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Saturday, 21 February 2015

Diary of an inquisitive teen- Cricket and Baseball

Cricket and Baseball

January 16, 2015
Mesa, Arizona (USA)

It has been 5 months since I came to the States and now I feel that I’ll never be back home again, because part of my heart will always be here roaming around in the land of the 5 C’s and the grand hole. Oh, I haven’t visited the Grand Canyon yet. Anyways, it’s on my calendar. I have much on my plate of life to taste giving me a life lesson very often. It comes with the necessity of managing the limited amount of time which is yet another skill needed to succeed.
So, the spring semester in school has started with the chilly mornings and the Mondays everyone hates. I went hiking to the Superstition Mountains when it was snowing over there and it was incredible to touch real snow in my life for the first time probably. Cactus and Snow alongside seem to be a paradox for people; but everything is possible in Arizona.
Snow and Cactus! It's Arizona, baby!
I just started volunteering at the i.d.e.a. museum and it’s really fun to engage with the kids and learn from them. The “oh-so-happy” moment for me recently was the news of my selection to the Civic Education Workshop at Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. from 22 to 28 this month. This opportunity will provide me with a more profound understanding of the American system of governance and civic participation.

Arizona is beautiful

The most amazing thing I am dying to tell you is that we had Lochy from Australia staying with us for two weeks. He was here on an educational travel exchange between Mountain View and his school back home. It was an indelible experience; for our house had become an international conference with delegates from India, Australia and of course, the United States. Lochy went to school with me for a day and everyone there was blown away with the fact that a foreign exchange student was hosting one another one. I had a hard time understanding his accent and quite often, I misunderstood his "A" for "I". Now, let me tell you a fact most Americans don't recognize- Everyone in the world has an accent for some person from another part of the globe. 
Mountain View High School, Mesa Basketball game People in picture: From Right Patrick White, Me, Toro Mascot, Lochy, Brandon

Being "Australian" and "Indian", we shared a common interest in cricket. Cricket is Australia's national sport. It's India's national pastime just like baseball is of United States. To give you an idea of our love for cricket, it is often referred to as the religion of the Indian subcontinent.  Cricket World Cup, which takes place every four years, is the third most watched TV event after Olympics and FIFA world cup. The 2015 world cup would kickstart soon in the Australian continent. The Indian Cricket Team is defending their champion title this year. Lochy brought me a related souvenir, the official T-shirt of the event.
ICC Cricket World Cup official T-shirt in USA!
If you are not at all familiar with Cricket which might be the case, it's a bat-and-ball game like baseball to give you an idea. If you are someone from India reading this, you might not be knowing about baseball. Both have their own unique styles of playing and they share similarities as well quite contrasting differences. Unlike the cute shape of a baseball field which is like a pie ready to be served, cricket grounds are elliptical. The bats in cricket are flat not rounded. I'd encourage you to Google it rather than reading my idiotic amateurish explanation....ha-ha. Bye for now & see you soon right here on our own

Image 1 Credit: Cricket Vs Baseball (ESPN)

Read the first installment of DIARY OF AN INQUISITIVE TEEN here;

Read the second installment of DIARY OF AN INQUISITIVE TEEN here;
Don't forget to drop me a mail at; for I am always more than willing to answer your questions and listen to your suggestions.

(Akash Kumar is the Editor-in-chief of 
A Senior grader at Mountain View High School in Mesa, Arizona (USA), he is India's youth ambassador to US on a Department of State program. He hails from Motihari, Bihar, India.)

Monday, 16 February 2015

Does God exist?

This statement has evoked provoking thoughts in my mind. First was how did humans actually thought of knowing if gods existed. Apes and early human beings didn't have the ability to think of gods existence for they were too busy learning the skills of surviving. And as per our religious texts, be it the Ramayana, Koran or Bible, the assumption of god descending to earth came about in mid-civilization, so what happened before that? What I am more concerned is that how did people actually came to the conclusion that there was a creator of all of them and that they should pray to it (I say it, for God doesn't have a masculine or feminine form)? 

If we belief Science, then it states that we humans, evolved from the Apes. If that's so, then today we have both - humans, and the apes but what about the in-betweens? The evolving human from ape form? Without hurting anyone's feeling, as my own personal belief is that early civilization in order to control most of the evolving human beings, fabricated most of the stories in which good reined over evil, and slowly that fable or myth became part of our culture. 

Though some may be true, for evidence has been shown for the existence of the original pages of the testament, or the underwater city of Dwarika (Lord Krishna's abode) in Indian waters, others I'm not too sure about. Some pages of the past may forever remain a secret but whatever is present gives each person a right to think what he/she may think is correct.

Being Judgmental is a human quality.
Ashneel J Prasad is  the Oceania (New Zealand/ Fiji) correspondent of A Fijian of Indian descent, Ashneel is currently a student of B.A communications at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

