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5 Things to Consider When Hiring a Commercial Cleaning Company


New business? Bigger building? Better results? There are several reasons why you may be considering hiring a commercial cleaning company at this time, but it’s not as cut and dry as a quick online search. While commercial cleaning in Bangalore or Karnataka will bring up quite a few results, you will want to know what to look for in order to know if they are the right fit. Here are 5 things to consider when you are ready to hire or finally outsource your commercial cleaning.

Outsourcing Is the Best Option

Often moving into a new location, business owners may choose to use current staff for janitorial services because they think it offers cost savings, or they don’t want to take the time to hire a commercial cleaning company.

Outsourcing can be incredibly economical, especially when taken into consideration the increased skill and efficiency of a dedicated cleaning crew who isn’t make a financial impact on payroll, benefits or unemployment insurance.

By outsourcing your commercial cleaning in Denver, you are ensuring your building will be cleaned to the highest industry standards with a focus on safety, cleanliness, and avoiding cross contamination. And, if done with consistency, you will recognize cost savings through preventative maintenance, healthier staff and production, and a safer environment for staff and guests.

All Commercial Cleaning Companies Aren’t the Same

Commercial cleaning companies vary in the types of services they provide, so it’s important you know what you need, what they provide, their satisfaction ratings, and their training process. Some companies specialize in certain industries, while other specialize in just one area of cleaning (such as power washing), so be sure you know.

Check out online reviews about the company, ask for references and check the Karnataka Consumer Redressal Commission for any complaints. Ask them for their experience with businesses or buildings such as yours to determine their ability to successfully meet your needs.

Understanding Your Needs is the First Priority

A quality commercial cleaning company will always start with a building audit to determine the full scope of your needs and to provide you with a quote. Understanding your unique situation is important to reaching your goals, whether that be on an ongoing basis, or in a specialty cleaning need such as high-rise windows, specialty architecture or even pre- or post- remodeling clean.

Some companies will offer standard commercial cleaning such as trash removal, dusting, floor care and bathroom sanitation. While this is typical, your specific needs may require a more robust menu of options, so define them clearly, along with the cleaning company to make sure you are getting all your needs met.

Get a Fresh Start

If you have moved into a newly remodeled space, or know you will need to be doing a remodel either prior to move in, or shortly thereafter, you may want to consider a special cleaning prior to, during or after. Prior to remodel, cleaning may need to be done to create a clean area on which to build. During and after the process, dust, dirt, and construction debris can create a safety hazard, and a cleaning company can help keep it safe for production.

A fresh start can also include semi-annual deep cleaning to address any specific needs not handled on a regular rotation. When doing your building audit, consider everything within the realm of janitorial services. The cleaning company may be able to provide it, or they may have partnerships with others in the industry who they can refer for stellar results, saving you time.

Align with Your Goals

As with any outsourcing, you will want to really understand the value it brings, and make sure you understand what to do when something goes wrong, how the company is with communication, safety, processes and more, to make sure they align with your overall business goals and bottom line.

If green cleaning matters, if being able to provide services after office hours (or during) is important, or if you are in a highly confidential industry such as the medical field, you want to choose a company who will support that.
Choose Cape Clean Services.

At Cape Clean we have all the skills, tools and equipment needed to keep your office clean and safe all year long. Our effective and responsive team has genuine concern for our clients, meeting or beating any expectations you have for commercial cleaning in Karnataka. Our employees are trained for, and take pride in cleaning and maintaining your facility to the high standards required. We always use the latest cleaning technologies to insure your facility is clean and germ free. Contact us today to schedule your FREE building audit and quote, or call +91-9606822781

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NE women for AFSPA repeal

Dimapur, Sep 30 : Women leaders from the north-east of India today said the dehumanizing effect of Government of India’s black law the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, is being seen yet again in Jammu & Kashmir. Under the AFSPA women and children of the north-east have been the worst sufferers and the Government of India is being alienated, the Indigenous Women Forum of North-East India (IWFNEI) said today.

The forum met in Dimapur, Nagaland, on September 28. The meeting was attended by state convenors of Manipur, Tripura, Assam and Nagaland chapter, besides the forum officials.

