4

N – National Education | #AtoZChallenge

N – National Education | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

India is one of the youngest countries of the world with about 38% of the population below the age of 18 years and the average age somewhere around 29 years. With so much young population India has a tremendous opportunity to outgrow some of the major western economies that are being laggard behind because of their aging population. The countries like Spain and Italy have average ages around 45.

For that young population to contribute to nation building education plays the most crucial role along with basic necessities of life. With the right education and guidance, they can enhance their skills and contribute to the nation. But the stark reality is; issues like ‘Education’ aren’t being even discussed at the time of the election. It is one of the things that have fared badly under the current regime.

During the 2014 elections, their manifesto stated – “Education must create minds free from superstitions, hatred, and violence and become an important vehicle to cement national unity, social cohesion and religious amity. Our endeavor should be to inculcate moral, ethical and humanistic values in the individuals and the society.” It laid a lot of emphasis on increasing the expenditure on education and take the total contribution to 6% of the GDP.

The reality is that during the initial four years it has continuously declined with a marginal increase in the last year. The current overall expenditure stands around 3.5%. It’s startling to notice with so much underperformance in this sector there’s hardly any talk on these issues during the current elections. They are back to their ways of Saffron v\s Green dividing.

They began with a swash-buckling minister whose education itself was under question and the fact of the matter is she lied under oath in the 2014 elections. It was because of authoritarian assaults and mishandling of cases like Rohith Vemula, JNU, BHU and so on that she was removed overnight. I still remember the sight when in Lok Sabha she declared herself to be a bigger mother of Vemula than her real mother and how she would be ready to be beheaded if she is found wrong. Well, the irony is that the government made a committee to look into the matter and you will find it comical that the committee consisted of only ONE member.

A plethora of new IIMs and IITs have been started with most of the seats remaining vacant. On one hand, it is not cost-beneficial, on the other, it simply dilutes the brand of the institution. We don’t want our IIMs and IITs to become the Amitys of the world, with all due respect to Amity.

Another scheme, to increase funding in national institutions was brought in with the aim of increasing their overall global ranking. To this date, the government is yet to release any data as to how much funding was released, what is its effect, has the ranking of any institutions jumped?

I didn’t anyone question the government when they awarded a private institute, ‘Institute of Eminence’ for which the foundation is yet to be laid and aiding them with a grant. How justified is that? This is all too much visible but the enigma is in the blindness of the followers.

Since the new National Education Policy promotes the agenda of privatization, commercialization and communalization it will simply accelerate the existing culture of loot by private institutions. Barring a single government in Delhi, no state or national government has come out in the open and spoken about the absurd rising prices of educating a child. The proposed NEP clearly disagrees with the constitutional vision of a common education system.

When we were in school, our parents used to evaluate public educational institutions too, but this has seen a tremendous decline. The previous Government of Rajasthan had decided to operate 225 schools on public-private partnership (PPP) model, which was nothing but handing over public schools to the private sector. Similarly, the previous BJP Madhya Pradesh government had planned to close about 15,000 government schools and in Maharashtra, the state government has decided to close some 13,905 schools that have a student count of less than 20.

The last budget from the FM highlighted a shift in providing the aide to a government institution. Now they will be treated as loans. All it will do is convert public education institutions into commercial units with an aim to generate profits.

With RSS figures now at the helm of key educational bodies of India, a systematic communalization of education is being done. For instance, I saw that they have simply changed the facts of history where they have depicted Maharana Pratap victorious during the war of Haldighati – that is way off from what actually happened. They are rewriting history just to suit their narrative of hate.

The steep cuts in funding for research is another key issue. When students protest against it they are dealt with force and when things become unmanageable for them they declare not even the students but the whole institute as anti-national. Can you believe the institute that has given the largest number of civil servants to the country is now tagged anti-national?