गाँव: तब और अब

तब गाँव हमारा ऐसा था

तब गाँव हमारा ऐसा था
इंसान जहाँ पर रहते थे

सब शत्रु थे एक-दूजे के
पर एक दूजे पर मरते थे

आदर था तब पंचों का
उपयोग नहीं तमंचों का

पंचायत के निर्णय का तब
मान बड़ा वो रखते थे

पर कई बार मनोरंजन खातिर
केस-मुकदमे लड़ते थे

एक नदी किनारे बहती थी
तहजीब यहाँ वह बसती थी

सब लड़के थे अपने घर के
पर बेटी पंच की होती थी

गईया को मईया कहते थे
बरगद को बाबा कहते थे

तब चाँद हमारा मामा था
और नदी हमारी माई थी

कुछ बेटों जैसे भाई थे
कुछ अम्मा सी भौजाई थीं

पुआल में घुस कर सोते थे
तब मिलती नहीं रजाई थी

एक-दूजे को वो हंसते थे
आपस में तंज वो कसते थे

पूरा गाँव रो पड़ता था
जब दुलहिन् बेटी रोती थी

तब प्यार में गाली देते थे
देवर भौजी के चहेते थे

नारी नर की परछाई थी
पर ननद बड़ी हरजाई थी

पोतों के कंधों पर जाऊं
हर दादी की अभिलाषा थी

सब पोते बड़े किसान बनें
यह दादाजी की आशा थी

अब गाँव हमारा ऐसा है
अब गाँव हमारा ऐसा है
हर एक हाथ में पैसा है

ना कोई किसी का बैरी है
सब जैसे को तैसा है

काका-काकी चले गए
अब अंकल-आंटी आई है

वाईफ घर में घुस बैठी है
जब से गयी लुगाई है

अब चाँद हमारा मून हुआ
गईया बन गयी काऊ है

इन्सान की कीमत चली गयी है
जमीन बड़ी बिकाऊ है

अब जाते नहीं चौपालों में
गाँव के इन जंजालों में

लोग शहर को चले गए हैं
घर बसता है तालों में

शहरीकरण की परछाई है
सब चली गयी तरुणाई है

ढ़ोल-मंजीरे उठ गए कब के
डीजे की पुरवाई है

ना मिलते ना बतियाते हैं
ऐसी अब रुखाई है

दुबक पड़े इन्सान हैं घर में
जब से छतरी आई है

कुछ अनजाने से बच्चे हैं
स्कुल बसों में जाते हैं

कौन लगेगा चाचा-ताऊ
सामान्यज्ञान में कच्चे हैं

बदल गया अब गाँव ओ भईया
आई विकास की क्रांति है

शहरी दुलहा जब घुस आया
ससुराल चली अब 'शांति' है

अंकित कुंदन दुबे छात्र, स्वतंत्र टिप्पणीकार तथा जीवन मैग के टीम मेंबर हैं। आप पूर्वी चंपारण, बिहार से आते हैं और फेसबुक पर "आपन टिकुलिया" नामक ऑनलाइन ग्रामीण समुदाय के संचालक हैं। वर्तमान में पढाई के सिलसिले में नयी दिल्ली में प्रवास है।

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

दिल्ली में "आप" की जीत के निहितार्थ

हालिया दिल्ली चुनावों में आम आदमी पार्टी की जीत भारतीय लोकतंत्र के जीवंतता का सूचक है। अरविन्द केजरीवाल ने एक बार फिर उन सारे राजनीतिक पंडितों को धता बता दिया जो कि लोकसभा चुनावों के बाद "आप" के भविष्य पर प्रश्नचिन्ह खड़े कर रहे थे। ये जीत एक बहुत बड़ी ज़िम्मेदारी है और देखना दिलचस्प रहेगा कि इस अवसर का "आप" किस प्रकार उपयोग करती है। देश के दिल दिल्ली में "आप" की सरकार कुछ हद तक केंद्र में एक विपक्ष की कमी को पूरा करने का कार्य करेगी। आशा है कि ये नतीजे सत्ता के आकंठ में डूबी भाजपा को भी जगाने में सफल होंगे। भाजपा को ये समझ आ जाना चाहिए कि अब "हनीमून" का समय समाप्त हो चला है और ज़रूरी ये है कि राज्यों के चुनावों में मतदाताओं को "मोदी" मन्त्र तथा नकारात्मक प्रचार के बदले ठोस स्थानीय मुद्दे तथा स्थानीय चेहरे पेश किये जाएँ। इन चुनावों ने यह साबित कर दिया है कि मोदी की "भाजपा" अजेय नहीं है पर ऐसा कहना भी ठीक नहीं होगा कि ये नतीजे केंद्र सरकार की कार्यप्रणाली के प्रति आम जनता रोष को प्रदर्शित करते हैं। दिल्ली की जनता के एक बड़े तबके में काफ़ी पहले से ही "केजरीवाल फॉर सीएम, मोदी फॉर पीएम" के स्वर बुलंद थे। इसका प्रतिफल पिछले दिल्ली विधानसभा और लोकसभा चुनावों दोनों में ही देखने को मिला। इस बार भी भाजपा को मिले ३२ प्रतिशत वोट यह दिखाते हैं कि दिल्ली में पार्टी ने भले ही एक बड़ा टुकड़ा ज़रूर खो दिया हो पर पूरी ज़मीन नहीं खोई है। आगामी बिहार चुनावों में भाजपा को चाहिए कि एक साफ़ प्रतिबद्ध चेहरा (जो स्थानीय नेतृत्व में दूर-दूर तक नज़र नहीं आता) सामने रख ज़मीनी सच्चाई के बल पर चुनाव लड़े। अगर आम आदमी पार्टी बिहार के चुनावों में कदम रखती है (हालाँकि आसार नज़र नहीं आते) तो इसके लिए लोकसभा चुनावों से सबक ले ये ध्यान रखना होगा कि दिल्ली और बिहार के सामजिक समीकरणों में ज़मीन-आसमान का फर्क है। 
                                                                               - आकाश कुमार
                                                                                   प्रमुख संपादक