“While deliberating over issues of mutual concerns, all the participants strongly expressed their resentment over the continuation of the imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958, which has been used particularly against the people of Nagaland and later to the whole of North-East Indian states in 1972,” the forum said in a statement today.

The forum said the imposition of the black Act to dehumanise people in political conflict areas is now being seen in Jammu and Kashmir. The situation has sharply attracted the attention of people everywhere, the forum said. It has forced the political leaders of India to debate on the necessity of retaining such Acts which only alienates the Government from the people, the forum said.

“As women of North-East India, who have been the worst sufferers of this draconian Act, both as direct victims and its consequences stands to testify that the AFSPA does not help a Government or its people in any way whatever the justification may be.

Therefore, IWFNEI resolved to condemn the imposition of the AFSPA wherever it may be, and calls for immediate revocation and withdrawal of the Act.”
READ MORE - NE women for AFSPA repeal

NE Youth Peace Festival set to be held

Dimapur, Sep 17 : The North East Regional Youth Peace Festival 2010 organized by Peace Channel is all set to be held on the September 19 and 20 at the Holy Cross Auditorium Dimapur. The Annual Peace Festival is organized to mark the International Day of Peace and the Peace Channel Foundation day which falls on September 21.
The mega event will host over 1200 youth from Nagaland as well as North East India. The highlights include, Interactive Group Sessions on Peace, Panel Discussion on the theme of the year – ‘Youth for Peace and Development’, Peace Celebrations, Peace Channel Awards, Cultural Fiesta and Peace Band live performances. A variety of cultural and folk items from the participants will also add colour and
Moangwati Aier, Deputy Commissioner, Dimapur will be the chief guest at the inaugural function to be held at 1:30 pm on September 19. Geoffrey Yaden, Chief Editor, Nagaland Post will be the guest of honour.
Nikhil Kumar, Governor of Nagaland will grace the occasion as the Chief Guest at the Valedictory and Peace Channel Awards function to be held at 1:30 pm on September 20.
Lt. Gen. N.K. Singh, AVSM VSM will be the Guest of Honour while Rev. Fr. Carolus Nisalhou, V.G. Diocese of Kohima be the patron. Three outstanding individuals will be conferred Peace Channel Awards during the function.
The final touches to the programme was made at the organizing committee meeting held at Holy Cross Campus on September 16,at 3:30 pm. The Meeting was attended by over 100 volunteers including teacher coordinators and students of various schools in Dimapur.
READ MORE - NE Youth Peace Festival set to be held

Peace prize for Sharmila

Rights crusader to use cash for deliverance of justice

Irom Sharmila with the Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize conferred on her by representatives of Indian Institute of Planning and Management, New Delhi, in Imphal on Saturday. (PTI)

Imphal, Sept. 12 : A Delhi-based business school today conferred Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize on rights crusader Irom Sharmila, now in judicial custody, in recognition of her courage in peaceful struggle for peace and justice.
The award, carrying a gold medal, a citation and a sum of Rs 51 lakh, was handed over by a three-member delegation from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) to Sharmila, who has been on fast for almost a decade, in her room at the security ward of the government-run Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital at Porompat in Imphal East today.
“I do not want any award. My fight is not for awards or money. My struggle is for peace and justice. I will not be happy until my goal is achieved,” Sharmila said.
Sharmila is the first person to receive the award that was instituted two years ago by the IIPM.
She remained seated quietly on her bed when the team entered and informed her about the award.
As tears rolled down her cheeks, she said: “I want the cash award to be used in delivering justice and punishing the criminals. I want the creation of an international fund by an international body for dispensing justice and I want to donate the cash award to such a fund.”
Sharmila began her fast-unto-death, demanding scrapping of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, from November 2, 2000, after troops of the Assam Rifles gunned down 10 civilians at Malom in Imphal West in retaliation to a militant attack on an Assam Rifles patrol the same day. Since then, she has been continuing the fast and survives on forced nasal feeding in judicial custody.
The award comes as Just Peace Foundation, Imphal, is holding campaigns to mark the countdown of a decade of Sharmila’s hunger strike. The countdown that began on July 25 will culminate with a cultural programme, Festival of Hope, Justice and Peace, to be held here from November 2 to 6. The programme will begin with an exhibition of paintings on Sharmila. About 12 local artists are now painting Sharmila’s pictures on the theme, Spirit of Sharmila.
The founder director of the IIPM, M.K. Chaudhuri, told reporters that the institute had selected Sharmila for the award because of her courage and determination to continue such a long struggle in a peaceful manner.
“Sharmila is a unique Indian woman. Our institute will continue to extend moral support to her cause,” Chaudhuri, who heads the delegation, said.
Sharmila’s elder brother Irom Singhajit, who was also present on the occasion, said awards for Sharmila did not bring happiness to their family. “We want all citizens of India join the campaign against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and ensure that it is scrapped,” Singhajit, who is the managing trustee of Just Peace Foundation, said.
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My howling Mashangva experience