If the government had been really serious about the promises made in its manifesto there wouldn’t have been so many teaching positions vacant in almost every institute. Don’t forget that all this is laying the foundation for the future of India and if you want to rule the country in times to come, this is definitely going to backfire.

Forget about the left-wingers and neutrals, what about the right-wingers. Do they don’t want their children to get a proper education or they are simply satisfied with them taking to the streets and brandishing swords on every Hindu festival? The ball is now in your court for what future you want for your child.

For all those who still have hope,

For all those who believe every child should be educated,

For all those against the commercialization of education,

And

For all those who believe the current education policies should change…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 14th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘O’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

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15

I – Institutions Under Threat | #AtoZChallenge

I – Institutions under Threat | #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z

Image ref: The Quint

Every government when comes to power is responsible for the proper and impartial running of the administrative and government institutions. The government inherits the institutions from the previous governments, takes decisions and makes changes for improvement in them for the proper functioning of the democracy. Sadly, the institutions have gone through irreparable damage during the last five years.

When was the last time you saw four senior Supreme Court judges conducting a press conference and highlighting the interference of the executive in the matters of the judiciary.

Judiciary

As soon as the current government came into power they passed legislation to set up a National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), which would look into the appointment of judges. It sought to change the rules of appointment of judges and their transfers to the high courts and the Supreme Court by replacing the present system of the collegium. Though there are many critics of the collegium system itself but, the governments handling of cases of judges like KM Joseph puts them and their intentions under poor light as to why they want to change the existing system.

Article 50 of the Constitution, lays emphasis on the issue of separation of judiciary from executive: “The State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State.”

RBI

RBI, since its establishment in 1934, has been a crucial institution for the economy of Indian democracy. The government and the RBI governors have been on different pages since the start of the term of this government. The former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan whose policies of stable interest rates and tight control of inflation were seen by the Government as anti-growth was in a constant rift with the government’s financial policies.

Urijit Patel, the governor who succeeded him, considered favored by the government, didn’t seem to be in cordial terms with the government. In fact, he didn’t even complete his term and ended it abruptly. On many key issues, the government went ahead without even consulting the RBI.

“Governments that do not respect central bank independence will sooner or later incur the wrath of financial markets, ignite economic fire, and come to rue the day they undermined an important regulatory institution,” RBI deputy governor Viral Acharya said in a lecture last year.

CBI

Everybody witness the recent battle of CBI number 1 v/s CBI number 2. The common man thinks that it was created because of internal conflicts but not many of us know that both were closer to the current PM and were favored officials. After the fight became, the government arbitrarily, and perhaps illegally, sent both of them on leave, and a third favorite was named as the interim director.

“Not all influence that is exerted by the political government would be found explicitly or in writing. More often than not, it is tacit, and requires considerable courage to withstand,” Alok Verma (original CBI no 1) said in his petition to the Supreme Court challenging the government’s order sending him on leave.

On a single day, there were 144 charges put against the members of the ruling party in Delhi, out of which the court rejected half of them in one go. These were all politically motivated. In another incident, CBI arrested an MLA of the Delhi government. He was acquitted around 10 am in one particular case and was picked up again by CBI by 2:00 pm for another round of discussion regarding another case. They have literally made a joke out of this.

As per a Guwahati HC judgment, there are even issues with the legality and constitutionality of CBI as an institution. SC put a stay on this order later. There should have been urgent hearing of this matter but it is just being delayed. CBI was always misused and is currently being taken to another level.

Election Commission

EC is an organization that is so pivotal for a fair democracy. There have been issues after issues where their credibility has been questioned, whether the delay in declaration of election dates to compensate for the delay in government declaration of plethora of schemes or just writing a love letter to somebody calling the Indian Army as ‘Modi-ki-Sena’ – the rules are being constantly flouted while the EC happily looks the other way round.

As of yesterday about 66 retired senior public civil servants had to write to the President about the improper conduct and functioning of the Election Commission favoring one party.