दिल्ली के चुनावी युद्ध में आज आम आदमी पार्टी ने ये साबित कर दिया है कि देश में चुनाव जीतने, सरकार बनाने और बहुमत लाने के लिए जाति-धर्म के अलावा और भी मुद्दे हैं जिनके दम पर मज़बूत सरकार स्थापित की जा सकती है। ये जीत आम आदमी की जीत है। भारतीय  इतिहास में पहली बार ऐसा हो रहा के हमने एक ऐसा चुनाव देखा,जो डंके की चोट पर आम आदमी के आधारभूत मुद्दों पर लड़ा गया, और आज बहुमत से भी बहुत अधिक सीटों से जीता गया।  ये चुनाव उन पार्टियों के लिए एक सन्देश देता है जो कहीं ना कहीं वोट बैंक बढ़ाने के लिए बीच में उन मुद्दों को ले आते हैं जिससे आम आदमी का भला और विकास नहीं हो सकता, जो ना विकास के रास्ते की तरफ से आते हैं और ना ही उस ओर जाते हैं। आज का आम आदमी अपने जीवन में आराम औ' सुकून चाहता है। उसे ज़रुरत है ऐसे मज़बूत तंत्र की जो उसकी आधारभूत ज़रूरतों पानी, बिजली, स्वछता, स्वास्थय, परिवहन सुविधाएं, सुरक्षा आदि की पूर्ति कर सके।

आंकड़े बताते हैं कि दिल्ली में बहुत बड़ी संख्या में ऐसी आबादी है जिसकी आधारभूत ज़रूरतें खस्ताहाल हैं। लोग अनधिकृत कॉलोनी और झुग्गी झोपड़ियों में रहने को मजबूर हैं। छोटे तबके के गरीब लोग, फैक्ट्रियों में मज़दूरी करने वाले, सड़कों पर रिक्शा तथा ऑटो, छोटी-मोटी दुकान चलाकर किसी तरह अपनी ज़िंदगी गुजार रहे बाहर से आये हुए लोगों की ज़िन्दगी के तमाम सपने आज भी अधूरे हैं। आधारभूत ज़रूरतों का ख़र्च बढ़  गया है, लेकिन हालात वैसे के वैसे ही हैं। आज दिल्ली की कुल आबादी का 40 % हिस्सा प्रवासी लोगों का है, जिनमे से अधिकतर लोग  गरीबी, बेरोज़गारी, तंगहाली से परेशान होकर देश के दिल दिल्ली में अपने दिल में बसी बहुत सी आशाओं के साथ आते हैं। दिल्ली एक ऐसा राज्य है जहाँ आज देश के हर हिस्से का आम आदमी बसा हुआ है और यहाँ की चुनावी जीत से देश के हर हिस्से में बहुत प्रभावी सन्देश पहुंचेगा , आम आदमी पार्टी  दो राष्ट्रीय पार्टी "बीजेपी" और "कांग्रेस" को ज़ोरदार टक्कर देने  के बाद यह देश के दूसरे राज्यों में होने वाले चुनावों में बहुत प्रभावी ढंग से खुद को पेश कर सकती है।

कांग्रेस डूबती हुई नौका है जिसमे अब कोई भी नही बैठना चाहता, उसके अपने सवार ही उसे छोड़ कर भाग रहे हैं। यह कांग्रेस के लिए बड़ी चिंता का विषय है और अब कांग्रेस को वोट बैंक नहीं बल्कि अपने अस्तित्व को बचाने के लिए लड़ना होगा। यह बीजेपी के लिए भी बहुत बड़ा झटका इसलिए है क्योंकि इस बार चुनाव में ना मोदी मंत्र चला ना मोदी तंत्र, ज़ाहिर है कि लोकसभा चुनाव में ज़बरदस्त जीत हासिल करने वाली बीजेपी के दांत खट्टे पड़ चुके हैं, और इस हार से बीजेपी के आत्मविश्वास को बहुत गहरी चोट पहुंची है। एक सबसे ख़ास बात यह देखने को मिली कि प्रधानमन्त्री मोदी ऐसे पहले व्यक्ति हैं जिन्होनें दिल्ली के भावी मुख्यमंत्री केजरीवाल को उनकी जीत पर सबसे पहले बंधाई दी।  इसे मोदी जी का बड़प्पन समझा जाए या फिर यूँ समझें के वो खिसिया से गए हैं।  चुनाव प्रचार के दरम्यान "आप"  प्रतिद्वंद्वी प्रधानमन्त्री मोदी द्वारा दी गई इस बंधाई से साबित है वह देश का विकास चाहते हैं चाहे सत्ता में कोई भी सरकार हो और "पांच साल केजरीवाल" मंत्र से लोगों को बहुत उम्मीदें हैं और लोगों द्वारा इसके जाप ने अपना असर दिखा ही दिया है अब तो दिल्ली के लोग बदलाव देखना चाहते हैं । केजरीवाल अब उन क्षेत्रीय पार्टियों के लिए खतरे की घंटी है , जिन्होंने आम आदमी को अब तक  बेवक़ूफ़ समझ रखा है।

आज दिल्ली के चुनावी नतीजे देख कर दुनिया हैरान है और इन परिस्तिथियों में मुझे अपनी ग़ज़ल का एक शेर याद आता है...

