What comes first- Medal or Participation?

 

“Whether you win or lose, participating is most important”-it’s a common statement we say to athletes when they go for any tournament. When it comes to Olympic the pressure is more than we could think of. It’s like more important than winning the world cups.

 

For most of, us it’s like medals matter as they give reputation to the country you are representing. If you belong from the developing country and see someone from an underdeveloped country or another fellow from a developing country to win any medal which you couldn’t, it’s very hard to digest that. It lowers down your respect and your country’s respect in your own mindset. This is completely wrong but it still happens. Even if not the player feels low for him/herself but will definitely feel to have made some injustice for the hard work of their coach. They will be scared to face the countrymen and the media. It becomes very difficult for a player to lose in the game and then stand with strong will. The entire hard work and all efforts that were put in by the sportsperson get diluted because he/she couldn’t win the medal. Is winning a medal matter that much? Or maybe the question should be “what comes first-medal or participation?”

 

People who are not usually a direct part of the Olympic games would never get the hang of the hard work which is given by each sportsperson to be there as a participant in the Olympic games. Thus it is very easy for them to criticize the sportsperson for not wining any medal or for losing the medal for just a point. We should first understand the level and intensity of each player’s hard work throughout years to reach that position where they can represent their country. It takes a lot of courage to reach that position. We should keep in mind that they are one of us but more eligible than us definitely and so they are there in the Olympic Games representing our Nation which we can’t do. We should thus respect them for their great work. There are thousands of participants in the Olympic games and everyone can’t afford to get medals. Someone will win only when the other will lose. So win and lose are just two of the parameters out of thousand others. Therefore, the potentiality of any sportsperson should not be judged by how many medal he/she won in an Olympic.

 

This year, in the Rio Olympics 2016 we have come across the harsh tweet by Shoba De which goes like “rio jao. Selfies kheechke wapas aa jao. What a waste of money and opportunity”. She made these insensitive statements just because till then India won no medals from the Olympics. This shows that how such famous figures of India also evaluate medals with the hard work of participation. If such educated people will come up with these kind of lame statements, what do we expect for the laymen. As a responsible citizen of India, if she could not or may be didn’t want to support the Indian players of the Olympics she could have just not come up with such a negative and insensitive statement over a social media site. The negative impact of her statement must have lowered the will of many of the players. It shows that how much we still disrespect them. It shows that their hard work is not meant to represent our nation as we do not respect them. It also shows disrespect towards the entire nation. Although I was glad to see numerous comments opposing to Shoba’s by eminent personalities like Amitabh Bachchan, Virendra Sewag, etc. This kind of showed that although there are few Indians who would try to pull down our sportsperson only because they missed the medals in the Olympics but also there are many to oppose this nuisance. It’s always good to see fellow patriots around you. A sense of brotherhood and belonging comes from this kind of games (Olympics, cricket world cups, etc.) These events tend to unite the nation into one, where each Indian cheers for the fellow Indian mate who is representing the entire Nation.

Therefore, I believe that every Indian should respect our representative irrespective of them winning a medal or not. We should value their (sportsperson’s) existence that they took to responsibility to represent the nation we all belong to. It take a lot of strengths (both mental and physical), dedication, hard work and courage to become a player of that strata where a player gets the opportunity to stand amidst of several other international players and represent their own nation. Winning or losing comes far later and a medal has almost no value as compared to the efforts a participant gives for his/her game. A medal is like an extra scoop of your favorite ice cream on the top.

Governing The Womb

How the Government needs to put aside its act of setting things in tones of black and white and start exploring the greys.

Swati Sudhakaran@TheMindMap

The approval of the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016 by the Cabinet is as appalling as it is sad. Allowing “altruistic surrogacy” while banning “commercial surrogacy”, the Bill openly discriminates against a large section of the society.

Agreed that the exploitation of surrogates was rampant in India and still is but the new Bill does nothing to prevent that except set out a few confusing and unanswered statements which will regulate surrogacy in India.

The Bill states that only a close, married relative who also has a child of her own, can now be a surrogate mother to a heterogeneous couple who have been married for 5 years. Why fixate on 5? No answers.

