Sounds funny, does it? But these plaintive cries (nay wails) are reverberating in every nook and corner of Lucknow these days, whose citizens are going to elect their mayor and 110 corporators on June 23, 2012. As per newspaper reports, the city is divided into six zones and 110 wards. 10% (11) of these wards are reserved for scheduled castes (SC). Of this, 4 are reserved for women belonging to SC category. Similarly, out of the 22 wards of the city reserved for other backward castes (OBCs), in 8 of them only female OBC candidates can contest the local bodies' election. Another 25 wards are reserved solely for women candidates to test their political acumen. Thus, in effect, a total of 37 seats are reserved for women.

Almost all of the women candidates in the election fray are united in their efforts to project themselves as someone’s wife, mother or sister. Their campaign slogans as well as posters unashamedly announce/ portray their male protectors’ identity. Going by these posters it would appear as if it is illegal for an un-chaperoned woman to contest elections. One is tempted to believe that the election commission has made it mandatory for all candidates to mention the names of their spouses too. But then I search in vain for the poster of a male candidate meekly acknowledging that he is so and so’s husband, but cannot find any.  So it seems that men are trying to grab elections seats reserved for females by shamelessly putting up proxy candidates in the garb of their wives, who readily accepting to become the sacrificial goat. I wonder if this situation is endemic to the city of nawabs or a general malaise spread across the state of Uttar Pradesh.

What sort of expectations can one have from these women leaders who do not even have the courage to uphold their own identity, let alone exercise their rights? It is indeed a mockery of the entire process of reserving seats for this under privileged section of society, when all that it has done is to make them puppets whose strings are controlled by their husbands. The town is pasted red with posters and hoardings showing a demure female alongside a forbidding looking male. What a grotesque travesty of our democracy!

It is sad to see all talks and action on gender equality go down the drain, and there seems no point of reserving seats for women, if women candidates have to have the names and photos of their husbands alongside theirs in election propaganda. To me it is a pathetic situation which makes a mockery of all our efforts aimed at wresting equal rights for women. Women themselves are basking under the patriarchal veil of society which is suffocating them and depriving them of the live giving winds of change sweeping across the world.

Women apart, the city of Lucknow these days is working itself up to a state of lunatic frenzy as the date of municipal corporation elections draws near. The maddening cacophony has overshadowed even the last assembly polls campaigning. In total violation of the election code of conduct, posters and handbills are finding their way to every nook and corner of any conceivable space, including boundary walls of houses, pillars, gates and even wind shields of parked cars. Even the authorities seem to be unable in enforcing the regulations strictly—whether it is the blatant pasting of posters and/or over exceeding the time limit of use of blaring loudspeakers by the contestants for selling their wares of false promises.

When I expressed my resentment to one of candidates for pasting his name’s graffiti on my residence wall, he said that it was his well-wishers who were doing it despite his instructions to the contrary. Well, this is hardly a plausible excuse. It is these so called well-wishers/fans who create a situation like the emperor’s new clothes (for the uninitiated this a short story by Hans Christian Andersen about two weavers who swindle an Emperor by promising to make a new dress for him that is invisible to those who are stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades naked before his sycophant subjects in his new invisible clothes, each one tries to outdo the others in praising his attire, till a child, in all his innocence, cries out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!"). This breed of well-wishers, along with the clones of the emperor, still roam the streets of a democracy (or is it sycophancy) called India.

It is good to see that the government has put up big posters at vantage points of the city, urging the citizens to exercise their franchise. But it would have been better to display in public the rules of code of conduct, so that the public is at least made aware of the existing norms, and the candidates, along with their supporters, do not get any chance to hide behind the veil of ignorance. If only the flouting of any election norm by the candidates (or their supporters) would immediately disqualify them from standing for elections, then it would surely instil some sense of moral discipline in them, and the flock of their ignorant well-wishers would vanish.

It is high time women realized that their marital status has got nothing to do with their ability to govern. If at all, it has got to do everything with their disability to not govern. So all ye girls out there, it is high time to throw away the crutches of your husband’s name and status and stand on your own two feet. Else you will forever remain lame and never be able to walk straight. Amen! (CNS)

Shobha Shukla – CNS


Seashell collectors, snorkelers and scuba divers do not understand the risk while touching or collecting few marine animals on shore or in shallow waters.

Generally, people think that snails are slow-moving creatures or a tasty food and they do not harm or have strength to hurt human.

But, one family of snails have the speed and deadliness of a tricky fighter-the cone snails.

Cone snails are cone-shaped with beautiful colored outer shell. In Andaman and Nicobar Islands 51 species of cone snails are reported till now.  All of them are venomous and few are deadly.

Maximum population of these snails occurs from the shore to shallow inter-tidal region.

Cone snails have a venom gland and hollow needle like tooth to hunt its food.  It shoots the venom filled tooth aiming its prey that is similar to a handgun mechanism. As soon as the needle hits the prey it becomes immobile.

Some species have also killed many amateur sea shell collectors and divers who have carelessly handled these snails.

The venom is a neuro-toxin and affects the nervous system within seconds. Symptoms shows strong pain followed by paralysis and respiratory and cardiac failure.

Species like Conus geographus that are present in Andaman and Nicobar waters could kill a human in 5 minutes. Till now there is no anti-venom.

So, children in this summer vacation, when you play on sea shores avoid picking cone snails. Sea shell collectors and divers be careful in collecting this beautiful cone snails. Pick up the snails only by the broad end. The ancestors of local fisher folk use to advise their generations to shake-well a sea shell when you pick so, it cannot quickly hurt you due to instant stress.

- Dr. J. Benjamin Franklin, Scientist, NIOT, Dollygunj, Port Blair 

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It is said that “Human brain” is the most outstanding object in the world. It functions 24 hours a day, say 365 days a year. It functions right from the time we are born and stop only when we enter the examination hall”. Is this is what happening with you during your exams? Check out why? Competition has become an inseparable part of our lives and it is the fear of this competition that leaves us feeling unhappy, paranoid and worried. The fear of being put to test can be quite stressful for many people. This affects them adversely and they fail to perform to the best of their ability. Students whose attitude towards education is negative have mostly scored less or average marks while students who enjoy studying have always topped the class or been among the toppers. That’s why; thinking about studies as dull, boring, hard, etc. will only add more difficulties in your learning process. Love your studies, the way you love your favorite music or sports. Give it the same attention and passion. After all, studies give you a qualifying degree, eligibility for job, a means to earn money and fame, independence, ability to bring up your family in future, a respectable place in the society and an opportunity to make your life more meaningful and useful.  
However, some positive steps may help students cut out the stress. Here are some simple tips to help you overcome that needless fear of what’s called “exam fever”.
Many a time students are advised to prepare a Time Table and follow it regularly. However, very few follow this advice and as a result, a fortnight before the exams they find themselves in deep waters. In such a situation, it will be helpful if the student identifies which subjects/papers/topics are hard to deal with but are essential from the exam point of view. Every night just before going to sleep, you should go through those difficult topics and the next morning, revise them. This should be done everyday, till the exams commence. If this practice is followed for at least two weeks, there will be remarkable progress and you’ll gain confidence.
A revision timetable can be one of the most valuable tools available in the run-up to exams. Preparing a timetable creates a visual plan that will show you clearly how you are going to cover all of the topics that need to be included in your revision.
A good revision during exam time will surely relax your mind and helps you to avoid unnecessary exam stress. So prepare a special strategy for course revision and prepare special short revision type notes. Plan your revision schedule as early as possible and follow the same honestly and keep reviewing it and make necessary changes as and when necessary. This would definately help you to deal with lengthy course and improve your revision strategy. Select chapters as per your strength and gain tremendous confidence by practicing more & more questions. Just follow your revision schedule strictly.
Stress actually is contagious. During exam week, resist the urge to have a study session with your super-tensed friend, especially if he/she’s complaining about all the work she has to do and breaking pencils all over the place. His/Her stress will only add to your stress.
Practise deep breathing, meditation and yoga as forms of relaxation. They help your body relax and reduce stress. Alternately, take a brisk walk in fresh air after your day's revision is over. Rest is just as important as revision so make sure you get plenty of sleep. "Try to go to bed at the same time every night and get into a routine. "You should also cut down on caffeine, alcohol and other drugs to help you get a proper night's sleep."
Avoid junk foods, especially avoid meat, fried foods, chocolates and soft drinks etc. Drink lots and lots of water. It's good for you. It helps your mind to think better.
Whether you agree with it or not, exam-taking is a fundamental part of education and being well prepared for taking them is of massive importance. Start early, spread out your workload and try to stay relaxed during the whole process. A bit of careful planning goes a long way, and if you are methodical and organized you will find the whole process much easier. If you believe in God, pray before you start studying. Prayer will help you increase confidence; reduce your stress as well. Exams are just to assess your preparation. So just relax, it is not the end of the world if you do not fair well in them. You’re you, so you can only do the best you can.

Bency Joy
PHd Scholar in Psychology
GSSS Sabari Jn, Rangat


The Andaman and Nicobar Islands has been known for its rich diverse and endemic flora and fauna, its thick and varied forest types, its coral reefs with high biodiversity indexes have been well documented for their conservation values. But there never has been a wetland of sizable importance in these islands. The only wetlands have been the numerous mangrove creeks in both Andaman and Nicobar island groups.  A contiguous wetland ecosystem has never been a part of the island bio-geography.

This changed with the boxing day tsunami and the earthquake which caused it on 26th Dec 2004, tectonic forces had changed the shore profile of the islands and the invading sea which had claimed a sizable chunk of agricultural land at Sippighat and the surrounding villages of Taylorabad, Garacharma, Attam Pahad never retreated creating a wetland here in these lowlands. Spanning a vast area, these wetlands are best described as separate water bodies and marsh lands comprising of several connected blocks of different eco-types in different stages of ecological succession, some being of shallow & medium depths colonized by reeds, marshes, mangroves and mangrove associates while some are deep water blocks with breeding fish stocks.  Being connected with the sea results in daily tidal flushing, bringing in nutrients and fresh fish stock to this wetlands, while fresh water inflow occurs during both the NE & SW Monsoons to this water-body making it a dynamic ecosystem. 