Income Tax & ED

Constant raiding of only members of oppositions leaves no doubt. I didn’t see a single raid being conducted when a mining baron from Karnataka made a spectacle worth Rs 500 crores for his daughter’s marriage just next to demonetization. I am not saying that it is wrong, but when only one side gets raided then it becomes quite evident.

The appointment of heads of CVC, UGC and many other institutions not based on merit but just favoritism has raised doubts time and again. The dilution of RTI and CIC has been helpful in further weakening the institutions.

The heads of these institutions giving verdict and taking decisions out rightly in the favor of the ruling party raise even more doubts. What confirms their loyalty to these parties is when just after their term is over they simply go ahead and join the party.

A governor openly supporting BJP’s stand and stating that Kashmiris should be dealt with harshly and that it is not a Part of India or another governor persuading people to vote to the current PM. If this is not the misuse of the institution then what is?

I will briefly discuss the subject of educational institutions. The agenda behind the new education policy document is the agenda of privatization, commercialization, and communalization. Its election manifesto had echoed the demand for spending six percent of the GDP on education but ironically the spending has been continuously falling down during the last five years.

Every time when they are questioned about undeclared emergency they divert the question to the emergency of 1975. What they don’t realize is that every time they do that they conform to the fact that there is an undeclared emergency. What happened in 1975 was terribly wrong and the government paid for it but what is happening right now is equally condemnable and threatening to the institutions.

What is even appalling is the appointment of RSS personnel in key administrative bodies. The sad reality is nobody dares to question and whosoever does is made to keep quiet.

You won’t believe from the moment I decided to pick up this theme, I have got feedback that people are afraid for me. Even a friend pointed out that they are even afraid to comment on the posts whether they agree or disagree. That is the times we are living in and the ruling party wants us to believe that nothing is under threat.

Somebody save democracy!

For all those who believe in democracy,

For all those who believe in the independence of institutions,

For all those who believe that favoritism exists,

And

For all those who know that institutions are under threat…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This is the 9th post for the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z. My theme in Politics Category is ‘IPL – Indian Parliamentary League’, where I would be covering some relevant issues with the General Elections 2019 through the course of 26 posts.

Read the previous post here: IPL – Indian Parliamentary League

Please do visit tomorrow for the next post with letter ‘J’

I am also taking part in the #AtoZChallenge #BlogchatterA2Z using another theme –‘Dubai – City of Gold‘. If you love travel head over to the Travel Theme and share your feedback.

5

Vipassana – A Meditative Transformation

Vipassana – A Meditative transformation

Read the previous part Vipassana – The Sensations here

Day 6:

On sixth day the mind traversal was supposed to be done from tip of the head to the toe and then from toe to the tip of head.

I was starting to feel sensations all throughout my body now and many a times the energy would flow like a stream and would hardly have any resistance. The very moment I would love this feeling the stark grumpy baritone voice of Mr. Goenka would pronounce if you are enjoying the speed with which you are able to feel sensations and are able to traverse throughout the body that means you aren’t learning the technique.

He reminded the basic premise – not to enjoy anything – just observe, become aware, be mindful and maintain equanimity.

Day 7:

Focus was now on moving through multiple parts of the body simultaneously. For example – Earlier you were focusing on right arm and left arm one at a time now you were supposed to move through both the arms simultaneously. Continue doing so while moving from head to toe and toe to head. Just in case if you feel any of the part is left, comeback to it and try to concentrate on it individually.

By seventh I noticed that I was sleeping for more than three hours. In fact it didn’t feel like I require it more than that. In the mornings I was all refreshed inspite of less sleep. It was because my mind was getting calm and relaxed.

The critical part of sleep is to do physical and mental repair. By meditating for 11 hours a day for the past six days, the mental repair part was already done. Mr. Goenka even tells in one of the discourses that if you are practicing properly your subconscious mind is well rested and hence will require less sleep.