And yes, one try only please! The Bill doesn’t mention what happens if the surrogate fails to deliver the baby, or the baby faces some serious complications at birth and so has to be aborted. Do our socially accepted heterogeneous couples, get another shot? And what happens if the failed attempt is not registered at the clinic itself. People could always work their way around the doctors and staff to ensure that only the 2nd or the 3rd successful delivery gets registered.

Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj’s blatant discrimination against homosexuals and live-in partners saying that it is not part of “our ethos” does no service to the society and nor to India’s global image as a tolerant and egalitarian State.They can forget to ever have a child of their own for all the government cares.The Bill has segregated the ‘ideal family’ from the rest, giving only those who conform to the set rules, the right to get a child via surrogacy.

Also, by subtly citing few examples by playing on public memory, one cannot make the claim on rising celebrity culture in surrogacy!

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Shahrukh with son AbRam

 

The government continues to look at surrogacy as a black and white phenomenon. It indicates to a very money-minded mechanical process when it comes to women outside the family offering themselves for surrogacy in lieu of payment and a very clean, sacrificial approach when close relatives do the same. The ethical boundaries are very easily erased and no questions asked as to how emotionally traumatic it can be for the biological mother to see the child at all the close family functions and serving as an equally painful reminder to the new parents that their right over the child is also not holistic.

If the surrogate mother is a complete stranger to the family whose only incentive is monetary in  nature, the advantage to the couple is that, they get to choose the time and place to address the child’s biological linkage to him/her according to their convenience. This would be an extremely sensitive topic to break to the child and having a close relative be the surrogate would inevitably lead to divisions over how to handle the issue depending on the proximity of the family.

Legalizing Commercial Surrogacy?

13. Dr. Patel in her clinic
Dr. Nayana Patel at her IVF clinic Akanksha in Anand, Gujarat

 

For the childless couples from India or abroad, Dr. Nayana Patel was a boon from God who ensured successful IVF deliveries to many couples over the years in the small town of Anand,in Gujarat. Though receiving flak from many who accused her of commercializing the sacred bond between the mother and the child, Dr. Patel has nevertheless had support from the surrogate mothers themselves who were happy with the procedures and the remuneration offered so much so that many of them came back for the second and third delivery. This is not to defend commercial surrogacy as it exists today but is an appeal to not vilify it completely and to initiate changes in its present form.

It is imperative to see the larger picture in which the State intrudes into the personal life of the citizens and takes away some of their important choices regarding the nature, size of their family and their chosen form of parenthood.

The emotional repercussions of having and not having a child is something that would be unfair on our part to expect the State to deal with, and draft a Bill on, but  what was required from the state was a Bill that addresses that choices like Marriage, of when  and how to start a family and liberty of choosing whom to nurture one’s children with, is a basic right.

 

Notions about parenthood and the experiences and expectations from it are highly subjective and the State should respect that.

The new Bill prohibits a couple from opting for surrogacy if they already have a child- whether biological or adopted. While it’s great that the State encourages adoption in a way, it still cant shove that option down people’s throats.Birth of a child is often more than just an addition to the family. It addresses the constant need for couples to redefine and rejuvenate the relationship, to have one’s own being brought into the world and to feel responsible for someone in life. The new Bill is dictatorial in its approach and not empathetic in such a sensitive issue as it should be.

What’s the Way Out?

The State should focus on setting the legal parameters for commercial surrogacy to grow in India without exploiting the women involved in it. The National and State Surrogacy Boards should enable proper background check on surrogate mothers- their family, earning members, annual income, ensuring that there are mechanisms for a thorough physical and mental examination of the surrogates to determine if they have agreed to carry the child under some stress or not.

surrogacy

Channels for redressal of grievances should be established, along with a set compensation for the surrogate alongside medical expenses. That money is a powerful incentive cannot be forgotten and should be addressed rather than taken out of the picture itself. Sidelining the monetary aspects of surrogacy will only strengthen underground mediums for people to get what they want leading to a highly immoral and exploitative environment. Continue reading “Governing The Womb”

Book Review: 10 Judgements That Changed India

10 judgments

August 05,2016

 

Zia Mody who is in The Business Today’s Hall of Fame as one of India’s Most Powerful Businesswoman and also one of the renowned Corporate Lawyer has very beautifully come up with this book which has attracted numerous readers worldwide.

She is the daughter of Former Attorney-General of India , Mr. Soli J. Sorabjee. She used her extensive knowledge of the Indian Constitutional Law to present this book with full of insights about the Indian Judiciary. This book deals with the ten most important decisions taken by the Indian Judicial Department which have left significant impacts in India.

The forward of the book has been written by Soli J. Sorabjee where he writes “ THE JUDICIARY, At one time, was considered and projected to be the weakest branch of the star because it possessed neither power of the purse nor power of the sword. That myth has been demolished and the best evidence of it is the set of ten judgments that has been analysed and discussed in this book.” These words by Sorabjee says a lot about the book in very few words. In the prologue, Zia acknowledges that it had been a very tedious task to select landmark judgments but ended up choosing the cases which dealt with the distinct constitutional angle.

The book deals with diverse issues and those which have public concerns. Thus, it is dedicated to one and all. The book has several themes like reservations, custodial deaths, environmental jurisprudence but the central theme was to convey the readers that how the judiciary came to exist now with the immense powers from a point where it was considered as to be the weakest section of the Indian Administration. The book also deals with the powers of the judiciary and its significance.

Every case has been dissected into fragments and then analyzed deeply. Each case has an issue covered, detailed facts and figures, stories from both the parties, discusses number of cases leading to the title case, judgement and follows on cases which are equally significant as of the title case. For example, the first case of Kesavananda Bharati V. State of Kerala also covers the cases of Shankari Prasad, Sajjan Singh and Golak Nath. The chapter on Shah Bano judgement also covers Danial Latifi case which succeeded the title case.

Zia is a bold writer. She dares to call a spade a spade. From her writing we can feel that in few cases she was not happy with the court’s decision and she felt that the political influences had to do something with the judgement.

Although all the ten judgments are important and have special features of its own but my personal favorite is the very first chapter of the book. It deals with the judicial appointment and the independence of the judiciary. In this chapter, the author writes about the lack of transparency in judicial appointments. She critically examines the powers of the executive to appoint the judges. The other main theme of this chapter was the legal developments of the expansion of the legal jurisdiction. This case is also famous as “the Case that saved the Indian constitution.” It proved that the Supreme Court is indeed the protector of the Indian Constitution. The judiciary finally got it’s independence from the era of single-party dominance.

The lucid language and the easy flow of the book makes it a easy read. Each of the cases has been framed in a very structured format. Very clearly the laws are not only just have been mentioned but also described vividly which makes it famous among the non judicial individuals as well. Since the book revolves around the ten most important judgement that changed the outlook of world’s one of the longest but flexible constitution, therefore, I believe that every person should go through it once.

 

 

Honking – Boom! Boom!

why do people incessantly blow the horn?I have tried to mention some fallacies of honking.

by Megha Sharma(@megha0111)

“I do not understand why they beep too much”

On the way back to home, travelling in a cab, half asleep, when I hear the cars honking on and on. The signal just changed to orange and  they honk so impatiently as if the vehicle in front of them will never move. I asked my driver why was he honking continuously when he knows that the vehicle ahead of us can only move when the signal goes green. He says that he has inhibited the habit of blowing the horn. I think horns and accelerators are pressed altogether. Accelerators make them move continuously with assistance and horns let them move without resistance.

stock-vector-honk-vehicle-horn-driver-man-377435437

Drivers usually do not like applying brakes as it will break their momentum so they end up honking. They make sure that they are heard by others that their work is more important and they want to reach their destination earlier than anyone else on the roads. No matter what they are driving, a bike , a truck, a 4 wheeler or even  a rickshaw, they will honk unnecessarily. I suppose that horn is a more important unit in a vehicle than any other parts. Why even the side mirrors and dippers  provided in the vehicles when they are not used. Continue reading “Honking – Boom! Boom!”

Book Review: 10 Judgements that Changed India.

Zia Mody’s Book on Ten judgments that changed India, talks about 10 pivotal judgements that were responsible for a change in Indian judicial system. It describes how the 10 judgements were made, taking into the account of their historical background and socio-cultural circumstances. It is an authoritative writing yet it can be understood even by a lay person. It is a persuasive read for anyone who is interested to know about our legal system and its history.

