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Monthly Archives: January 2017


“Follow your instincts,” says Rana Ayyub

Kavya & Reshma

BENGALURU: Rana Ayyub who formerly worked at NDTV and Tehelka, now works as a freelance journalist after resigning from her post in Tehelka has been in the limelight since the release of her book ‘Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a cover up’. She carried out an undercover investigation on the bureaucrats and police officers who were allegedly involved in 2002 Gujarat riots. Some have regarded the book as highly controversial while some call it a brave step.

In a recent interview given to Communique at Mediacon 2016, Rana Ayyub opens up about the aftermath of releasing her book and more

1) What made you write Gujarat files?

I thought I never wanted to write a book for 10-15 years. I thought I was too raw to get myself involved in this. But this was something like a book that was never meant to be a book. I have gone to every possible news channel under the sun and every possible newspaper.

They refused saying that Narendra Modi is coming to power and they couldn’t afford to support my book in public. The only thing left for me was to either publish it on a blog, which didn’t make much sense or put it all out together in a very cohesive manner and to put it out in the public domain.Which is why, the book. There was no other way I could put it out, so it had to be a book.

2) How did your life change once the book was released?

Earlier when people used to look at me at the airport they would say, ” Hi, Rana from NDTV.” And they would come to ask me for selfies. Now, when people look at me they say, “Gujarat files”. I mean my name was changed.

Otherwise, there are a good number of colleges in the country who want me to speak to the students. People are reaching out to me, asking tough questions. Life has changed also not for the better because I’ve lost a lot of friends in the media. I used to do a lot of television presentations and write articles. That is not happening anymore because they’re really scared of me writing anything about my book. The other day I went to India Today, a BJP spokes person, for the first time acknowledged my work and said that Rana Ayyub has written a book, which is a bunch of lies.

I’m glad because that for the first time BJP acknowledged the existence of my book. People have clearly identified me as an enemy, a paraya, who’s not supposed to be touched. But there’re also good things that have happened. People, who are tired with the kind of journalism they are seeing, see a light of hope in this book. They’re actually asking questions that need to be asked. I think it’s really encouraging.

3) Was the timing of the book release just a mere coincidence?

See, I was trying to release it earlier this year but then it was said to me that Bihar elections were around the corner and you can’t do it. Before that they said, it was Lok Sabha election time in 2014, and then Maharashtra election and you cannot.

Every year, at some point of time, there was just something or the other going on. So, I released this book after the states had gone to polls and people had put their votes. Three days later I released my book. I didn’t want to give any political contention. Congress and AAP approached me in 2014 asking me to take a press conference and do it.

I said the moment I do it through a press conference; the purpose of the book would be lost. This book is not for Congress or AAP.

4) What pointers will you give aspiring journalists about investigative journalism?

Follow your instinct, that’s all. Nothing comes anywhere close to instincts. And also please don’t read up on the subject on which you wish to instigate because you’re already clouding your mind with a perspective.

I have never done a Google search on a subject that I’m going to report because I’m already building a perspective at that place. I go from the scratch; I build up from a fresh page and always trust my instincts. I think it’s the best weapon in investigative journalism.

5) What are your political views as to what a government should do for its citizens and how it should govern?

I’m anti congress, BJP, AAP and all the parties. For a simple reason that a journalist can’t have a political ideology. I’ve my own socialistic ideologies as I come from a family that believes in socialism. But that’s again my personal view and journalists generally don’t have an ideology that they’re aligned to and clearly you can see the divide in these days. We clearly have a right wing and a left wing. I neither belong to left wing nor right.

But I’m certainly pro social justice. Unfortunately, having said that, in these days we have journalists who take political sides and I’m glad they’re doing that. At least they didn’t give the pretense of being neutral. Having said that, that’s not what journalism was meant to be.

Journalism wasn’t about taking sides. Today people ask me why are you playing with BJP with this book? I say, don’t you see that even the congress isn’t taking up the book? It’s such a big book but the congress isn’t talking about it because the book also writes about congress and all the misdeeds of congress. So, you have to understand the book isn’t anti BJP.

It’s anti those people who’ve opposed justice and which also includes congress. But corruption and AAP has to be called out and that’s how journalism should be and that’s how political journalism should be.These days journalism is only about access.


Rise in diabetes concerns doctors in Bengaluru


BENGALURU: There is a hike in the number of diabetes patients year by year in our country. Around 11% of population affected by diabetes in Bangalore and 8% population in rural areas. The only solution is to spread awareness about the nature about the disease. This was the views of Dr I. A. Khan Consultant Physician & Diabetologist, Shifaa Hospital Bengaluru worrying the alarming rise in diabetes in the country.

Diabetes, often mentioned by doctors as diabetes mellitus, describes a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is insufficient, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar typically experience polyuria (frequent urination); become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia) and feel extreme tiredness and weight loss.



“People are unaware about the disease and not ready to change the unhealthy life style. Therefore, every month we conduct free Diabetic camps in and around the city. Those who are detected will be called for repeated counselling and treatments,” mentioned Dr I. A. Khan.

Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India, (RSSDI) is one of the largest organisations of diabetes healthcare professionals and researchers in Asia. A research ‘Global Estimates of the prevalence of diabetes for 2010 and 2030’ found that the world prevalence of diabetes among adults (aged 20–79 years) was 6.4%, that affected 285 million adults in 2010. The report says that it will increase to 7.7%, and 439 million adults by 2030.

India is the top most country with 50.8 million adult diabetes patients in the world. By 2030, the rate will increase up to 87.0 million people with diabetes. Between 2010 and 2030, there will be a 69% increase in number of adults with diabetes in developing countries and 20% increase in developed countries.

 “Diabetes is classified as a metabolic disorder. The way our body digests the food contents is called as metabolism. Most of the food contents are broken down into glucose. Glucose acts as sugar in our body and this is the main source of fuel for all physical work and energy. Insulin is a hormone produced by pancreas in the body. After eating, pancreas produces insulin to bring down the glucose level in the blood. In a person with diabetes, the pancreas either stops or reduces the insulin production. This leads to increased level of glucose, which affects the body. Even though body has sufficient glucose, it will not enter in to the cells due to decreased insulin level. Thus, the glucose will pass through the urine and will lead to repeated infection,” explained Dr Khan.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), fact sheet diabetes for accounted 3.4 million deaths due to high blood sugar in India. WHO also states that 80 percent of diabetes deaths occur in underdeveloped and developing countries and it will double by 2030 (taken from a study conducted in 2010). Diabetes is a lifelong condition.


A day in the life of Hampi Nagara


HAMPI: The bus from Bengaluru reached Hospet which was fourteen kilometres from Hampi, at 4am. With no local busses in sight, the only way to reach Hampi was a long auto ride. After deciding on a reasonable price, the auto driver asked not to sit too close to the window as the ride was bound to get chillier. And he was not joking about it. The temperature dropped as we rode closer to Hampi.

My body began to shiver and my teeth clattered. Soon, I felt my fingers and toes go numb and I half expected that frost bite would follow. As we got out of the city, there were no street lights as far as my eyes could see. The auto driver confidently drove on the narrow winding roads without using headlights. The only time he switched the lights on was when he sensed a sharp turn ahead. This familiarity of the road was a result of the numerous trips that he made from Hospet to Hampi and back every day.

After reaching Hampi, he made me aware that he was also a tour guide and offered to show me around Hampi for a nominal price. However, being the explorer I thought myself to be, I decided to explore the historical city on my own. As I waited for the first ferry to go to the other side of the river, I clicked pictures of the rising sun. People lined up as they too awaited their ride to the other side of the river. Now, when I say “the other side of the river” it does have significance to it. Popularly known as ‘Hippie Island’. This place is heaven for foreigners who travel to Hampi for a break from their busy lives back home.


                 Virupaksha Temple           CREDITS – RESHMA

After reaching Hippie Island, I headed to the Laughing Buddha Café to freshen up and replenish my energy for the exciting day ahead.Eyes closed, I tried to drink it all in. The cool breeze ruffling my hair that was trying hard to caress my cheek, revamped version of a Sanskrit hymn playing in the background, with the aroma of coffee served in front of me. It was peaceful. I opened my eyes to the view of Tungabhadra River with rocks that resembled elephants taking a dip in it and the silhouette of the Virupaksha temple through the thin curtain of mist. Far off I could see villagers of Hampi bathing and washing their clothes in the river.