उम्मीद क्या थी क्या से क्या अंजाम हो गया
दिल आज फिर ये इश्क़ में नाकाम हो गया

लोगों में उत्साह है, नई उम्मीदों के साथ अब लोगों को देश के दिल दिल्ली में नए जज़्बातों के साथ सुनहरा भविष्य नज़र आ रहा है। आज दिल्ली की जनता ने साबित कर दिया है कि लोकतंत्र में कोई अजेय नहीं होता, ज़्यादा घमंड और अति आत्मविश्वास , पार्टी हो या व्यक्ति सबको ही ले डूबता है। मैं मानता हूँ कि दो करोड़ की आबादी वाले इस शहर दिल्ली में लोगों के पास समय का अभाव है। फिर भी जनता ने अपने समय और वोट का भरपूर प्रयोग किया है। देश की राजधानी दिल्ली को आज छोटा भारत कहा जाता है और इस छोटे भारत से बड़े भारत को अब बड़ी उम्मीदें हो चली हैं।

अबूज़ैद अंसारी जामिया मिल्लिया इस्लामिया, नयी दिल्ली में बारहवीं कक्षा के छात्र हैं. आप जीवन मैग के सह-संपादक हैं और नवाबों के शहर लखनऊ से ताल्लुक़ रखते हैं.
 (चित्र: श्री अनिल भार्गव, सलाहकार- जीवन मैग)

Monday, 2 February 2015

श्रद्धांजलि: आरके लक्ष्मण

भारत के आधुनिक कार्टून जगत की महानतम शख्शियत श्री आरके लक्ष्मण का २६ जनवरी, २०१५ को निधन हो गया। पूरी जीवन मैग टीम की ओर से भारतीय चित्र-व्यंग्य के इन अद्वितीय स्तम्भ को श्रद्धांजलि। पेश है हमारे कार्टूनिस्ट अनिल भार्गव का बनाया आरके लक्ष्मण जी का एक स्केच-

साथ ही पढ़िए के लक्ष्मण के कार्टून के विषयों से मेल कहती एक कविता उनके बहुत ही खास कॉमन मैन कार्टून के साथ-

खिलाड़ी बैठे संसद में हैं,
सटोरी आधे मैदान में।
लूटने की होड़ लगी है,
अपने भारतवर्ष महान में।

मन्नू को सन्नो की चिंता,
सन्नो को स्वीस अकाउंट की।
सिपाही कर रहे चोरों की रक्षा।
अपने भारतवर्ष महान में।

सन्नी कुमार

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Happy Republic Day 2015! Watch online here!

 Watch the Republic Day Parade India online here-

 “If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India!” - Romain Rolland
This Republic day let's pledge to make India a better place to live! Let's work together to restore the pride! Happy 66th Republic Day!

US President Barack Obama with a cartoon of him made by Cartoonist Anil Bhargava!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

अच्छे दिन कब आयेंगे?

सरकार बदलने से नहीं बल्कि विचार बदलने से अच्छे दिन आते हैं| अपने दिल पर हाथ रख कर पूछिये कि  क्या अब किसी लड़की के काले रंग और छोटी नाक के कारण उसका रिश्ता नहीं ठुकराया जायेगा? क्या दहेज़ की आग में अब कोई बेटी नहीं झुलसेगी ? क्या किसी को प्यार कर उसे अपना लेने की हिम्मत रखने वाली लड़की को लोग अब गिरी हुई नज़रों से नहीं देखेंगे? क्या विमाता के वचन अब मधुर हो जायेंगे? क्या ''डोम'' के छू जाने पर माँ अब बच्चों को नहलाकर गंगाजल नहीं छिटेंगी? क्या गाँव के ''चमार'' और ''दुषाध'' अब भूमिहार और ब्राह्मण के साथ एक ही लाइन बैठकर भोजन कर पाएंगे? क्या राज ठाकरे ''बिहारियों'' को अब गाली देना बंद कर देगा? क्या क्षेत्र के नाम पर अब लोगों को खदेड़ा नहीं जायेगा? क्या धर्म के नाम पर दंगे अब नहीं होंगे? क्या मंदिर-मस्जिद की राजनीति अब नहीं होगी? अगर इन सब का उत्तर हाँ है तो यक़ीनन जश्न जायज है| 

लेकिन अगर शक की कोई गुंजाइश भी है तो क्या फर्क पड़ता है की सरकार ''मनमोहन सिंह'' चलायें या ''टोबाटेक सिंह'' | ये सभी यक्ष प्रश्न आज समाज के सामने सुरसा के समान मुंह खोले खड़े हैं| कोई भी सरकार कानून बना सकती है, जन-मानस को प्रोत्साहित कर सकती है,जागरूकता फैला सकती है, जमीनी स्तर पर उसे अमली-जामा पहनाना किसी सरकार के बस में नहीं है| दहेज़ प्रथा, यौन शोषण, जातिगत भेदभाव के खिलाफ़ कानून तो दो पीढ़ी पहले से मौजूद हैं फिर भी कालजयी शिरीष की भांति यह आज भी फल-फूल रहे हैं| सच कहूँ तो दहेज़ की रकम तो महंगाई से ''डायरेक्टली प्रोपोसनल'' भी हो गई है| आज फिर इस देश को महात्मा गाँधी की जरुरत आन पड़ी है, जो जाकर लोगों से यह कह सके की ''हे पुत्र रंग, धर्म, जाति , लिंग, क्षेत्र और राष्ट्र पर मनुष्य का कोई वश नहीं होता| उसे अपने पैदा होने के स्थान, जाति, धर्म और लिंग संबंधी कोई अधिकार ब्रह्मा ने नहीं दिए हैं, इसीलिए इस आधार पर भेदभाव उचित नहीं है''|

