Bombay Vs. Mumbai

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We’re talking about two names of the same city. A city that has gone metamorphoses like none other; almost. From a separated group of seven islands to one of the biggest cities in the world, this city has seen it all, shown it all.

In 1782, a colonial project united all the seven islands into one, and in 1995 a political party—a parallel Government—changed it to end the colonial legacy. For many the old name is an emotion and the new name is just a city. My views are radical.

Although, I was born in Bombay, and all my certificate till college bear that name, I love to be in Mumbai more than ever. Bombay was the beginning, Mumbai is work-in-progress. I sowed many seeds—of life—in Bombay that I am reaping in Mumbai. Many dreams I decorated in Bombay got fulfilled in Mumbai.

Bombay gave me the shelter, Mumbai gave me an independent home. Bombay gave me girlfriends, Mumbai gave me wife. Bombay gave me the thrills of standing in long queue at a telephone booth and talking for hours with the One Rupee coins, Mumbai gave me mobile phone. Bombay gave me parents, Mumbai took them both away.

It was in Bombay when it was considered an achievement to get phone number of a female college mate and it’s in Mumbai that women share their phone number before asking. Times have changed and so has meaning of happiness and success—in the same city. I was a student in Bombay, I am a teacher in Mumbai, I was a reader in Bombay, I am a writer in Mumbai, I was lost in Bombay and I was found in Mumbai.

But, many-many things are still the same—the deadly rush in local trains, the street food, the spirit, the traffic, the dirty roads, the stock market, the blame game, the hole on roads, the holes in the red-light area, the leaders, the blind followers, the zombie citizens, the ever decreasing green cover, the ever increasing slums etc. So much, still the same and will be.

What’s in a name? I don’t really know. Maybe too much or maybe nothing. But one things is for sure that I was born in Bombay, growing up in Mumbai and who knows where will it end in? Both names are sides of same coin. In fact, they’re not opposite but rather complementary—one completes another.

Flag Code Of India

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The Indian flag code is a set of laws that govern the usage of the Flag of India. The Bureau of Indian Standards is the authority which governs and enforces the manufacture and correct usage of the flag according to the certain standards issued in three sets of documents. The standards were created in 1968 and thereafter updated in 2008.

The Flag Code of India has been divided into three parts:

  1. General description of the National Flag.
  2. Display of the National Flag by members of public, private organizations and educational institutions etc.
  3. Display of National Flag by central or state Governments and their organizations and agencies.

The National flag of India is officially described in the Flag Code of India as follows:

The color of the top panel shall be India saffron and that of the bottom panel shall be India green. The middle panel shall be white, bearing at its center the design of Ashoka Chakra in navy blue color with 24 equally spaced spokes.

It was adopted in its present form during a meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on 22 July 1947, when it became the official flag of the Dominion of India. The flag was subsequently retained as that of the Republic of India. In India, the term tricolor i.e. तिरंगा almost always refers to the Indian national flag.

Khadi is the only material allowed to be used for the flag, and flying a flag made of any other material is punishable by law with imprisonment up to three years, besides a fine. Raw materials for Khadi are restricted to cotton, silk and wool. The guidelines also state that there should be exactly 150 threads per square centimeter, four threads per stitch, and one square foot should weigh exactly 205 grams.

The flag should never be used as a cloth to cover tables, lecterns, podiums or buildings, or be draped from railings. Whenever the flag is displayed indoors in halls at public meetings or gatherings of any kind, it should always be on the right i.e. observers’ left, as this is the position of authority. So, when the flag is displayed next to a speaker in the hall or other meeting place, it must be placed on the speaker’s right hand. When it is displayed elsewhere in the hall, it should be to the right of the audience. The flag should be displayed completely spread out with the saffron stripe on top. The flag, when carried in a procession or parade or with another flag or flags, should be on the marching right or alone in the center at the front. Those present in uniform should render the appropriate salute. The flag salutation should be followed by the playing of the national anthem.