At the café, as I waited for my breakfast to be served, I struck a conversation with Sylvain a French man who was seated at the table next to mine. He visited India for the first time ten years ago has been visiting India ever since. Sylvain, has travelled all over South India and Hampi is one of his favourite destinations. I noticed the symbol ‘Om’ tattooed at the nape of his neck and asked him, what had prompted him to get the tattoo. To which he replied saying that he was fascinated by the presence of the symbol ‘Om’ all around him.
With a hot cup of coffee in my hand, I took a whiff of it like an addict before I sipped it. In front of me was a statue of a small Buddha that sat at the edge of the compound. At the Laughing Buddha café, I bathed in the warmth of morning sun, unknowingly letting my tensions flow away.

This was how I was swept off my feet by the historical wonders that had endured the test of time. I started my one day trip to Hampi with a nice English breakfast at the ambient Laughing Buddha Café. In spite of the good ambience and food, I felt unwelcomed in the café. Being an Indian, I did not expect the colour of my skin to affect the attitude of the “Indian” waiters towards me. To be treated like an outsider in my own country was a first. Though it was a little upsetting, I found it equally amusing. It made me wonder if Indians in a white land were treated the same way. After my breakfast, I bid adieu to Sylvain and continued my walk to the bank of the river, eagerly waiting to be awed by the ruins on the other side.

I crossed the river in a coracle to explore the ruins of Hampi. The entrance of Virupaksha Temple was busy with school children who had come for their excursion. Virupaksha Temple, located on the banks of the river, has the distinction of being on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The minute details of sculptures of gods and goddesses is the highlight of the temple built way back in tenth century AD.The carved sculptures were symmetrically pleasing to one’s eyes.

Inside the temple, a group of people surrounded Laxmi, the elephant. They fed her and took selfies with her. What was fascinating was that she interacted freely with people, unchained. Such was the confidence of her mahout in his training. The temple was not just home to Laxmi, but groups of langurs and macaques.

As you come out of the temple, on the right, a hill with a flight of steps carved into it will lead you to the Hemakunta group of temples. The short climb will unravel about thirty five temples scattered across a rocky and uneven terrain. This hill top will give you a view of the Tungabhadra valley.Sitting at the hill top and watching the sun set is probably the best place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing.

My trip would not have been complete if I dint visit the famed Hampi Bazar. The alleys of Hampi Bazar were filled with tourists trying to get the best price on things that caught their eyes. From intricately carved stone sculptures to wooden show pieces that were placed in fashion that was aimed to work as bait. Though overpriced, these articles managed to find their way out of Hampi with the tourists.

How to ‘Drop it like it’s hot’ this season


BENGALURU: India is currently experiencing an in-between weather for light layering, oversized shirts, light sweaters and turtle necks to comeback. From pantsuits to denims and bomber jackets, everyone in the fashion industry is on-trend with layers. Péro sneakers and white squeaky shoes are all in the trend.

Though the weather is a ruckus, this gives people in Bangalore a chance to explore their options from their wardrobe. For example, leather leggings are always chic throughout the year.

This cusp of weather and fashion season can either ‘make it’ or ‘break it’. It becomes difficult for one to strike the right balance between the two. Although you may want to bring your summer-autumn and autumn-winter wardrobe out together, it becomes important to understand that your whole ensemble has to stand through the chilly breezy evening and it has to complement the get-up.So your mix-and-match cannot go wrong at any given point.

Coming to shoes, you can just ditch your high heels and wedges for closed toe heels and block heels. It is for a fact that even if you have a gazillion pair of shoes, there is always space for another pair!


                                                CREDITS – JESSICACHAW.COM

But if you’re someone who likes to keep things less ‘bling bling and kaaching’ then ‘athleisure’ shoes are just perfect for you. “Athleisure is everywhere. It’s in work wear, casual wear. This is the trend that will go on this year. Athleisure is a billion dollar trend currently,” says Mohini Jadhav, creative lead from Ajio.

They are popular for a casual day and people who can carry unusual sense of style can consider options like intergalactic stilettos, geometric wedge or mirror covered platform heels or any other bright bling colour to make your style look out-of-the-box.

So ladies keep your cards ready and pick the right match this season. The top 7 Summer Spring trend for the year suggested are:

  1. Off shoulder dress/tops

Why: To look party-pretty-prefect is difficult. Be it a brunch with your girls or date night, this dress reigns supreme above all other. Off shoulder tops aka Bardot tops are making a comeback in both retail and runways. The off shoulder has made a comeback with an interesting twist this year, it is being accentuated with ruffles and flares (sleeve patterns). If there is any trend we are currently obsessed over, then this is it. This off shoulder makes the weather a total breeze. A must have!

  2.Metallic dress/ shoes

Why: When Kendal Jenner can pull it off, so can you. A metallic dress will always have my vote. A merrymaking staple, you can always count on trusty metallics to ensure that your fashionista title remains intact as you dance your way through the parties. I think the white sneakers have become too staple for every girl, it has become very monotonous now. Maybe it’s time to up the ante. Slip on these shiny shoes to make a bold statement for any party.

  1. Oversized

Why: this is the right time to rock the 90’s look. The denim jackets are literally everywhere. An oversized jacket is just what you need. An oversize is a must have for summer spring this year.

Anything with interesting graphic detail, contrast tipping on necks and sleeves, elbow length, define the oversize proportions.


                                             CREDITS – STYLISHWIFE.COM

4. Ruffle

Why: A little ruffle mixes well with androgyny and brings back the ever classic shirt a sweet update. Ruffles are an important detail, more contemporary and structured forms emerging this season. “ If you are going to wear a loose ruffle shirt, keep it simple by pairing it with a skinny jeans so that the proportions balance out,” says Katja Esters, creative lead at Ajio.

  1. Romantic bows and ties

Why: knots and ties have been updated for the summer spring collection for next year. Stay ahead of time, guys!

  1. Tassels

Why: because it’s “No hassle only tassels”. Summer will be all about being cute, colourful and trendy and tassels exemplifies it. Tassels are the easiest way to make your way to look trend and chirpy

Cyber Bullying: A rising threat on digital platforms


BENGALURU: In today’s world, cyber bullying wreaks havoc in the lives of its victims. Cyber bullying involves sending violent and threatening messages to a person through the medium of technology. Bullying in the offline space entails a physical act like harassment or sexual abuse but with the advent of internet, teenagers and adults being more virtually present, the risk of bullying has spread from the real into the virtual world. Cyber bullying is a different type of bullying which needs special attention from parents and teachers apart from the efforts made to curb bullying.

Debarati Halder, advocate and Managing Director, Centre for Cyber Victim Counselling in her research said that cyber bullying is a type of online harassment which is defined as hurling harsh, rude and teasing remarks through messages or online platforms targeting a person’s physical structure, educational qualifications, personal life, family, sexual orientation, habits and outlook.

Regarding cyber bullying, there are certain new policies in school which will help the child if they are facing any kind of bullying, in and out of the class. The students are encouraged to look up for types of cyber bullying and ways to prevent it, the school organizes presentations, discussions and classroom meetings to make the students aware of the effects of cyber bullying. The school staffs are also made aware of the effects and consequences of cyber bullying and about the policies of the school and how to regulate them.

According to reports from Gurgaon polic, cyber bullying cases were on a rise in Gurgaon (Gurugram) when compared to the previous years as the cops filed almost 103 cases in 2016 and on December 29, almost 19 cases were filed at a single go. Most of these frauds were done through phone calls as the bullies called up the victims personally to dupe money from them which was approximately around 10 lakhs.

In the face of this new development, government has put in place a law to counter cyber bullying. The Information Technology Act (2000) aims to safeguard the victims of cyber bullying under section 66A, 67, 67A, 67B, 69A, 70 under Chapter 11. Section 66A provides punishment for sending offensive messages through the communication platforms. The Act was in effect from October 2000 and it was later amended in Lok Sabha in 2006 and further amended in Rajya Sabha in 2008. Hence the act can be called the Information Technology Act (2008). In the new act, Section 66A has been ruled out by the Supreme Court by saying that it is unconstitutional in its entirety.