TRUNCATED FROM the maddening crowd of Delhi is a greenbelt where its essence of natural tranquility reminds me of my hilly hometown of Bishenpur. A momentary stroll down the serpentine roads across the lush-green campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi is an incredible delight as it offers me the contentment of my long-lost Manipur days. My recent visit to the campus on August 21, 2010 was not only to touch the greenery but also feel the spirits of my far and away homeland through the music of Guru Ruben Mashangva, Imphal Talkies N Howlers, HR Experience and H Kom (Stoney).

I was late to the musical event titled ‘Shared Solace’ held at the School of Social Science 1 Auditorium, JNU under the philanthropic efforts of Burning Voices supported by Manipur Research Forum Delhi (MRFD) and E-pao. Amid the leafy arcadia of the campus I kept running for awhile in search of the auditorium where the musical event was staged. Fresh raindrops still clawed on tips of tree leaves after a sudden downpour. Sweet smell of mud I felt was from the rain-soaked red soil lying on roadsides. What fascinated me in the scene also included the western horizon painted in crimson of April sunset, appearing partially through tree boughs.

With a little help from my friends via mobile phones, I finally entered the auditorium, abandoning the serenity of the campus. I regretted missing the first half of the historic musical execution, which was unveiled in a perfect way to deliver a message of love, peace and unity to the people of my turmoil-hit Manipur. No matter how much I know about Tangkhul (Naga) folk music, but what Ruben crooned at the show touched my emotion deep inside, reminding me of those winter mornings I woke up to the sound of songs which wind brought down from the hill of Parengba during Christmas.

Parengba is a small Kabui village located on a hilltop, approximately three kilometers away from my Bishenpur home. Many lads from the village were in my class when I was in elementary school. They often told me stories about the ways Parengba and other neighbouring villages like Chingning Khun, Nungsai and Thangning Khun conduct musical sessions on Christmas nights. It was the soul stirring folk songs played in rhythm of a single-string instrument (a pena kind) that broke the eerie of mid-winter nights bathing in cold midnight dew. I sometimes left open my bedroom window to let in the harmonious wail that dragged me away from ordinary ecstasy of Christmas carol to a more abstract imaginary of folk tune.

‘Shared Solace’ was my first event seeing Mashangva performed live on stage along with his nine-year-old son Saka Mashangva. I have already heard uproar among many folk purists praising the significance of Mashangva’s music. But my maiden experience of his music at ‘Shared Solace’ was something else beyond what I expected from him. In fact, my knowledge of music is not mature enough to give proper appreciation of Mashangva’s songs. His music is perhaps a discovery of the finest facet of our homegrown tune which had been buried unnoticed for a long time.

Mashangva’s songs have to be understood in terms of its autonomy and ability to transcend time and place.

Moreover, ‘Shared Solace’ developed the buoyancy of widespread creation of new genres and ensembles through cross-cultural interactions in some forms or others based on the emulation of Manipuri rock music. Songs of Ronid (Akhu) Chingangbam, front man of Imphal Talkies N Howlers, imparted to a new standard in the realm of contemporary rock music. His folk rock-centric howl modeling on Bob Dylan marked a bottom line far removed from the occasional and sporadic fashion of conventional Manipuri music. The band’s lineup is energetically arrayed with Thingnam Sanjeev on lead guitars and bassist Raju Athokpam who extensively play big roles to churn out nerve racking protest songs viz. When The Home Is Burning, The Ghost Of Machang Lalung, Freedom among others that enthralled the crowd at ‘Shared Solace’.