Photo by Mattia Faloretti on Unsplash

Day 8:

Eighth day you continue doing the same thing from the previous day but alternating between faster traversal and part-by-part movement from head to toe and toe to head. By now you would be able to pass through multiple organs together, even if you don’t feel it that is completely normal. The moments you feel it isn’t free flowing go back to doing part-by-part till the time you cover each part of the body.

I categorically remember during my morning session at 8:00 am I felt something burst internally right in the center of the chest. I felt it all throughout my body in a single go. It lasted for only a couple of seconds but it was so strong that I still remember it.

I discussed the same with the teacher in the afternoon, he told that is completely normal if you are practicing as per the instructions, but he cautioned me of not to be joyous about it and not to begin seeking it. Not every session is same. You might not get the same feel again ever. Some sessions are good compared to others but the learning was to be mindful of each and every one of them with the same perspective.

One more thing I noticed that I was beginning to feel no pain. I was able to sit through every session without any movement of any part. The urge to take a peek at the wall clock was also long gone.

Day 9:

The instructions in the morning session were to try to concentrate and observe sensations internally. If you were experiencing free-flow then you might be able to do internal scans. You could penetrate your body through your chest and exit from back or from left to right and right to left.

Try to control the mind and try different permutations and combinations. Then back again from head to toe and toe to head and then part-by-part.

The best news came during the discourse at the end of the day. Mr. Goenka informed everyone that we have successfully learnt Vipassana and it ends today. For the tenth he said we would be taught the third part of the ten-day Vipassana course. During the tenth we would be allowed to speak to each other…yeah you read it right we would be allowed to interact with each other.

All the dull mimosa pudica (Chui mui plant) faces immediately started glowing like morning sunflowers.

The Tranquil way

Day 10:

‘Mangal Maitri’ – was the last and third part of Vipassana. This day is also referred to as ‘Metta’ day. In the morning session Mr. Goenka teaches us how after learning Vipassana you are full of peace, compassion, love and kindness and why it is necessary that you don’t stop here and try to impart and spread it.

Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t mean to get more people to sign up for the course. It simply meant at the energy level. Simply pray that there is peace, love and kindness throughout your neighborhood and the world.

After that session at around 11:00 am the ‘Noble Silence’ officially ended.

For the first time in my life I didn’t feel like talking to anyone. I was too overwhelmed by the feeling of surviving the whole ten days.

Our belongings were returned post lunch on the same day.

I placed my first call to mom. Since birth this was the only time I had not spoken to mom for ten straight days.

Day 11:

After the early morning session and breakfast we were allowed to leave for our places.

I felt refreshed, calm and at peace. With renewed energy I headed home.

For all those who are calm,

For all those who are kind,

For all those who are at peace,

And,

For all those who have successfully completed Vipassana course…

It’s not a Goodbye,

but It’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter

#MyFriendAlexa #ContemplationOfaJoker #CirqueDuJoker

4

Vipassana – The Sensations

Vipassana – The Sensations

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Read the previous part – Vipassana – My Experience here

Mind is the most mischievous of them all. When one is trying to concentrate on a particular thing, it will get distracted and run away to every nook and corner of the world rather than focusing on the task at hand. I wasn’t able to focus on breathing for more than ten seconds in a go. I decided to discuss it with the instructor.

He told, “Its completely normal. People don’t get sensations at all; at least you are getting them for ten seconds. More importantly this technique isn’t about anticipating, just be aware about the present…what you can feel. Everything will come at it’s own pace.”

Day 3:

The focus on third day shifted to sensations on the moustache area – the rectangular area just above the upper lip and below the nostrils.

Sensation was defined as anything you felt like, an itch, perspiration, coolness, dryness, touch of air from breathing, heat and any physical impression you can feel. You were not supposed to create any liking or disliking for any of them. One had to become mindful and aware of them and let it pass.