देश की सरकार हमारी सीमाएं सुरक्षित कर सकती है| सरकार बुनियादी ढ़ांचे को मजबूत बना सकती है| सरकार शेष दुनिया से हमारे रिश्तों का जिम्मा ले सकती है| कोई भी सरकार हमारी विकृत मानसिकता को दकियानूसी विचारों को, अंधी प्रथाओं को तथा पितृसत्तात्मक समाजों को नियंत्रित नहीं कर सकती| इन सभी विचारों,प्रथाओं तथा संस्कारों के विधायिका भी हम हैं, कार्यपालिका भी हमीं हैं और न्यायपालिका भी| अतः अब अपने दिल के संसद में एक विधेयक पास कर लेना कि लिंग, धर्म, जाति और क्षेत्र के नाम पर भेदभाव नहीं करेंगे तभी अच्छे दिन आयेंगे| 

(चित्र साभार: एबीपी न्यूज़)

संतोष कुमार जीवन मैग की संपादन समिति के सदस्य हैं। आप दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय के क्लस्टर इनोवेशन सेंटर में बीए स्नातक (मानविकी और समाजशास्त्र) के छात्र तथा दिल्ली विश्वविद्यालय के सामुदायिक रेडियो में ओबी प्रभारी हैं.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Frank Bainimarama: Hitler of the Pacific

Frank Bainimarama, is the current military Prime Minister of Fiji. One of my most recent interactions with him before shifting to New Zealand was in November, 2011 at an awards ceremony. I was receiving the award for the “Best Young Writer” by the Kailaand the Fiji Times at Holiday Inn in Suva. He was the chief guest and I was the award recipient. Amidst the claps while handing me the award, he said something very intimidating to me. His exact words were “so you’re the one who writes about me and also gets away with it” followed by an elusive laugh. Though he may have said it flippantly but there was something in his tone that caught my attention. Coincidentally two days before receiving the award I had written an article of a class 3 girl who was not allowed in a bus as her bus voucher was wet and a bit torn. The irony was that I condemned the Minister of Public Service and Transportation for allowing such an incident to happen and the Minister of Transportation in question was Frank Bainimarama himself.

In recent days, international media has become bolder in labeling Frank Bainimarama a dictator. But the main question should be is Bainimarama just a dictator? The term dictator is not quite enough to explain the questionable actions and decisions that Bainimarama has taken in the recent past.

To understand Bainimarama’s regime, the readers first must understand the coup and military history of Fiji. A coup in simple terms means removal of power or takeover of a country by illegal means. Fiji is a small Island nation of approximately 800,000 people. After gaining independence from Great Britain in 1970, began the short yet eventful history of coups, and takeovers. Fiji’s first coup materialized in 1987. This was led by a Military leader called Sitiveni Rabuka. On 14th May, 1987 Rabuka entered the Parliament and announced “Sit down everybody, sit down. This is a take-over. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a military take-over. We apologize for any inconvenience caused [to the MP’s]”. The second coup also took place in 1987 and the third one in 2000 by a businessman named George Speight. The fourth and most recent military takeover was in December, 2006 led by the military Commander-in-chief, Frank Bainimarama himself.

Frank Bainimarama over the past few years has become a very prominent figure in Fiji because of  his relationship with Fiji’s first Prime Minister, Late Ratu Sir K.K.T.M Mara (being his eldest son-in-law). In 2006, in the Pacific island nation of Fiji, troops overran the capital city, threatened the Prime Minister, forced his resignation, placed him under house arrest, imposed censorship on the media, and the coup leader, in the form of the head of the army, went on television to declare himself the new ruler of the country. This was the beginning of a new era in Fiji - the era of Bainimarama regime.

The first mistake that Bainimarama did was to overthrow the previous government. The 2006 coup also had a negative impact on the tourism industry of Fiji. The December 2006 resulted in a major decline in the level of international tourism activity. Although the timing of the unrest was at the very end of the year it was enough to disrupt tourism activity over the normally busy Christmas and New Year. After that the country was declared an “emergency state” and no one was allowed to have [from subjective experience] gathering at home. If one was entertaining guest that exceeded more than 7 people, one has to take permission from the police or else the military will arrest everyone under the delinquency of plotting to assassinate the prime minister of the country.

Another situation that is very controversial is the Bainimarama versus Qarase case. Laisania Qarase is the last democratically elected Prime Minister of Fiji and was ousted by the Militiary government in December, 2006. In this case the President (pressured by Bainimarama post the takeover) dismissed Laisania Qarase as the Prime Minister of Fiji.

Moreover during the trial of Laisania Qarase in 2012, Qarase was charged with six counts of abuse of office and three counts of discharge of duty with respect to a property in which he has a private interest.Numerous international critics including the Commonwealth and the Pacific Forum claim Fiji's country system is controlled by the military regime and has no independence. It is a known fact that Bainimarama's government had demolished the previous judiciary system and brought in new judges from Sri Lanka in 2009.

One of the more astounding decisions of Bainimarama is the number of ministry portfolios that he and his Attorney General, Aiyaaz Sayeed Kayyum hold among themselves. Bainimarama alone handles the portfolio of “Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics; Public Service; People's Charter for Change and Progress; Minister for Information, National Archives and Library Services of Fiji; Minister for I-Taukei; Provincial Development and Multi-Ethnic Affairs and Sugar Industry, Acting Minister for Lands and Mineral Resource.” That speaks volumes on the dominant nature of Frank Bainimarama.

It is questionable on why a coup regularly happens in Fiji. Fijian political unity is an illusion, a chimera that can never be achieved, let alone forced upon the people). Even though Bainimarama has been cited a dictator by many people, he has also done quite a lot for the people of Fiji. For long, the military forces in Fiji had been the strong supporters of the long-established customary leaders. This was reflected in their conduct of two coups in 1987 with Rabuka to protect traditional Melanesian interests. From 2000, behind Commodore Bainimarama, the army has completely changed its position, championing equal rights for all the citizens, and contesting the archaic customary power.