Emerged as an exponent in the scene of Manipuri folk rock, Ronid has a gamut of songs in Meeteilon (regional language) under his belt, each of them drew from the influences including blues, soul, alternative and some rock n’ roll. His distinctive delivery of a Lai Haraoba (Manipuri folk) song fusing with blues in an alternative lyrics at the onset of ‘Shared Solace’ simply proved a characteristic contentment in the music of Imphal Talkies N Howlers. In the similar line was H Kom (Stoney) who delivered (boar hunting) Kom folk song composed in a refined blend with popular R&B tune.
After all, my earnest assumption is that ‘Shared Solace’ couldn’t have reached its crescendo without HR Experience. Loosely inspired by Jimmy Hendrix Experience, output of HR Experience was an amalgamation of different inputs thoroughly overhauled as a result of blues combined with free jazz, by rejecting the normative jazz practices.

Those who lately discovered the band lineup of HR Experience at the end of the event were astounded to see the new avatar of Manipur rock music. Of course, lead guitarist Chongtham Vikram and bassist R K Raju of HR Experience need no introduction if you are in the league of those who have been revolved around the Manipuri rock scene over the last two decades.

Vikaram and Raju had played pivotal roles to write success stories of several current and erstwhile rock bands including Cannibals, Phoenix, Eastern Dark and others across the region. Further, perceptible in HR Experience is its young and enthusiastic drummer, Aditya Singh. I have seen a couple of HR Experience concerts so far in which Aditya did magic, often taking unusual instrumental sounds as the basis of timeless jazz techniques sculpted with distorted conventional rock and roll. Overall concepts and performances I found at ‘Shared Solace’ forecasted a generation of would-be professionals in Manipuri music world.

This is not the end of my story as well as ‘Shared Solace’. What it took to make the musical extravaganza a complete affair was the premier screening of Songs of Mashangva, a documentary film by Oinam Doren, based on the life and works of Mangshava. The film depicts unique components of multiple trans-cultural interactions of folk music and its dynamic influences on social development. During his documentary filmmaking career, Doren is known for new milestones in cross-cultural exploration of North East Indian music.

Giving peace a peace march to unite hill and valley, ‘Shared Solace’ developed a wide variety of dynamism in the forms of music. The event really set new development in context of social, ideological and cultural similarities, and to understand sharing spaces among different communities as integral to the history and tradition of Manipur. Hope such event would someday help rebuild the common roof for all of us!

READ MORE - My howling Mashangva experience

Club revives bamboo art

Money and market hurdles to youth training scheme

Sivasagar, Sep 11 : A village that held on its tradition of exquisite bamboo art till hunger got in the way is scripting a revival.

Till a few years ago, almost every home in Bamunpukhuri Chariali, some 25km from here, would have a little pile of processed bamboo to be moulded into artefacts.

But grinding poverty forced most craftsmen to abandon their age-old trade and migrate in search of work and food.

Most found sustenance as daily wage labourers, earning Rs 100 a day.

A farmers’ club in the village is now coaxing the artisans to return and train youths to revive their art.

The Swaraj Farmers Club, with Suren Sarma as president and Hemanta Sarma as secretary, was formed in March, 2006, under the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development’s farmer’s club scheme.

“Convincing the villagers to co-operate to revive the art was not an easy task. Most of them had quit the profession altogether. We invited the expert craftsmen of the locality to train the local youth during a 15-day preliminary training,” said Hemanta.

A group of 25 youths, including three women, took part in the bamboo training that concluded on August 25.

“The trainees learnt how to make bamboo tea strainers, incense sticks, flower pots, miniature bamboo artefacts and other products of day-to-day use. We also plan to train them in making high-end bamboo products in the next phase,” the secretary said.

Hemanta was encouraged to rope in the artisans after Nabard supported a plan to send the trainees to Haryana in July.

The group was able to get orders of 2,000 bamboo tea strainers during their visit.

Shortage of funds, however, remains a concern.

“Local experts are hesitant to provide training as they earn more working as daily wage labourers or in other occupations. Moreover, we need money to buy bamboo for the training sessions. Non-availability of a market for the finished products is also a cause for concern,” Hemanta said.

A rural mart, that will open in Sivasagar town shortly, may give this endeavour a ready market.
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Racist Churchill let millions of Indians starve

 Book claims Churchill deliberately let millions of Indians starve to death
NEW DELHI — British prime minister Winston Churchill deliberately let millions of Indians starve to death, the author of a new book has claimed, alleging he was motivated in part by racial hatred.

As many as three million people died in the Bengal famine of 1943 after Japan captured neighbouring Burma -- a major source of rice imports -- and British colonial rulers in India stockpiled food for soldiers and war workers.

Panic-buying of rice sent prices soaring, and distribution channels were wrecked when officials confiscated or destroyed most boats and bullock carts in Bengal to stop them falling into enemy hands if Japan invaded.

Rice suddenly became scarce in markets and, as worsening hunger spread through villages, Churchill repeatedly refused pleas for emergency food shipments.
Emaciated masses drifted into Kolkata, where eye-witnesses described men fighting over foul scraps and skeletal mothers dying in the streets as British and middle-class Indians ate large meals in their clubs or at home.
Story continues below...

The "man-made" famine has long been one of the darkest chapters of the British Raj, but now Madhusree Mukerjee says she has uncovered evidence that Churchill was directly responsible for the appalling suffering.
Her book, "Churchill's Secret War", quotes previously unused papers that disprove his claim that no ships could be spared from the war and that show him brushing aside increasingly desperate requests from British officials in India.
Analysis of World War II cabinet meetings, forgotten ministry records and personal archives show that full grain ships from Australia were passing India on their way to the Mediterranean region, where huge stockpiles were building up.
"It wasn't a question of Churchill being inept: sending relief to Bengal was raised repeatedly and he and his close associates thwarted every effort," Mukerjee told AFP in a telephone interview.
"The United States and Australia offered to send help but couldn't because the war cabinet was not willing to release ships. And when the US offered to send grain on its own ships, that offer was not followed up by the British."
Churchill's record as a war leader against Nazi Germany has secured his place in history, but his attitude towards Indians attracts less admiration.
"He said awful things about Indians. He told his secretary he wished they could be bombed," Mukerjee said. "He was furious with Indians because he could see America would not let British rule in India continue."
Churchill derided Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi as a lawyer posing as a "half-naked" holy man, and replied to British officials in India who pleaded for food supplies by asking why Gandhi had not yet died.
"I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion," he told Leo Amery, the secretary of state for India. Another time he accused Indians of effectively causing the famine by "breeding like rabbits."
Amery once lost his temper after one rant by the prime minister, telling Churchill that he could not "see much difference between his outlook and Hitler's."
Amery wrote in his diary: "I am by no means sure whether on this subject of India he is really quite sane."
Mukerjee believes Churchill's views on India, where he served as a young army officer, came from his Victorian upbringing. Like his father, he saw India as the fundamental jewel in the crown of the British empire.
"Winston's racist hatred was due to his loving the empire in the way a jealous husband loves his trophy wife: he would rather destroy it than let it go," said Mukerjee.
Mukerjee's book has been hailed as a ground-breaking achievement which unearths new information despite the hundreds of volumes already written on Churchill's life.
Eminent British historian Max Hastings has described it as "significant -- and to British readers -- distressing."
Author Ramachandra Guha said it provided "for the first time, definitive evidence of how a great man?s prejudices contributed to one of the most deadly famines in modern history."
Mukerjee attributes the book's revelations to her training as a physicist.
"People suspected that something like this happened but no one really went through the evidence properly to find out what the ships were doing at the time, proving that grain could have been taken to India," she said.
"I didn't set out to target Churchill. I set out to understand the famine and I slowly discovered his part in it.
"The famine, you could argue, was partly a deliberate act. India was forced to export grain in the early years of war and in 1943 was exporting rice at Churchill's personal insistence. Britain ruthlessly exploited India during war and didn't let up even when famine started."
Mukerjee, a 49-year-old Bengali who now lives in Frankfurt with her German husband, believes the Bengal famine has also been air-brushed from Indian history books.
"I was never taught about it in school and my parents never mentioned it," she said. "There's middle-class guilt as they were employed in professions that meant they received rations. But villagers were considered dispensable."
Seven years of working on the book, and of hearing gruelling tales from famine survivors whom she tracked down in remote villages, have left Mukerjee with a harsh opinion of Churchill.
"He is often criticised for bombing German cities but has never before been held directly responsible for the deaths of so many people as in the Bengal famine. It was the greatest stain on his career."
"I find it very hard to be open-minded about him now," she said. "After all, he would have thought that I am not worth the food I eat."
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A new phenomenon called 'young adult' fiction!

