doing here?” shouted one.

“Take him to Badi Ma’am” shouted the other.

All that I had to say in my defence fell on deaf ears. Defeated, I shut up and was dragged to the Principal’s office. The party burst in upon Badi Ma’am wolfing down biscuits with her tea.

“Ma’am, this boy was found in the girls’ bathroom”, said a senior sister hesitantly.

Dead silence for a few minutes: we could have heard a leaf drop. I could clearly hear the ticking of the clock on the wall.

And then,  ‘Badi Ma’am’, the terror of the five continents and the seven seas, burst into uncontrolled gusts of laughter. The seniors gazed at each other in astonishment. This was the first time anyone in school had seen her laugh.

She said between gulps of laughter: “‘He is a girl, not a boy”!

The seniors hung their heads and walked away to their classes. And the formidable ‘Badi Ma’am’ offered me water, and some advice with a beautiful, unexpected smile. Tousling my short hair, she  said, “Beta! Grow your hair long.”

This was the first time anyone in school had seen the soft side of a hardliner and I am proud it happened because of me.

Tazeem Akhter is a 17 year-old writing enthusiast from Village Kalai, District Poonch, Jammu and Kashmir. She also loves reading and photography.


	

Blog Stats

  • 201,753 hits

Copyright

The copyright for all the written material on this site belongs to the authors.