Frank Bainimarama may have had good intentions in his heart of making Fiji a better place to live in, but his actions have contradicted it. From overthrowing a perfectly legitimate democratically elected government to putting his foot in the Qarase court case, he has done it all. My question again: Is Bainimarama the Hitler of the Pacific?

Ashneel J Prasad is  the Oceania (New Zealand/ Fiji) correspondent of A Fijian of Indian descent, Ashneel is currently a student of B.A communications at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Indonesia: The world of an ocean boy- Christ Daniel

Hello, I’m Christ from Indonesia. I am Akash’s friend and I am also on the YES Program living here in the United States. It has been really adventurous and fun here. I believe that the young people of the world will share the same future, and the same planet; which everyone of us has the same responsibility to make a better to live.
Indonesia, just like India, is a big and beautiful developing country With more than two hundred and fifty million people living across nearly 17,500 islands, we are the fourth most populous country in the world and home to the third largest democracy. Living here in Indonesia is in fact very interesting. We have the largest flower in the world, the Rafflesia, and are the second largest biodiversity hotspot in the world.

We are bordered with the Pacific and the Indian ocean. I come from a small island in Indonesia, called Ambon. It is so small that it’s hard to even find it in the map. But, Ambon is the city of music for Indonesia. The Breezes and rumbling waves fill our ears as natural rhythm, the soft beat of Tifa drum, trains our musical senses.

We have a cultural event called Sasi, when people are prohibited to take or consume certain natural resources in order to preserve them. Then at the end of the period, the kewang or the nature rangers, decide to open the sign calling the fish to come back to the river. As the sun rises, people are already waiting at the river shores, with much joy and glee to collect the fish. It’s great, as fishes jump all over the water, and since there are a lot of fishes flying around, we even catch them just by using our hands. We store them for weeks, until the Sasi is declared closed again.

That’s the life in an archipelagic state of the world. Our people and culture are bound with a great responsibility of guarding the mother nature. We see the nature through the eyes of ocean and nature. What about you?
Christ Soselisa Daniel is Indonesia's youth ambassador to the United States on YES program of Department of State. He is from Ambon, Maluku, Indonesia & is living in Oxford, Arkansas, USA.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The New Normal... Rape?

Only one thing remains fixed in today's newspaper's and magazines - A woman has been raped somewhere. 
A woman is raped, a family is asked for dowry in exchange for their daughter's hand in marriage, a mother is told to abort her baby just because it's a girl & they need a boy to survive the lineage, a girl is sold into prostitution, a girl is not given the freedom to pursue her education. I feel ashamed as a man on letting other men do all this.
For us Indians', we are always told by our elders that Devi Durga is the Shakti, he equivalent of strength and hard-work. Then where does the mentality of tagging a female as a weakling come from? The first step towards rape is eve-teasing, disrespecting a woman and undermining a women's strength. Any male hitting a woman or undermining her doesn't make him a 'Man', it just confirms his position as a coward. What makes a man 'Man' is when he defends a female and protects her in a society where she is ill-treated. Let us not forget, it is because of a woman that we came into this world. A girl is always told to go with someone if she wants to go somewhere, or not to go out after the dark? Why? Why can't she go out alone or in the dark? 

It is because of us, that such a society is created where a female cannot live her own life according to her terms. Why must a woman be afraid to live in a world that she has created? Why must a woman face the stigma of rape and the culprit just gets a mere sentence in jail, or worse yet, roam around freely on a bail? Why? 

I strongly recommend maximum penalty in the cases of rape & domestic violence. 
Why must we turn a blind eye when a female is in dire need of help? Let me remind you, today its just her, tomorrow it could be your mother, sister, wife, aunt or friend. 

We, the youth are the voice of today - and together we must break the wall surrounding our minds and accept that a woman can lead, take charge and they must never be looked down upon.We must voice our stand and create such a society where another woman doesn't have the fear of living freely or else, we are not fit to call ourselves Men. 
Ashneel J Prasad is  the Oceania (New Zealand/ Fiji) correspondent of A Fijian of Indian descent, Ashneel is currently a student of B.A communications at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand.

Monday, 5 January 2015

ज़िंदगी गुलज़ार है- अमिनेष

ज़िंदगी गुलज़ार है।

तमाम उलझनों से।
परेशानियों से।
उन तन्हाइयों से।
खुशी और गम का व्यापार है।

ज़िंदगी गुलज़ार है।

अपनी हसरतों से।
दुनिया कि उम्मीदों से।
यादों की गलियों से।
मौन पहेलियों से।
हसीन सपनों का बाज़ार  है।

ज़िंदगी गुलज़ार है।

टूटते रिश्तों से।
रुठते फरिश्तो से।
गुमशुदा मंजिलो से।
बेज़ार है।
फिर भी जाने क्युँ;
यह दिल
जीने को बेकरार है।

ज़िंदगी गुलज़ार है। 

(अमिनेष आर्यन काशी हिन्दू विश्वविद्यालय में राजनीतिशास्त्र स्नातक‍ प्रथम वर्ष के छात्र हैं। अमिनेष मूलरूप से बिहार के हाजीपुर से सम्बन्ध रखते हैं और जीवन मैग की संपादन समिति के सदस्य हैं।)

Roman Text

Zindagi Gulzaar hai

Tamaam uljhanon se.
pareshaniyon se.
un tanhaiyon se.
khushi aur gham ka vyaapaar hai.