Young adult literature in India is surprisingly prolific and publishers are vying to bring out high quality well-written and original new fiction in this segment, feel contemporary writers.

From this year, Vodafone Crossword started awards for the children's section too and entries are works of children and teenage prose fiction or non-fiction.

According to Shreekumar Varma, whose "The Magic Store of Nu-Cham-Vu" has been shortlisted for the Crossword award (Children's Award category), writers as well as publishers are taking young adult fiction seriously.

"When I was in Delhi a couple of months ago, I found there's so much more coming up for young adults. It has become a big market. The upside is that young readers are turning to books by Indian authors. The trend was to say 'we never read Indian authors, don't find anyone interesting'. Now a whole new genre has come into being in Indian publishing. I believe that's going to be a very strong focus from now," he said.

Varma says he is almost jealous of the young adult reader who is "getting things we never dreamed of".

For Shoba Naidu, modern young adult literature in India is in its infancy but is growing.

"There is still a dependency on the West for modern stories to interest this segment. Books for young adults rooted in Indian culture and ethos about growing up pains in the Indian milieu written by Indian writers are few and far between," the author of "On the Yeti's Trail" says.

"Publishers and writers are now realising that there is readership for young adult fiction. Indian publishers such as CBT and NBT were among the first to bring out fiction targeted at adolescents. Now, apart from small independent publishers, a few mainstream publishers like now Rupa, Puffin and Popular Prakashan among others are turning to this genre."

Monideepa Sahu, author of the fantasy novel "Riddle of the Seventh Stone", sees a phenomenal growth in the young adult literature in English segment in the past few years.

"New authors like me are being encouraged and efforts are being made by the Children's Book Trust, and events such as Jumpstart and Bookaroo, an annual children's book festival held every November in New Delhi, are also drumming up more interest in books for young readers. As for writers, we always took young adult fiction most seriously," she says.

"Desi young adult fiction so long was more a clumsy attempt between juvenile chick-lit and over-mature kiddie books, so the new crop is welcome. Vampires, ha-ha books and adventures are upon us and not a bit too late," says Bangalore-based author Shinie Antony.

According to 'She's a Jolly Good Fellow' author Sajita Nair, although young adult books are primarily aimed at teens, they are also enjoyed by people in their late twenties or older.

"In India, the demand for young adult fiction is on the rise and publishers are now plugging the gap by commissioning new writers catering to this age group," she says.

Nair, however, says "She's a Jolly Good Fellow" is not exactly young adult fiction as it does not target the teens.

"It addresses issues that concern young working professionals. 'She's a Jolly Good Fellow' is a hilarious yet thought provoking story of two young women officers trying to find their place in the male dominated Indian army. The novel follows their lives as they overcome odds in trying to prove to their male counterparts that they too are assets to the army.

"Due to its unique backdrop and storyline, this book appeals to a large cross section of readers. Young women especially, find it inspirational since it is about women fighting battles and making their mark in a man's world."

Varma says the age group that young adult fiction writers generally target can't be generalised.

"Once you pick a target group you tend to stay with that. I address both groups-- in the sense I write novels, stories and plays for adults as well as youngsters. But there is an 8 to 13 group and a 14 to 18 group. Of course, there are overlaps.

"Writers used to write exclusively for the younger group, but now there is a definite and very exciting readership of young adults. Which is bound to get very, very big in the coming years. so even if the writers are older people like me, if you can manage to connect with that segment, it's great," he says.

Sahu says she writes stories that enthral her, and enjoy playing with new ideas, bringing out their multiple facets and nuances.

"It's about writing the story I believe in, and not about producing something solely because it may attract a market or age group."

According to Nair, young adult Indians are a confident lot who take pride in being Indian.

"It has suddenly become 'cool' to be Indian and embrace everything Indian - be it watching Bollywood movies, wearing Indian clothes, reading Indian authors or participating actively in the growth of India. They are a smart generation with great vision who settle for nothing but the best," she says.
READ MORE - A new phenomenon called 'young adult' fiction!