By third day I realized that there wasn’t any particular need to over stuff oneself with food as the breakfasts and lunches were decent veg food, which was sufficiently nutritious to survive. On the previous two days because of over-eating I was feeling too sleepy and was barely managing through the meditation sessions.

I would slightly open an eye, watch everyone…many of them with an annoyed expression while some of them into deep meditation, keep checking the wall clock and wait for the sessions to get over.

Who would have thought that meditation can also cause sore legs, numb hips, strained back and pain at unmentionable places.

Main Meditation Hall at Pune Vipassana Center

Day 4:

We learnt about the technique of Vipassana. Earlier we were only focusing on breathing and sensations in the upper lip area but in Vipassana one is supposed to traverse the whole body. You are supposed to be mindful of the sensations on your head, face, ear, neck, shoulders, chest, back and so on.

Focus on one part of the body and try to feel the sensation there. Trying concentrating till the time you actually observe something but the trick is not to anticipate. If it happens then great otherwise witness it for a minute and then move on to next part of the body till each and every body part is covered. Come back to the part which was left and you didn’t feel any sensation.

Pain and numbness are also sensations and that was all I could observe. No matter how much Mr. Goenka voice told not to develop any aversions for any sensation; the human instinct would still take over. You would slightly move your cushion, sometimes remove the pillow, change the legs while sitting cross-legged, do everything but the pain would find its way and so would the aversion.

With each passing day more and more cushions were becoming blue and vacant. It was good enough to increase your self-doubt and derail your motivation.

Day 5:

On this day you would scan from the top of your head – the tip of your scalp and traverse through whole body, part by part but in a systematic order till you reach the tip of toe. Try to concentrate and become aware about sensations in this order, wait at the part of body where you aren’t feeling anything and then proceed. Remember not to create any aversion or craving for any sensation.

Then comes the session at 2:30 pm. The session of self-actualization as to what extent you could push yourself. I was just sitting but never knew that sitting alone can cause so much discomfort.

In this session you learn the art of ‘Adhisthana or Additthana’ – ‘Strong Self-Determination’. This means you aren’t supposed to move even slightly or shift your position or open your eyes. You need to continuously sit in a posture for long durations of 60-90 minutes.

It was really excruciating. I was sweating profusely with no sense of any part of my body at the end of it. It took me literally two minutes to unfold my legs and properly stand up.

Now I understood why most people ran away on the sixth day.

By the end of fifth day during the QA session I saw my roommate waiting for his turn to come. I feared the worse. I knew I wasn’t supposed to interact with him in any form but his mere presence was kind of encouraging for both of us to keep going till the end.

Day 6:

My roommate didn’t come for the early morning session. I knew something was amiss. I contacted a dhamma sevak, he told my roommate couldn’t take it anymore especially after yesterday’s Adhitthana session and he too ran away.

For a moment I was heartbroken. He made it till the sixth day and still went away. But then I read on the notice board – no aversion and no craving.

I headed for the next session.

For all those who can concentrate,

For all those who have aversions,

For all those who have cravings,

And

For all those who can control their mind…

It’s not a Goodbye,

but it’s a GOOD BYE.

Read the next post for day 6-10 – Vipassana – A Meditative Transformation here.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter

#MyFriendAlexa #ContemplationOfaJoker #CirqueDuJoker

6

Vipassana – My Experience

Vipassana – My Experience

Read the previous part – Vipassana – My Inhibitions here

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

I was still lost in my thoughts when a volunteer approached me and informed me to take a bed sheet, pillow and blanket from the shelf and head towards my room. (I was given a room number at the time of registration). He also informed about a small session that would take place, right after tea is served at 5:30 pm, in the meditation hall.

I noticed that the whole center was divided into two sections by a fence consisting of plants. To my disappointment there was completely different area for male and female including the dining area. The main meditation was the only place where both of them were allowed together. My dreams of somehow surviving these days by bird-watching (girl-watching) too were shattered and I wasn’t even allowed to scream…or cry…or run away.