Zindagi gulzaar hai

Apni hasraton se.
duniya ki ummedon se.
yaadon ki galiyon se.
maun paheliyon se.
haseen sapnon ka bazaar hai.

Tootte rishton se.
ruthte farishton se.
ghumshuda manzilon se.
bezaar hai.
fir bhi jaane kyun;
yeh dil
jeene ko bekarar hai.
Zindagi gulzaar hai

Aminesh Aryan  is an editorial board member at and a student of Political Science Honors. at the Banaras Hindu University. He comes from Vaishali in Bihar.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Child Abuse- Mubashra Saleem

Among thousands of social evils prevailing across the globe, child abuse definitely ranks among the highest on list. It’s a hideous crime practiced since ages. Pain and injury from child sexual abuse can heal with time, however psychological and medical consequences can persist throughout one’s entire life. Every day, countless children around the world are sexually, physically, verbally, or emotionally abused leaving them with the most horrifying and calamitous memories for lifetime, for when they’re supposed to have the most remarkable years of their lives.
Statistically, more than five children die every day as a result of child abuse. On average, 3.3 million cases are reported annually. Where child abuse is increasing outrageously throughout the world, the rate is relatively higher in our subcontinent. Before I came to U.S as an exchange student I wasn’t even aware that we can speak against this horrible evil reigning the world. There are many like me back in Pakistan, who don’t know that we’ve the freedom to express our thoughts on this issue. This topic is badly neglected in most countries like those in the Indian Subcontinent not because we’re free of it, but because nobody wants to speak openly about this issue and some even don't consider it an evil.

It’s a worldwide concern but cases are more frequent in the Indian Subcontinent because of the joint family system. All the family members live under one roof, which makes children more vulnerable. Many children in Pakistan are abused but they can’t tell this to anyone because there is an immense lack of communication between parents and children and they’re afraid even if they do, nobody will believe them since they’re never given the confidence to share everything they want to. They’re often threatened by the abuser not to disclose the incident. Even if they want to speak out, they’re not allowed to do so mostly by their parents. It’s considered that keeping such things only to oneself is the best solution to the problem, which indeed is the greatest misconception. The frustration as a result; subjects to committing suicide and incredibly increasing its rate.  Staying quiet about evils never helps in eradicating them; rather it contributes in helping them prevail.
Children also are more vulnerable to child abuse because they’re never taught about how to prevent it. They don’t know what to do if they’re being abused or after they’re abused. It is ironic that due to the lack of awareness, thousands of children become victims.  The lack of knowledge is most instrumental in the threat of child abuse proliferation.

The upbringing of a child plays the paramount role in keeping him safe and secure from all the monsters reaching out to him. Being a child myself, I understand the intense need for awareness on this topic. Only an abused child knows where the shoe pinches and this gives me goose bumps. Certainly this is the most tragic, unfortunate, depressing, distressful, catastrophic, heartrending, and pitiful thing that can ever happen to an innocent child who has not yet seen the true colors of life.

I started to think about child abuse when once my friend shared with me the incident of being abused by her own uncle. She was horrified, scared to death and her lips frozen. As usual, she wasn’t allowed to share this with anyone, which contributed to her psychological stress for months and this turned her life murky and dark. Witnessing all this, I decided to devote my efforts to this cause and guess what, so can we all. Yes, you got it right each and everyone of us can play a role on our part. Yes you can educate your siblings, cousins and children in the vicinity about how to fight this horrendous ogre. Tell them not to stay silent, tell them to speak up, tell them to take someone in confidence, tell them it’s nothing wrong with them and please tell them not to ruin their rest of the lives only because of a person who was indeed a devil. 
You know, even a single voice can do wonders! So raise your voice for addressing this issue nationally and globally for making strict laws against the abusers to discourage such practices. The utmost need is to educate the common public; then to create awareness for others and finally raise voice against it, only then we can be successful in eradicating this atrocious epidemic. 

The fact that the once neglected Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi got the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to the cause highlights the fact that the scenario  is changing gradually. It's the prime time to do our bit to exterminate this evil. 

Read an another thought-provoking article on Child Abuse here:

(Mubashra Saleem is the Pakistan correspondent of A student of Towson High School (Maryland), She is Pakistan's Youth Ambassador to the US on a Department of State program. She hails from Rawalpindi in Punjab, Pakistan.)

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

गुज़रे दिन (ग़ज़ल)- अबूज़ैद अंसारी

गुज़रते रंज में अफ़सोस में हैं ये सारे दिन

मुझे फिर याद आए हैं मुहब्बत के वो प्यारे दिन

वो तन्हाई में तुमको याद करना और रोना था

मेरी नज़रों का टकराना तेरा शर्मिंदा होना था

मुलाक़ातों पे एक दूजे से हम ना बोल पाते थे

हज़ारों लफ्ज़ आँखों से ही सुनते और सुनाते थे

नाज़ुक हाथ तेरा थाम कर चलता था राहों पर

ग़ुरूर खुद पर मैं था करता क़िस्मत आसमानों पर

मुझे याद आया वो दिन तूने जब साथ छोड़ा था

कहा मजबूर हूँ समझो ये कहकर हाथ छोड़ा था

कहाँ हो तुम चले आओ अधूरा हूँ मैं तेरे बिन

गुज़रते रंज में अफ़सोस में हैं ये सारे दिन 


अबूज़ैद अंसारी जामिया मिल्लिया इस्लामिया नयी दिल्ली में बारहवीं कक्षा के छात्र हैं. आप जीवन मैग के सह-संपादक हैं और नवाबों के शहर लखनऊ से ताल्लुक़ रखते हैं.