Known as the Sippighat wetlands this site today is a rich and evolving wetland ecosystem. The current status of the Sippighat wetlands is that it stands on revenue & private land holdings.  The conservation value of these wetlands can be easily judged by resident and migratory water fowl as well as raptors which have started colonizing these wetlands, its proximity to Port Blair and ease in accessibility ensure it being a must-visit birding spot in the itineraries of both amateur and serious bird watchers. This ease however also attracts local hunters who have been frequenting this site for hunting the Lesser Whistling & the endemic Andaman Teal inhabiting these wetlands.  

Wetlands have very short nutrient cycles and thus are one of the most dynamic ecosystems easily colonized by biota and just as easily can become waste lands as a result of mismanagement. Being recently formed it has yet to be colonized by heronries and that day might not be far away if these wetlands are protected and managed properly.       

This wetland is a potential Ramsar site being a habitat for endemic species like the Andaman Teal. It could be a good conservation success story if proper steps are taken for its management.

There is a real and urgent need to study and document the ecosystem of these wetlands so that a conservation policy can be framed for its protection and management. A well-managed Sippighat Wetlands could be a high value tourist destination, involving the local community in its protection and management would generate a sense of ownership among the community itself making it a wonderful success story creating new bench marks in conservation.

- Amlan Dutta (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)  

Disclaimer: The views expressed are the writer’s own.

Discipline and Education are the two major components involved in the process of any kind of teaching learning situation. The goal of Education is to help people use their minds better to think about what’s true in the world and what’s not true, what’s beautiful and what may not so qualify, what’s ethical and what’s not. For any type of learning, discipline is must and a pre requisite. Discipline in any sense should not be considered as something rigid and rude as commonly perceived by everyone. 

Discipline is referred to systematic instruction given to disciples to train them as students in a craft or trade, or to follow a particular code of conduct or "order". Often, the phrase "to discipline" carries a negative connotation. This is because enforcement of order – that is, ensuring instructions are carried out – is often regulated through punishment. “The word discipline comes from the Latin word disciplina, meaning ‘teaching, learning.’ Discipline shares a common root with the word disciple: ‘one who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of another’”

Discipline may be treated as a tool required in the proper management of all aspects that are conductive for a perfect teaching learning environment. A good and nurturing environment is very much required to have a positive learning to occur. It is the prime duty of a teacher to mould his students in a positive manner so that they can excel in life with exceptional capabilities and skills. Discipline is required in every activity one indulges in since the morning to one retires for the night. Discipline is the only path which can lead an individual to a bright future.

Some of our greatest fears as parents, teachers and mentors that surround discipline is that how much is enough? How harsh is too harsh? Am I helping, or somehow making things worse? Psychological researches suggest that being successful with discipline means looking at discipline as teaching, and not as a punishment. Discipline is not about getting students to do what a teacher/mentor want them to do. That's what dictators do, and a teacher/mentor is not a dictator. Discipline is providing an environment in which positive teaching and positive learning can occur simultaneously. Discipline is not a control from the outside; it's an order from within. Nature is the best mirror of perfect discipline to all of us. The earth, the sun, the moon and other planets are governed by certain laws to maintain perfect harmony and beauty. Any deviation from these set rules, will spell an utter disaster in nature.

Discipline is necessary for both the teacher and the taught in a teaching learning atmosphere. A good teacher has a great responsibility of keeping a high image of his personality in the society. He can't do it unless he maintains an intellectual and more discipline of a high order. No student will obey and respect an indisciplined teacher, however high may be his knowledge. Similarly only a serious and self disciplined student achieves something worth in the life. Students who are not disciplined,  just wander here and there, waste away their precious time and energy in useless activities and later on repent in life. They soon learnt that there is no shortcut to success and it is only through consistent hard work and self discipline that they can achieve their objective in life.

Discipline is not only desirable but indispensable. Absence of discipline in teaching learning atmosphere means decay. To prevent decay, discipline has to be imposed. Discipline is essential for the success and development of a child and It is the only key to success. A teacher/mentor should be able to shape and mold the young minds of students' with discipline  and an approach  to remind them of how important they are to the society and that their future will depend how they adjust to different situations. When the teachers in ancient India taught their students, it was their trust and belief in the teachers and the discipline shown by the students that learning was possible even through the word of mouth. The core values still remain in the modern days, although more technicalities have permeated the manner in which students learn nowadays.

Our present system of Education stresses much for value based education, but the absence of discipline is seen everywhere which will fetch only bitter consequences. It depends on all of us to think that where we are going …Whether in the right or wrong path.


Bency Joy


PhD scholar in Psychology