Fence separating the two sections

I reached my room; it was pretty basic but neat and clean, and placed my luggage under the bed or the shelf that I was supposed to sleep on. It was a huge stone sheet with an old battered hard thin mattress on top of it. I was already exhausted from the travel and the constant battering of my mind. It was a depressing feeling and felt prison like. It was 3:00 pm and I made my bed and decided to take a nap.

From a small nap it got transformed into a deep slumber and I got up at 5:45 pm in a rush. To my surprise there was another guy sleeping on the other side of the room on another stone sheet. I was immediately pissed off at them for giving me a roommate for ten days and I am not even allowed to ask his name.

I shook him and signalled him the time. We hurriedly reached the mess where we were the last two guys to reach. Everybody had had his tea and left. To my happy surprise there was some husked rice (poha) along with tea. I knew there wasn’t going to be any dinner and hence I decided to hog on it.

At 6 pm the session began and it was in a presentation format. The discourse was to be in delivered in audio and video format. These were recordings of Late Mr. S. N. Goenka – the man responsible for bringing Vipassana back to India. The main thing that was highlighted was the five main precepts to observe and the timetable for the coming ten days.

My room in Pune Vipassana center

The Five precepts:

1. To abstain from killing any being,
2. To abstain from stealing,
3. To abstain from all sexual activity,
4. To abstain from telling lies,
5. To abstain from all intoxicants.

The very strict and difficult timetable – the school timetable felt nothing in comparison to this:

4:00 am            Morning wake-up bell
4:30-6:30 am    Meditate in the hall or in your room
6:30-8:00 am    Breakfast break
8:00-9:00 am    Group meditation in the hall
9:00-11:00 am   Meditate in the hall or in your room according to the teacher’s instructions
11:00-12:00 noon Lunch break
12 noon-1:00 pm Rest and interviews with the teacher
1:00-2:30 pm    Meditate in the hall or in your room
2:30-3:30 pm    Group meditation in the hall
3:30-5:00 pm    Meditate in the hall or in your own room according to the teacher’s instructions
5:00-6:00 pm    Tea break
6:00-7:00 pm    Group meditation in the hall
7:00-8:15 pm    Teacher’s Discourse in the hall
8:15-9:00 pm    Group meditation in the hall
9:00-9:30 pm    Question time in the hall
9:30 pm            Retire to your own room–Lights out

That’s nearly 11 hours of meditation alone and people think that it’s a vacation or retreat. No it is not.

The ‘Noble Silence’ was to be observed from here on. It means the silence of body, speech and mind.

After the session I walked about in the open green space and then retired for the day. Walking was the only exercise that was permitted. I kept shifting and turning in that harsh bed and sleep decided not to pay me a visit that night and before I realized a huge gong like bell rang.

Day 1:

It was already 4:00 am and the time to get up and ready for the 4:30 am meditation session in the hall. I convinced my mind that it’s a new morning and I am here to learn something. All excited I reached the main meditation hall. The hall was filled with blue colored cushions properly spaced out, accompanied by a pillow with registration numbers on it. I found mine and adjusted my cushion and sat down.

There were about 120 students (I counted the cushions), two male instructors and one female. It was evident by looking at others that they barely managed it to the hall still half asleep and constantly yawning. There were three dhamma sevaks also – a dhamma sevak is a volunteer who helps the instructors and the students in case if anything of importance arises.

The course began. We were supposed to close our eyes throughout the process. The voice of Mr. Goenka soothed through the speakers. He told that the first three days would be all about ‘Anapanasati’ – ‘mindfulness of breathing’.

It was just about focusing on your breathing.

I was ecstatic to see the evening tea accompanied by a banana and some puffed rice. This was only made available for the first timers. I went in with the expectation that I would get none but here I was getting some.