Zia Mody who is an Indian legal consultant has succeeded in showing us that there is no supreme authority than the Supreme Court itself and they are the final interpreters of the law. No other institution can overrule them on their ultimate decision. Zia Mody has done a mammoth task of choosing such important judgement’s which have played an important role in one’s life.

All the judgements have explored vital themes like custodial deaths, right to life, reservation policies, environments jurisprudence, religious laws and soon and so forth. All the chapters have constitutional concepts explained in a modest way. It shows a journey of the evolution of Constitution post independence era of democracy and talks about the ultimate protector of constitution as Supreme Court.

The book starts off with the Keshavananda Bharti Case. This case was responsible in establishing the basic doctrine structure of India. This case also removed Right to Property from the crux of Fundamental Right. The basic structure doctrine propagated as a safeguard against the usurpation of Constitution. It has also explained that Parliament vote cannot undermine the fundamental rights granted by Constitution.

The Second case is about the expanding the meaning of right to life and personal liberty. The Olga Tellis case in the book brought in a new perspective of whether a person who has a right to live has a right to livelihood also.  It explains how the judiciary has evolved by directing the state to provide proactive policies for the needy people or destitute. It also showed the impact on an international forum.

One of the cases like Union Carbide Corporation case, the court has dealt with the issue seeking outside court’s help. It exposed the Achilles Heel of Indian Policies in those days. But the judgement brought about a change regarding the safety measures a company is compelled to undergo and any disaster which occurs must be compensated by them. But the question in this case arises when how the value of a human life is judged and compensated. It also brought an awareness regarding the environmental aspect, which was ignored till that time.

The most impressive part of this book is that it doesn’t directly give the resultant of the case, but explains the history of its precedents and how they were responsible in bringing about a change in the judgment. It describes the judgements happened in the past and how it helped the judges to amend them and give landmark judgments according to the present situation.

The case of Aruna Shanbaug dealt with whether the court should consider euthanasia as legal or not. Euthanasia is causing death of incurable or terminally ill patients. They reviewed the Section 309 and Section 306 which tells that attempt and abet to suicide is illegal. The precedents of this case started with Maruti Dubal case where the court agreed that there was nothing unnatural about the desire to die. It concluded that a person who commits suicide need treatment more than imprisonment.

In P.Rathinam case a question was raised regarding the constitutionality of penalising suicide. The court in this case, struck down Section 309 as being void and ineffectual.  This lasted till a case on Gian Kaur came to the forefront. The court amended its decision on Section 309 stating that constitutional right to life did not include right to die and henceforth Section 309 is constitutionally valid and effective. It highlighted the difference between the desirability of law and constitutionality of law. Due to Aruna Shanbaug case, passive euthanasia was declared as legal and only with the consent of family members and doctor’s report with certain guidelines.

The book also talks about how in the absence of Uniform Civil Code system, Law or the judiciary protected the rights of Muslim women. This was the case of Shah Bano, who was divorced from her husband and filed a petition for alimony from her husband. The Supreme Court made landmark judgement without hurting the religious sentiment of the people and guaranteed Rights to Muslim Women to claim their alimony under Code of Criminal Procedure or the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act. The author also emphasis on the Supreme Court becoming the protector of human rights as well.

Women were also the reason for some of the landmark decisions made by the Supreme Court. The cases which dealt with women issues were Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India case (1978); Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan Case (1997); Shah Bano vs. Mohammed Ahmed Khan (1985) Case and Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug vs. Union of India Case. Women acted as central figures in moulding the judgements of India.

The myth that judiciary is powerless in front of the Parliament has been broken down through these judgements. The cases and the judgements are presented in such a manner that a layperson who is not aware of our legal structure can easily comprehend by reading it. The rights which we enjoy today are resultant of some of these judgments. It has a profound impact on the democracy of India. It recognises the independence and importance of judiciary in a democratic nation. Each case has its own Constitutional angle. It is a must read book for anyone who desires to know about the evolution of Indian legal system, history of the laws prevailing in present day and the implication and importance of the Supreme Court as the Ultimate Interpreter of the Indian Constitution.