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Valay Singhrai
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Visually impaired Kalpana's zest for life braves all odds


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Till about 15 years ago, Devagram village was known for its delicious apples. The famous Kalpeshwar temple is a 30-minute trek from there. Here in the notoriously remote Urgam valley, nature has not left much for imagination, the place is, as they say 'picture perfect', with a gushing river, stepped valley, low hanging clouds and not so distant snow-capped mountains. People in this valley depend on agriculture and the prized Keedajadi for making a living. The place makes you feel serene, and hopeful. It infuses you with extraordinary joy.

Urgam valley is idyllic and amidst this paradise we met Kalpana, a gritty and intelligent 11-year-old girl. Kalpana Singh Negi didn't see the fury of the Uttarakhand tsunami with her own eyes. She couldn't because she is permanently blind. I met her at her home in Devgram village after it took me and my colleagues....


Friday , April 04, 2014

PJB manifesto: Bridge built by monkeys among other things


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As the 'nation' grapples with an unprecedented onslaught of political campaigning ahead of the general elections, here's a shot at predicting what could be some of the highlights of the PJB's yet-to-be-released manifesto. (this is a work of fiction and has nothing to do with any real political party's manifesto) PJB manifesto 1. We will rebuild the Ram Setu using a force of workers who will wear monkey uniform to pay tribute to Lord Ram's monkey army. 2. We will build Ram Temple. Before that we will make a law that every child will get a photo of Ram temple and a tattoo of hanuman at the time of birth registration. 3. We will make vegetarian mutton, chicken and fish. 4. We will ensure that Muthalik becomes the head of a new CVC. The new CVC will stand for Chief Vigilante Commissioner. 5.....


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Being a cynic in AAP country


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It is never easy being a cynic. Personally, I find being politically correct equally difficult. But in the 'Delhi after AAP', life has become tougher for cynics, particularly those of the Aam Aadmi Party. Life after our own version of the Arab-spring remains unchanged although there have been a few micro measures like improvised night shelters, outsourcing 'sting operations' to the public at large, and the drive to shut down so called drug dens and sex dungeons. It has been less than a month since AAP formed the government so it is too early to judge their performance, but my question to AAP fans is: Will it ever be too late for them to criticise their party? Funnily, with AAP supporters, you can't be sure what will offend them, and when they will label you a cynic. It seems to me that any criticism of....


Monday , November 25, 2013

What did Tejpal mean by 'serious lapse of judgement'?


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Now that Tarun Tejpal has been booked for sexual assault suo moto, those baying for his blood can rest for a while. But, there are still some questions that have been bothering me; what did Tarun Tejpal mean by 'serious lapse of judgement'? Was he just euphemising his actions? Or did he think that the girl was asking for it? Did he think that being the king of his little bubble he can get away with assaulting his own employee? Or, did he think that he was an irresistible sex god? It's quite baffling really. What an obtuse and cold way to convey his regret, it makes a mockery of an apology. What about Shoma Chaudhary's response? Was she as usual, not doing her job well when she wrote that lame, dishonest e mail. Who will hold her accountable? There are several anecdotes about her journalistic mediocrity, but, let us....


Tuesday , October 29, 2013

Broken Hearts, Wounded Minds


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We were taught in school that India's unity is in its diversity. All religions are equal and all gods are manifestation of the one supreme god, is another principle imparted to most children, at least to the ones who go to 'good, English medium private schools'. In my twelve years of schooling I went to 4 schools, in none of them was I exposed to any obvious discrimination based on one's name or background. The monument-mosque in distant Ayodhya was still intact. I had been put in a boarding school by then to save me from what my father thought was the undisciplined and carefree street culture of Bhopal(think of Soorma Bhopali accent in sholay's). I was in class 5th and my world was dominated by sports stars, and making it to the school hockey team(I did make it as the youngest member of the junior hockey team that year). ....


Monday , September 30, 2013

Laying the Foundation Right


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Early childhood(0-6years). is the most important time for a child. The brain develops at a very fast rate and the experiences of a child during this time act as the foundation for the future. During these years, children make rapid progress in cognitive, linguistic, emotional and social domains. This learning is fostered through relationships with important adults in their life. Family members and other caregivers are the most important influences during early childhood. However, the subject of early childhood care, education and development has received inadequate attention from the government; Only, this year the National Early Childhood Care and Education(ECCE) Policy has been finalised by the government of India. The policy focuses on the restructuring of the Integrated Child Development Services scheme. The policy also hopes to create a continuum from early childhood to primary school by linking with the Right to Education Act. India has 158.7 million....


Monday , September 16, 2013

Misplaced rage


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In the case of the juvenile convict in the Delhi gang rape and murder case, we are witnessing a beastly rage, from seemingly sensible and reasonable people. They are pressing for the death penalty for the guilty juvenile(he was a juvenile when the crime occurred, now he is more than 18 years old) and want the juvenile age lowered to 16. Abject poverty forced the juvenile implicated in the Delhi case to leave home at the age of 11. Since the day he left home, we(government and society) washed our hands off him. For 6-7 years the boy lived on his own, working at eateries and doing other odd jobs. He lived and grew up on the streets, nobody, not the state or 'civil society', came to his rescue or to ensure he got his rights. The Indian state took note of him only when he resurfaced as the ''most....


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More about Valay Singhrai

Valay has worked with NDTV 24x7 as an editor on the newsdesk. Valay has made films on caste and tribal issues in Maharashtra. He has also worked on 'Sons and Daughters', a film on child trafficking for domestic servitude. He wrote his thesis on 'Good journalism can be good business'. Valay works in the social sector now. He can be reached at valaysingh@gmail.com.

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