The 7:00 pm discourse was a video played out on a projector. We saw Mr. Goenka for the first time. These were all recorded from his previous sessions before his demise in 2013. I was too tired and spent to focus on anything anymore. The only thing that caught my attention was, he mentioned, “Maximum people run away on the 2nd and 6th day.”

For some reason it made me more determined. I knew about the bets that would be already making rounds outside placed by my sister and cousins. I made a mental note of it to survive these two major days.

Day 2:

Same routine. Gong at 4 am…lethargic walk to the meditation hall and then the session begins.

The main focus on this day was on exhaling and inhaling. If someone doesn’t feel it, they can take a couple of deep breathes and then back to regular breathing. Just be mindful of the breath going in and out.

Everyday I would come up with stupid questions in my mind to put across to teachers and at least speak a word in the whole day but ironically all of them were answered at the end of the day during the discourse leaving me smiling and more importantly quiet.

At the end of second day the guys in my neighboring room went absconding – they simply ran away.

Day 3:

I ran away…

Naaahhhh…

For all those who are early risers,

For all those who love meditation,

For all those who can observe breathing,

and

For all those who knew I won’t run away…

It’s not a Goodbye…

But It’s a GOOD BYE.

Read the next one for Day 3-10 – Vipassana – The Sensations here.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter

#MyFriendAlexa #ContemplationOfaJoker #CirqueDuJoker

1

A to Z of Mental Health – Book Review

Front Page – A to Z of Mental Health

Book: A to Z of Mental health

Author: Arjun Gupta

Reviewed By: Manas Mukul

Publisher: Self – published

Price: Free (As of now)

Pages: 60 (pdf)

Language: English

My rating: 2.5/5

According to WHO, India is one of the most depressed countries. The modern frantic lifestyle, stressful workplace environment, toxic social atmosphere, nuclear families, alienating individuals and to some extent genetics; all are playing their part in making our lives more taxing and hence the exponential surge in cases of mental illness and depression.

Gone are those days when visit to a psychiatrist was always tagged as ‘one’ has gone mad. People these days are more open to discuss their mental illness and have slowly started getting acceptance that whosoever, is suffering with mental issue is not a lunatic. With proper medication and supervision along with affectionate care and love these mental illnesses can be better dealt with if not cured.

‘A to Z of Mental Health’ by Arjun Gupta tries to put this issue into spotlight. He gives his best to bust the myths, state facts, highlight causes and suggest remedies pertaining to several mental issues including depression. For me to do this review honestly I do have to mention this. ‘A to Z of Mental Health’ seemed less of a book and more of a detailed case study on depression. Now that it is out of the way lets move ahead with the review of the content.

The book doesn’t have a cover page plus there is a knight of steel logo that embeds a Dark knight and a superman logo, which doesn’t have a correlation with the book and about which Arjun might have some copyright issues. Furthermore, there are few images missing and a lot of formatting issues, which I am sure Arjun will take care before taking it forward.

There are a lot of positives going for the book. The content is diverse and adequately researched where the author touches base with many topics that lend a lot of credibility and depth. I still felt he could have gone all out and incorporated more areas. Some of the stats are really astonishing and can really work as an eye-opener for people working in this sector. This one really caught my attention – ‘In 2008, the number of people at risk of suicide in India was 2.1 out of 10. This number rose to an astonishing 8.21 out of 10 by July 2016.’

The vocabulary of the book is decent and only 60 pages surely helps it being a fast read. The author carefully tackles the gloomy and difficult theme of mental illness and depression and brings life to such context with few jokes and quotes stitching it close to his personal encounter with depression. ‘It is easy to smile, it is much harder to be happy’ – a quote from the book.

In this fight against mental illness and depression this is just a start and we have a really long way to go. But I would like to congratulate Arjun that it is a promising start and would encourage him to pursue his path. I am going with two and half out of five for this good debut effort from Arjun Gupta for ‘A to Z of Mental health’

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Click the image to Download

One giveaway, he is soon launching his youtube channel to discuss on the same issue. Do look out for that. You can download a FREE copy of the same Ebook here.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Blogchatter for giving me an opportunity to publish my work in an ebook format and showcase my work to the world. You can download my Ebook from the same carnival here.

