society

August 2017 Thinking practice – Thoughts on everything & nothing – Regularly updated

14th August 2017 Versova Beach clean-up Afroz Shah, a feted UN Earth Champion once again led a clean-up effort at Versova beach. Our Prime minister has already lauded him for his extraordinary work. Many clean-up efforts have been inspired by his initiative. In Versova, since the past year 4000 tons of garbage has been collected. The beach was made sparkling clean and again defiled, and has again been cleaned. Afroz is not dispirited by having to do the clean-up act all over again. As a society, we ought to think deeper. When the dirt and the filth stare us in the face, the first question has to be, “How can we clean up our beaches and public places?” The ultimate question then has to be, ” How can prevent our beaches and public places from getting dirty in the first place?” In the West, the civic society was grappling with the poor state of animal shelters. Abandoned pets were arriving at a higher rate. The first question they asked was, ” How can we improve the state of our animal…

July 2017 Thinking practice – thoughts on everything & nothing – Regularly updated

30th July 2017 Ghaktopar building collapse : No guidance on how to prevent a recurrence A four storey building collapsed in Ghatkopar, Mumbai on 25th July. 17 people lost their lives. Dangerous renovation that tampered with the structural foundation was the cause. The person who initated this work brushed aside any objections of residents because he was politically connected. The sad part about the coverage is that not enough focus is seen in informing people how to handle similar situations in the future. Two questions. Where do we complain if we think somebody is going about building repairs unmindful of structural safety? What is to be done if we want to check the safety of our building? No starting answers available in this information age. From reading, what I understood is that every five years, a structural engineer should be roped in to audit an old building. Checked the BMC website. Why can’t it be responsive to what is happening, unearth critical information as guidance for citizens and share it as a pop-up? An FAQ feature would have been great.…

Spotlight on ‘Spotlight’ – The ‘Best Picture’ Oscar winner

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter – Martin Luther King Jr A newspaper deals in stories. Are there stories and matters that an entire community becomes silent about- newspaper included? Yes, there are. Spotlight, based on actual events, is one such story. The story envelops the very city and community that the newspaper marks out as its own turf by calling itself ‘ The Boston Globe.’ And it goes on to reveal how we inflict the conspiracy of silence on ourselves – as an organization and as a community. The conspiracy of silence & cover-up In the summer of 2001,a new editor at the Boston Globe leans on its four-member investigative report team, known as ‘Spotlight’ to dig deeper into a story written by an in-house columnist. A lawyer has charged that the Archbishop of Boston knew a priest was sexually abusing children but did nothing about it. As the Spotlight team starts investigating, they realize that this one case is just the tip of the iceberg. An expanding probe uncovers acts of wrong-doing and non-doing by institutions like the church and…

Waking Up before a Crisis : What Every Citizen Can Learn from the Chennai Floods

Chennai is flooded with water. Chennai is also flooded with warmth. People are reaching out and helping each other. A crisis brings us together. Together, there need not be a crisis. If we pull together beforehand, we can prevent a crisis or limit the damage.Provided we think, plan, and do the right things. What are they? One by One. Thinking : Thinking what?  A good start would be to clear our minds. Get this : “Nobody ever gets credit for fixing problems that never happened” Would you agree? There is no fame and glory waiting for us. No distractions. Clarity of purpose. We do it for ourselves. Next, ask, ” In what way are we contributing to the problem?” Yes, we must think that! The problem begins in how we perceive our role as citizens in governance.We believe that casting a vote is the only thing to do. Who cares about things going wrong in between elections? We patiently await the next polls. Meanwhile, vested interests continue causing irreversible damage to our habitats. They pass laws and undertake actions, all of them leading to polluting…