Can Rahul do a Niyamgiri in the Northeast?

Last week, Rahul Gandhi offered to become “a soldier in Delhi” for the Dongria Kondhs, an endangered tribe fighting to stop bauxite mining project on the Niyamgiri hills in western Orissa.
The tribals say the project, if allowed, will destroy their livelihood, which has been tied to natural resources of the Niyamgiri hills for centuries. Proponents of the project, which is critical to the success of a giant alumina plant being built downhill by UK-based Vedanta Resources, say it will help industrialise, and bring prosperity to, the impoverished state of Orissa. Neither the protests nor the state government’s push for the project is unique. This is a fight raging across the country as new India seeks a stronger foothold on the global economic landscape. What is unique to Niyamgiri is the stand taken by a political leader of the stature of Rahul Gandhi and the speed with which the central government acted in denying clearance to the project.
It could mark the beginning of a major shift in the ruling Congress party’s stance on tribal rights and land acquisition.
Rahul’s vow at last week’s rally of the Dongria Kondhs has “sent out a clear message across the party,” said Congress leader Digvijay Singh, who had dropped by our office hours before I got to writing this blog. Singh was candid: “Congress party realises that you can’t fight the Maoists unless you have the people on your side.” Decades of neglect have alienated the tribals, and in Singh’s words “times have changed. They are getting assertive.”
That said, it’s going to be a long haul before Rahul Gandhi can change the course. Because, his stance is in direct conflict with basic tenets of the neo-liberal economic regime that the UPA government wants to usher in.
The Dongria Kondhs have been lucky because their fight involved a global company and thus made headlines everywhere. Unlike them, scores of tribal groups elsewhere in the country — from idu mushmi’s of Arunachal Pradesh to the Koyas of Dandakaranya forests spanning Orissa and Andhra Pradesh — are waging similar fights for livelihood that remain voiceless.
There are plans to build some 168 hydroelectric dams in Arunachal Pradesh and generate 68,000 MW of electricity to power factories in other parts of the country. Construction work has already begun 115 projects, without any consent from tribal communities, which own the forests that will be destroyed by these projects.
This network of dams will also have devastating consequences for Assam and Bangladesh. Already, the issue is acquire political overtones in Assam. The dams not only threaten livelihood of the tribals but also risk to their life and security as these are being built in what is considered a region of intense seismic activity.
Yet, the ongoing protests in the northeast are rarely talked about in Delhi. If the backlash from the tribals in this region really gets out of hand, the consequences would be more disastrous than what we have seen in the Maoist-affected states.
For the Congress, the rising discontent in the northeast is as much a challenge as an opportunity to regain the ground it lost out to political opponents through the past two decades. It is time, Rahul does a Niyamgiri there.

READ MORE - Can Rahul do a Niyamgiri in the Northeast?

Religious twist to ethnic issue

New Delhi, Sep 1 : The BJP today gave a sectarian twist to the Naga-Meitei equation with Rajya Sabha MP Tarun Vijay pitting “Nagaland for Christ” against “our Vaishnavite brothers” in Manipur.

The BJP MP, a former editor of Panchajanya, the RSS mouthpiece, raised the issue of the economic blockade by Naga organisations on National Highways 39 and 53 and the resultant rise in prices in Manipur valley.

The issue has been raised at the forum earlier, too, but Vijay’s line of thought seemed particularly divisive, a fact that only adds to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s worries. Only last week, at a conference of directors-general of police, Singh had expressed concern over the increasing identity-based assertiveness in the region with particular emphasis on the Naga-Meitei relationship.

The tribals in the hills of Manipur are mostly Christians while the predominant Meitei population in the valley is Hindu. The relationship may have been facing challenges but it is mostly on the political issue of land and is rarely seen in the light of religious divide.

“The United Council of Nagaland (he perhaps meant the United Naga Council) has the support of NSCN (Isak-Muivah) and their slogan is the sectarian ‘Nagaland for Christ’. Due to this our Vaishnav brothers in Manipur are living in the shadow of fear,” Vijay said.

A Manipur minister from the Meitei community said the Nagas used to be alienated primarily because of the practice of untouchability during the days of monarchy. Neither in Nagaland nor in the Naga-dominated hills of Manipur were they differentiated on the basis of religion.
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