 

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2nd India Affiliate Summit

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2nd India Affiliate Summit

India Affiliate Summit 2016

India Affiliate Summit 2016

The second edition of the annual gathering of affiliates marketing leaders in India – 2nd India Affiliate Summit (IAS16) – hosted by – IAMAIInternet and Mobile Association of India in association with vcommision was held on 1st and 2nd day of September of 2016 at the Leela hotel, Ambience Mall, Gurgaon.

The event gives a unique platform to marketers to discuss the innovations and dissect the implications of Affiliate Marketing. This has been an enriching initiative by IAMAI to bring Affiliate aka Performance Marketing industry together, providing educational sessions on the latest industry issues along with networking opportunities for affiliate marketers.

The India Affiliate Summit 2016 is designed to revolutionize the Affiliate marketplace in India. Spread across 2 days of networking & innovation, the Summit is segregated to provide you the opportunities to hobnob with fellow Affiliates & Brands alike, with the Affiliate Street being the main attraction. The Affiliate Street gave marketers a chance to immerse, converse and disperse insights on performance-based marketing.

Affiliate Street

Affiliate Street

IAMAI itself highlights on its India Affiliate summit website as to why one should attend the summit. Apart from lead talks, keynotes and group discussions, a lot of emphasis was laid on networking as well which was significant from the fact that the during the course of two days there were designated slots for networking.

Why to attend IAS 16

Why to attend IAS 16

The top affiliate marketing leaders addressed a variety of topics including;

  • Demystifying new age Affiliate Marketing
  • Cracking the Affiliate Marketing Code
  • Synergizing Brand building and Affiliate Marketing
  • Importance of data quality and Campaign Optimization
  • Means or the End: Last Click vs Multi Click attribution
  • Reality Check: Pitfalls of Affiliate Marketing
  • Mobile Affiliate Marketing: World of Apps, Pops, re-directs & advertising
  • Ordering its way to growth: Affiliate for ecommerce/food tech
  • Anatomy of perfect Affiliate Marketing
  • Navigating the Affiliate Marketing Ecosystem: Lessons learned and helpful hints
  • Into the crystal ball: New age drivers for Affiliate Marketing
How Shoutmeloud increased its revenue by 200% within an year

How Shoutmeloud increased its revenue by 200% within an year

In between the plenary session a lot of Lead talks were also there. One that stands out, me being from a blogging community, was of Harsh Agarwal, founder shoutmeloud.com. He spoke on how shoutmeloud increased its revenue by 200% within one year. Some of the other big names which were present at the summit were:

  • Parul Bhargava – CEO of vCommission
  • Aasheesh Marina – Search Quality at Google
  • Aashish Bhatnagar – Head of Mobile & Affiliate Marketing Shopclues
  • Abhilash Premanand – Mobile Marketing & Digital Marketing Specialist at BankBazaar.com
  • Amit Sharma – Head of Digital Marketing & E-commerce at Max Life Insurance
  • Ankur Singla – Founder and CEO of Helpchat and OneDirect
  • Anshul Srivastava – Head of Digital Marketing at BigBreaks.com
  • Anurag Gupta – Founder and MD at DGM India
  • Ashwiny Thapliyal – Regional Head of Sales India & Southeast Asia at TUNE
  • Swati Bhargava – Co-Founder at Cashkaro

To summarize the couple of days of India Affiliate summit; It focused on how Affiliate Marketing can help businesses and brands, how you can grow your business, networking with more than 1500 attendees and more than 70 delegates, what are the keys trends and what all things will hold the key to future as far as Performance Marketing is concerned.

I would like to take this as an opportunity to thank IAMAI and Blogadda for making it possible for me to attend the event on both the days.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul