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Vandana Kohli
Monday , July 14, 2014

The antibiotic crisis: An altered approach

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Bacteria mutate. They alter their DNA to change the permeability of their cell wall, change shape or the protein they are excreting,in order to survive an onslaught coming their way. Mutation is an inbuilt ability, a mechanism for survival, worked out over millions of years by these original life forms. Mutation is also a way for nature to maintain homeostasis - her inherent balance. The power to mutate makes bacteria resilient to antibiotics. Overnight, one resistant bacterium can multiply to become a million. Additionally, resistance can also be passed on from one strain of bacteria to another. New strains of bacteria are emerging, with greater resilience, to render our known knowledge of antibiotics increasingly ineffective. Much of the modern world is watching with alarm, with one expert calling the issue "a ticking time bomb". At a recent G7 meeting, Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK has highlighted....

Saturday , August 17, 2013

Electronic sports: A word of caution for parents!

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Our world has changed too quickly, and as in all situations of change, some people are profiteering from our ignorance of what's going on. We are bombarded with new applications of technology - some empowering, some weakening. Because of the pace at which they've coming at us, we don't have the time or mind-space to evaluate their effects on our lives and those of our children. We trust, naively and sometimes out of convenience, that if something is out there in the market, then it must be okay. That isn't necessarily true. Electronic Sports: As the name suggests, electronic sports is a fancy and misleading term for video gaming. "Electronic sports organisations" as some companies call themselves, hold virtual gaming tournaments with players from across the world. These tournaments have been broadcast on TV in the US and on the net. They have live commentators and....

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Marion Bartoli: A quirky mix of much!

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One hot evening in July, a few years ago, I settled in somewhat randomly to watch a Wimbledon semi-final match on TV. Justine Henin, then the World No.1, was pitted against a less known 22-year old French player. That Henin would vanquish her opponent to reach the final was a foregone conclusion. A day before, in a display of aggression and skill, she had defeated Serena Williams in a three set quarterfinal match. Though she had lost her premier ranking to Maria Sharapova at the start of the year, she had regained it after the French Open and was looking to speed through the Wimbledon Championships to hold her spot as the top seed. Predictably, Henin powered through the first set of the semi-final in twenty minutes, leading 6-1. The crowd expected her to win quite effortlessly. And so this match might have had little recall had....

Friday , April 05, 2013

Return of the marines

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We are a people known for our hospitality. We pour the essence of our spirit, not in our systems but in the warmth we display to our guests and visitors. The essence of Europe however is reflected in the systems of most of its developed countries. Things are orderly and functional. There is an emphasis on abiding by the law, and tough punitive measures await those who break it. Our systems, on the other hand and for the most part, are chaotic, arbitrary and dysfunctional. They are difficult to work within and create much of the head banging frustration we feel as a nation. An example: A friend, also a lawyer practising at the Supreme Court of India, pointed out just one of many instances of how provisions of law work against each other. He cited the example of a building site in Delhi.....

Thursday , March 14, 2013

Death of a rapist

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Ram Singh, 33, the oldest of the six accused in the gang-rape of a 23-year-old medical intern on December 16, 2012, was found dead in his Tihar Jail cell on March 11, 2013, at 5 AM. Jail authorities say he was given to violence, mood swings and was reported as suicidal. His parents claim he was being tortured in jail. His lawyer however says, "He was not mentally stressed. He was very happy. Everything was going very well, there was no need for him to commit suicide; this must be murder." Who was Ram Singh? Ram Singh was amongst the six accused of brutally gang-raping the victim. He was the driver of the bus in which the crime happened and is a prime accused for pre-meditating a plot to rape any women they could find. It was through him that the police....