 Roman Text

Guzarte ranj me afsos me hain ye saare din
mujhe fir yaad aaye hain muhabbat ke wo pyaare din
wo tanhaai mein tumko yaad karna aur rona tha
meri nazron ka takrana tera sharminda hona tha

Mulakaton pe ek dooze se ham na bol paate the
hazaaron lafz aakhon se hi sunte aur sunate the
Najuk hath tera tham kar chalta tha rahon par
gurur khud par main tha karta kismat aasmanon par

Mujhe yaad aaya wo din tune jab sath chhoda tha
kaha majboor hoon samjho ye kahkar hath chhoda tha
kahan ho tum chale aao adhura hoon main tere bin
guzarte ranj me afsos me hain ye sare din

Sunday, 21 December 2014

An insight into the world of an exchange student- Nabeelah Suleman

December 2014

I am an exchange student.

Three years ago, this simple sentence would not have been of much significance to me. I would be interested in what an exchange student had to say, but I would then pack the entire idea away and carry on with my studies. Today, three years later, that very same sentence holds an entire new world of wonder and discovery.

Today, I am proud to say that I am a Muslim, South African teenager of Indian descent, living in Namibia and currently studying abroad for a year, as an exchange student in Germany.

The question of how I ended up being an exchange student in Germany is a question I’m asked often by people I meet, and also a question that I often ask myself when I look back at the past few years. I came into contact with Rotary International when I joined the new Interact club at my school, a club that focused on improving lives and helping those in need in one’s own society. Around the same time, a good friend of mine revealed that she would be going to Europe for a year as an exchange student, with the Rotary Youth Exchange Program, and so name “Rotary” began to play a more frequent role in my life. I always knew that I wanted to travel to Europe at some point in my life, and perhaps even study at a university there, though I never thought in detail about it, and the idea always stayed a vague dream for the distant future, that is, until I started reading posts from my friend who just departed for her year abroad. It was then that I read all available material about this program and I slowly started visualizing myself actually taking part in an exchange. I looked at a series of exchange programs, but decided on Rotary, because I knew the organization best, the prices were most economical, and I was already in contact with amazing Rotarians.

After discussing the idea with my parents and applying, I was extremely excited to go through the application and preparatory process. I attended the orientations last year, was accepted to go on exchange to Germany, and the time just flew by. The idea that I was actually going overseas didn’t sink in until I was explaining the concept of exchange to my extended family. I didn’t receive many negative comments, though I did have to often explain why I wanted to spend a year abroad to many people, because it was a concept many members of my somewhat conservative family didn’t fully understand because it was something that hadn’t really been done in our family before. Nevertheless, I had lots of supporters and well-wishers at the airport, and despite the tears, I boarded the plane to Germany, which I believe will always be one of the best decisions of my life.

My arrival in Hamburg was a strange experience. The biggest change was the temperature, which had been 30 degrees in southern Africa, and dropped to -12 degrees in northern Germany, and the scenery, which went from browns and greens to bare trees and snow. In a matter of hours, everything was suddenly different, but it was an amazing feeling to realize I was finally there and at the start of my exchange. I didn’t have extreme homesickness, though in the beginning, I did miss my family a lot, especially my parents and sisters. As I got used to my new home, school and life, the weather improved and we had our first exchange student meeting on an island in the North Sea, off the coast of Germany. It was really interesting to meet other exchange students from all over the world, and I found so much in common with the Indian exchange students because my great-great grandparents were from India, and I grew up with an average Indian traditional extended family, even though they lived a few thousand kilometers away in South Africa. As the days got longer with the arrival of spring, and then summer, the time began to fly by.

With Rotary, we were also privileged to go on Eurotour, a three week tour around Europe. The main cities we visited were Prague, Vienna, Venice, Florence, Rome, Vatican City, Savona, Monaco, Paris and Amsterdam. We also had a few other meetings during the year in different cities around Schleswig Holstein. The summer was amazing, though it was sad to go and say goodbye to the exchange students from the exchange year 2013-2014. As an exchange student from the southern hemisphere, I arrived in January 2014, and I will be returning home in January 2015, because the school year in southern Africa starts in January instead of August. I also got to travel around Germany, to so many different cities, as well as to other countries such as Belgium and Denmark. The trip is amazing because the company also plays a huge part in any trip. I have been blessed to have had the most amazing two host families, make some of the best friends I will ever have, and having had the opportunity to meet and get to know people from every corner of the world, of every race, culture, religion and nationality. Despite being fluent in German now, the beauty of being part of such an international community is learning a little of every language. Learning a new language is hard and though I am not perfect at German grammatically, I have become quite fluent at it after speaking it for 11 months.

The year has flown by, and in less than a month, I will be returning to Namibia. I have been so privileged to not only experience so much of Germany, specifically the northern part, but also the whole of Europe, and with that, the world. I appreciate being given this opportunity to represent who I am, and where I come from. I would genuinely recommend every teenager to do an exchange, because I myself have learnt so much this year concerning my personality, beliefs and ambitions. It will be extremely hard saying goodbye to all the wonderful people that I’ve met, but the beauty of the German farewell “Auf Wiedersehen”, is entirely appropriate, with it’s meaning of “until we meet again”.

I am proud to be an exchange student and be part of this worldwide network of young people working together to create bonds of understanding between nations and their different ways of life.

Nabeelah Suleman is a South African teenager of Indian descent, living in Namibia and currently an exchange student in Germany. She serves on the Editorial board of as its Africa correspondent.

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