However, the relevant section of this Act has to be brought into play by victims which seldom happen. According to the Cyberbullying Research centre, those who are bullied would get into depression or commit suicide too. The various observations on cyber bullying have shown that when the kids and teenagers get bullied they generally do not inform their parents and peers because they feel that their parents would curb them from using the internet rather than taking action against the bully.

According to a survey conducted under the commissioned project by Microsoft Corporation in 2012, India is ranked third when it comes to cyber bullying, after China and Singapore. 33% stated to have been bullied online in China and 1 out of 3 students stated to have been cyber bullied in Singapore. Ipsos- a global market research company which conducted a survey in 2012 stated that Indian parents believed a child was being cyber bullied whereas 53% of the Indian parents were aware of the issue.

Statistics have shown that the cyber bullying has only increased in India over the year and accordingly in an Intel security report, “Teens, Tweens and Technology study 2015”, about 81% of children in India from the age group of 8-16 are active users of social networking sites out of which 22% stated to have been bullied online and 65% reported to have witnessed cruel behaviour online. Whereas according to a recent Telenor India WebWise survey by Norwegian telecom giant Telenor in 2016, 15% of students reported to have been bullied online and 10% complained to have faced humiliation online through pictures/videos and 35% of kids reported of their account being hacked. The recent survey was conducted across schools in 13 cities in India involving 2727 students which shows that cyberbullying in India has increased with time.

Sanheeta Ved, a psychological counsellor at ‘Mind Matters’, one of the clinics in Mental Healthcare in India said, “Cyber bullying is different for different age groups. It exists in many areas of life and is not susceptible for a target group. It can happen to children as well as adults and older people.”

She further added, “Everybody is using technology as a means of communication because of which personal face to face communication is lost. Everybody is looking to have more friends and likes on facebook and when you are looking at something like that, the tendency to get popular is really high. The root cause of cyber bullying is low self-esteem.” She also said that cyber bullying is threatening to expose a person and most of it happens in texting also. “People do things they are embarrassed about and the fear and guilt within them stops them from taking any action or speaking to anyone like their parents or peers,” she added.It is not only students and teenagers in schools and colleges who get bullied over the internet but celebrities suffer as well.

Vahbiz Dorabjee, an actress on Indian television who was a victim of cyber bullying said, “It happens with many actors where fans take their craziness to another level. It is very cheap and disgraceful as people on the Internet do not know the real you. If the bullying and calling names crosses the limit you have to take it to the cybercrime or else ignoring is the best thing to do. Giving no reaction is also some kind of a reaction. There are certain parameters set and if people try crossing it then I would definitely file a report to the cybercrime.”

Debarati Halder, the Managing Director of the Centre for Cyber Victim Counselling (CCVC), Chennai made a distinction between cyber bullying and online harassment and stalking. They are inter related to each other, she points out. She tried to reach out to the victims through her blogs and by organizing awareness campaigns in schools

She said, “In my research, I have found that both youngsters and adults are affected by cyber bullying. One of the main reasons is jealousy. In the case of kids, bullying usually starts in school as students bully each other regarding their body shape, beauty, marks or sexual orientation. Most of the times children do not know where to stop and where to begin.” She said that with cyber bullying increasing today, it can also lead to other offences like impersonation, defamation or sexual harassment.

She agreed that children who might have been bullied may not know whom to report it to and how to do it. It’s the parents who generally complain about their kids being too addictive to the social media sites and the counsellors will only know what is happening once they interact with the kids. Comparatively, the teenagers from the age of 16-18 are more aware of what bullying is and they mostly end up talking to the counsellors if not their parents and peers.

“The statistics of cyber bullying have been increasing over the years. Cyber bullying was not prominent and children were unable to understand the nature of the offense as most of them did not know that this is actually an offense,” she further added.

She pointed out that with the increasing usage of social media everything that happens generally goes public. She added that when kids are taught bad touch and good touch in school, they must also be taught about bad talk and good talk. They must be taught to not hurt others while talking and not to cross the limits irrespective of their age. She stressed on teaching the kids the right usage of public platform so that they don’t misuse it.