Monday , January 28, 2013

Women in policing: plugging the gaps

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Under a barrage of criticism and suggestions for police reform, the government has announced an increase in the presence of women constables and officers in each police station in Delhi. The aim is to have one-third women police personnel present at police stations so that complainants, especially women, girls and children find the police more approachable. As a step towards urgent positive reform, this is heartening, though as a first step alone. Much more needs to be done in an institutionalised, structured and holistic manner to make such reform meaningful. Changing attitudes: Consider this. A woman walks in to register sexual molestation. First, she encounters the duty officer at the front desk. She must first get past him (it is usually a man) to record her statement. Two things are likely to happen by now according to past and current trends - first, he has decided this....

Monday , January 14, 2013

"Aane do": a letter to MSD

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Dear Captain, Through the whirlwind of your matches and several back-to-back series, you and your boys might recall shooting for a promotional spot of about a minute for a mainstream television channel on cricket. It showed several of your boys, in close up, over the announcement of the (recently concluded) 2012-2013 India-Pakistan cricket series, hosted by India. The boys all looked rather tough in the ad; the kind of mug-shot all advertisers/promoters like best, where players wear an expression quite like superheroes on their way to steady an impending apocalypse. I suppose the India-Pakistan series was quite akin to one such great event, especially since the Pakistanis haven't really been playing too much cricket; and certainly not with us. As a result, many were looking forward to this one - viewers, promoters, advertisers, organisers - basically, half the country. The promoters didn't have to really generate....

Monday , December 31, 2012

A deterrent to rape: an Indian example abroad

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(In the wake of the outrage over the rape and murder of a 23-year-old woman in Delhi, several changes have been recommended to improve safety and security for women. These include changes in the law for stronger, more severe punitive action against perpetrators of sexual assault; accelerating the course of justice by making the legal system and process more responsive; and urgent police reforms. This article is a case for more women in policing). In 2004, UN Peacekeepers in three African countries were accused of sexual misconduct. They gave local teenage girls food and money in exchange for sex. In 2005, 47 peacekeepers were accused of such misconduct in Liberia alone, a West African country of about 4 million, adjoining Ivory Coast. Liberia was pulling out of a 14-year conflict that was characterised by sexual violence. Rape, according to the United Nations, was the foremost crime reported....

Monday , December 17, 2012

A dark patch for India's Test cricket

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My first real experience of Test Cricket was at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in the early 80s. I was about ten. India was playing England, and the stadium was packed. I can't remember the outcome of the match (I think we lost!), but after that, my dad could count on me to root for cricket on TV, much to my mum's angst, whenever he sat to watch a match being telecast. Later, even while preparing for examinations, my carefully scheduled breaks of 15 minutes between chapters would go watching TV if cricket was on. And while I didn't remember all series and all scores, I was hooked, even though I didn't know it then. How consistent is our team? Over the years, however, my enthusiasm has waned. If there is one thing that the Indian team in any format is consistent about, it is their inconsistency. Their....

Monday , December 03, 2012

Direct Cash Transfer: the cart before the horse?

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In the early 80s, there was a scramble for Video Cassette Recorders or VCRs in India as more and more people watched films at home at their own convenience. One VCR that was much sought after was the Akai VS-2. It was a high quality product and the first to have an Interactive Monitor System or an on-screen display. But the Akai recorders were also the most troublesome often demanding more service and repair, for a reason. They were sensitive instruments, and they weren't built for a dusty country such as ours. In effect, while there was nothing wrong with the product, the environment in India didn't quite work for it; quite like trying to plant a high-quality seed in inappropriate ground. This might be a somewhat long-shot analogy, but the Direct Cash Transfer scheme announced by the Government last week conjures up such images. Are....


More about Vandana Kohli

Vandana Kohli is an acclaimed filmmaker, musician and photographer. She has recently researched, produced and directed the award-winning international documentary ‘The Subtext Of Anger’. Vandana has scripted, directed and edited projects for clients that include The National Geographic Channel, The History Channel, Doordarshan, various agencies of the United Nations and the Government of India. You can find out more about her at www.vandanakohli.com.


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