The privilege of flying the national flag on vehicles is restricted to the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Governors and Lieutenant Governors of states, Chief Minister, Union Ministers, members of the Parliament of India and state legislatures of the Indian states judges of the Supreme Court of India and High Courts, and flag officers of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The flag has to be flown from a staff affixed firmly either on the middle front or to the front right side of the car. The flag should be flown on the aircraft carrying the President, the Vice-President or the Prime Minister on a visit to a foreign country. Alongside the National Flag, the flag of the country visited should also be flown; however, when the aircraft lands in countries en route, the national flags of the respective countries would be flown instead. When carrying the President within India, aircraft display the flag on the side the President embarks or disembarks; the flag is similarly flown on trains, but only when the train is stationary or approaching a railway station.

The flag should be flown at half-mast as a sign of mourning. The decision to do so lies with the President of India, who also decides the period of such mourning. When the flag is to be flown at half mast, it must first be raised to the top of the mast and then slowly lowered. Only the Indian flag is flown half-mast; all other flags remain at normal height. The flag is flown half-mast nationwide on the death of the President, Vice-president or Prime Minister.

 

RaddiConnect: Mumbai’s First Recycling Based Fundraising Platform

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RaddiConnect wants to make it simple. They provide a door-to-door service that allows institutions, organizations, and households to dispose of their recyclables through a friendly, reliable, and fair process. They want to empower their customers to play a part in helping the environment, all while saving time and effort along the way.

The team works with local scrap collectors from all over Mumbai. These unsung heroes of the waste collection industry are integral to the chain of sustainability. By facilitating a connection between these waste collection entrepreneurs and our affiliated NGOs, we provide a means for creating tangible social and environmental change.

Our vision of India is not just one of clean streets and breathable air, but also of sustainable waste solutions that are on par with the rest of the developed world. Raunaq Singh Shani, Co-founder.

Now more than ever, there is a need for practical recycling solutions that can reduce the environmental strain brought about by our increasingly saturated landfills and waste systems. RaddiConnect aims to organize the scattered scrap market and provide the right training and guidance to their representatives in order to foster an awareness of recycling that allows the people of Mumbai to benefit from a cleaner and greener environment. Their customers can donate the proceeds from their recyclables to any one of their affiliated NGOs, and in doing so contribute to the brighter and more sustainable future that we are all striving towards.

Their mission is to bring about a two-fold platform that simultaneously works to uplift scrap collectors and provide individuals and corporations with a simple and reliable outlet for either selling or donating their recyclable waste.

From Internet To Innernet: A Unique Ecosystem

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Nipun Mehta is the founder of ServiceSpace, an incubator of projects that works at the intersection of volunteerism, technology and gift-economy. What started as an experiment with 4 friends in the Silicon Valley has now grown to a global ecosystem of over 500,000 members that has delivered millions of dollars in service for free. He has received many awards, including the Jefferson Award for Public Service, Wavy Gravy’s Humanitarian award, and Dalai Lama’s Unsung Hero of Compassion. In 2015, President Barack Obama appointed him to a council on poverty and inequality. He is routinely invited to share his message of Giftivism to wide ranging audiences.

In January 2005, Nipun and his wife, put everything aside to embark on an open-ended, unscripted walking pilgrimage in India—use our hands to do random acts of kindness, our heads to profile inspiring people, and our hearts to cultivate truth. Living on a dollar a day, eating wherever food was offered, sleeping wherever a flat surface was found, and the couple walked 1,000 kilometers before ending up at a retreat center, where they meditated for three months. He shared his experience with me in an exclusive interview:

Who are you?
Since Dec 31 of 1975, I have been called Nipun Mehta. As such, science tells me I’m 99.9% empty space and 0.1% vibration in constant flux. So, technically, I am seeker of an answer to this very question.

What have you done in life?
In junior high, I had a paper route. By high school age, my goal in life was to either become a tennis pro or a Himalayan Yogi. My 17th year transformed me in ways I can’t describe in a sentence. After that, I got a degree from UC Berkeley in Computer Science and Philosophy. A job at Sun Microsystems in my third year of college gave me more money than I needed. So, I started to give it away. As money ran out, I started to give time; and as time ran out, I gave myself. By 1999, those experiments in gifting birthed ServiceSpace that has now mushroomed into an ecosystem of 500,000 members.

What was the pilgrimage about?
6 months into our marriage, my wife and I embarked on an open-ended walking pilgrimage across India to use our hands to do random acts of kindness, use our heads to profile inspiring people, and use our hearts to cultivate truth. We ate whatever food was offered and slept wherever place was offered. After 1,000 kilometers, we ended up at a monastery where we mostly meditated for the next three months. That whole year radically deepened the values with which we wanted to carry ourselves. We survived on gift economy.

What is Gift Economy?
In a gift economy, goods and services are given without any strings attached; it is an economic system where it is the circulation of the gifts within the community that leads to increase in connections, increase in relationship strength; in this context, hoarding actually decreases wealth. At its core, gift-economy is a shift from consumption to contribution, transaction to trust, scarcity to abundance, and isolation to community.

How is that different from just philanthropy?
Gift economy is an ecosystem of sustenance where you are taken care, not by earning your keep, but by doing small acts of kindness and trusting that what goes around will eventually come around. Philanthropy, kindness and compassion are some of the values of that ecosystem.

How does it actually work?
Imagine a restaurant where there are no prices on the menu and where the check reads 0.00 with only this footnote: Your meal was a gift from someone who came before you. We hope you will pay-it-forward however you wish. That’s gift economy. Our initial response might be, “Wait, that can’t work. People will just take and not give anything.” In practice, though, it’s quite the opposite – such restaurants actually work. If you have the commitment to give long enough, inevitably there’s comes a point in time when the recipient’s cup of gratitude overflows and a pay-it-forward spirit arises naturally. There is a restaurant named Seva Cafe in Ahmedabad that runs on this philosophy.

Is this is a new idea?
Not at all. In fact, it’s an ancient idea. Native Americans in the West, Bushmen tribes of the Kalahari Desert in Africa, monastic traditions of the East, and perhaps all indigenous cultures around the world were rooted in the gift-economy.

What are your fundamental guiding principles?
Be volunteer run. Don’t fund raise— friend raise. Think small.

How can we work together?
Tag someone with a Smile Card, sit in silence on a Wednesday, sign up for DailyGood, volunteer on a ServiceSpace project, start a gift-economy endeavor, host public event with everyday heroes, or simply do an act of service that makes you come alive. In serving others, we’ll find ways to stay connected.

Homeschooling: The New Age Learning Tool

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Homeschooling is an educational method and philosophy that advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning. Homeschooling students learn through their natural life experiences including play, household responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, internships and work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, mentors, and social interaction. It encourages exploration of activities initiated by the children themselves, believing that the more personal learning is, the more meaningful, well-understood and therefore useful it is to the child. While courses may occasionally be taken, home-schooling questions the usefulness of standard curricula, conventional grading methods, and other features of traditional schooling in maximizing the education of each unique child.

While homeschooling has been subject to widespread public debate, little media attention has been given to homeschooling in particular. Critics of homeschooling see it as an extreme educational philosophy, with concerns that homeschooled children will lack the social skills, structure, and motivation of their peers, while proponents of homeschooling say exactly the opposite is true: self-directed education in a natural environment better equips a child to handle the real world.

Traditional home-schooling generally involves children following the same structured curriculum taught in schools, but from the comfort of their own homes, and at their own pace. Urmila Samson, Senior Guide at Indian Association of Homeschoolers.

Philosophy:

  • Children are natural learners: A fundamental premise of homeschooling is that curiosity is innate and that children want to learn. From this an argument can be made that institutionalizing children in a so-called “one size fits all” or “factory model” school is an inefficient use of the children’s time, because it requires each child to learn a specific subject matter in a particular manner, at a particular pace, and at a specific time regardless of that individual’s present or future needs, interests, goals, or any pre-existing knowledge he or she might have about the topic.
  • Learning styles: Homeschoolers note that psychologists have documented many differences between children in the way they learn, and assert that homeschooling is better equipped to adapt to these differences. People vary in their learning styles, that is, how they acquire new information. Students have different learning needs. In a traditional school setting, teachers seldom evaluate an individual student differently from other students, and while teachers often use different methods, this is sometimes haphazard and not always with regard to an individual student.
  • Developmental differences: Developmental psychologists note that just as children reach growth milestones at different ages from each other, children are also prepared to learn different things at different ages. Just as some children learn to walk during a normal range of eight to fifteen months, and begin to talk across an even larger range, homeschoolers assert that they are also ready and able to read, for example, at different ages, girls usually earlier, boys later. Traditional education requires all children to begin reading at the same time and do multiplication at the same time; they believe that some children cannot help but be bored because this was something that they had been ready to learn earlier, and even worse, some children cannot help but fail, because they are not yet ready for this new information being taught.
  • The role of parents: Parents of homeschoolers provide resources, support, guidance, information, and advice to facilitate experiences that aid their children in accessing, navigating, and making sense of the world common parental activities include sharing interesting books, articles, and activities with their children, helping them find knowledgeable people to explore an interest with and helping them set goals and figure out what they need to do to meet their goals. Homeschooling’s interest-based nature does not mean that it is a hands-off approach to education.
  • Socialization: Concerns about socialization are often a factor in the decision to homeschool. Many homeschoolers believe that the conditions common in conventional schools, like age segregation, a low ratio of adults to children, a lack of contact with the community, a lack of people in professions other than teachers or school administration, an emphasis on the smarter children, shaming of the failing children, and an emphasis on sitting, create an unhealthy social environment.

Homeschooling in India:

  • स्वशिक्षण – Indian Association of Homeschoolers is a non-profit initiative of homeschooling children, parents, guardians and friends. The members of this association include homeschoolers residing in India, irrespective of nationality and homeschoolers of Indian origin, irrespective of location.
  • Swaraj University is India’s first university dedicated to regenerating local cultures, local economies and local ecologies.
  • Alternate Education India is an online resource that provides a list of some alternative schools in India.

Green Innovation: Making Paper From Elephant-Rhino Dung

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The paper is natural, tree free, waste based, sustainable, pH neutral and odour-free!

Elrhino dung paper is made by the families who live around the forests of Assam. They share their home with rhinos, elephants and a variety of diverse flora and fauna. They engage these indigenous folks to roam the woods and collect rhino and elephant poo, as well as leaves, grass, bark, and other forest materials. By combining dung, natural fibers, and forest materials to make paper, we help to reduce deforestation and save energy. They take pride in using an assortment of grass, jute, water hyacinth, pineapple bark, local ahimsa silk, vegetable inks, ferns, flowers, betel nuts, turmeric, tea leaves and dead tree bark to embellish our products.

COMPARED WITH USING VIRGIN WOOD, THE PROCESS CONSUMES 44% LESS ENERGY, PRODUCES 38% LESS GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS, 41% LESS PARTICULATE EMISSIONS, 50% LESS WASTE AND 100% LESS WOOD.

All in an effort to protect the forest, its animals and the people that depend on it for their survival.

 

Man With A Mission—Limb For Life

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There are many people in India who lose their limb is some accident. When a person becomes an amputee, they are faced with staggering emotional and financial lifestyle changes.  Fortunately, high tech prosthetic devices that restore a person’s basic skills and independence are available. Unfortunately, many amputees lack the financial resources to obtain adequate prosthetic care.

Mission:

LIMB FOR LIFE initiative by Mumbai based NGO Yuvak Prathishtan. It’s is a new hope, a new vision, a new chapter. Under this mission, the NGO provides free advanced-electronic prosthetic limbs to amputees who cannot afford it.

 Objective:

  • Provide a financial bridge between low-income amputees and the quality prosthetic care needed to restore their lives.
  • Provide fully-functional prosthetic care for individuals who cannot otherwise afford it and raising awareness of the challenges facing amputees.

 Process:

  • After an amputee approaches the NGO, they do a thorough research on what type of limb is required.
  • The documented research is sent to the manufacturer; in Germany.
  • The manufacturer makes the limb – on made to order basis.
  • The limb reaches the amputee in approximately 2 months; at no cost whatsoever.

About the NGO:

Yuvak Prathishtan, founded by Member of Parliament Dr. Kirit Somaiya (Mumbai north-east) in 1980, is committed to create awareness and social, economic, environmental and public health related issues to the society at large.

The mission is led by Neil Somaiya who is a socio-political activist and one of those who are trying to make a change. As a socio-political activist, he has taken up several projects to encourage the youth on various subjects like education, saving electricity, cleanliness, sanitation, health and national pride.