When you hear the word ‘meditation,’ you may think of people who have disconnected from mainstream society.
Daily meditation may seem pointless. You may find it impossible to sit in a spot and do nothing.
However, it has benefits for your happiness and health. So who should practice it?
What Is Daily Meditation?
Meditation stresses awareness of yourself and your surroundings. It means being in tune with the moment.
Meditation guides your body to pay attention. It makes you focus on your breathing and feelings. You’ll have to notice them without judging them. Also, you can’t try to change them, even if they are negative.
Meditation causes your brain to stop processing information as it usually would. The frontal lobe of your brain, which takes care of your reasoning and planning powers, slows down. The Parietal Lobe, which is in charge of the information about things around you, shuts down too. Finally, the Thalamus, which controls your senses, decreases information.
The Benefits of Daily Meditation
Besides becoming more mindful and aware, you’ll experience the other benefits of daily meditation. Meditating for just ten minutes a day will cause many positive changes.
First of all, it decreases stress. Breathing in and out helps you to regain your attention. Therefore, it reduces stress. Also, being aware of your thoughts will help you gain control of negative feelings like grief and anger.
Thinking more clearly will help you make sound decisions. You won’t react on impulse when you feel upset. Also, you’ll learn to control the pace of your life.
Furthermore, meditating will also allow you to develop new skills. Focusing will help you to cook a new dish or solve a math problem.
The beauty of meditating is that you can do it anywhere, at any time. Do it in the park if that’s where you feel comfortable. You may do it in your bedroom it that’s your happy place.
Daily Meditation is a Must if You Belong To One Of These Categories
Everyone will benefit from meditation. It will help you, in particular, if you belong to any of these five classes of people.
1. Anxiety and Depression
First of all, meditation will reduce your worries and sadness. Because it makes your more present, you’ll slow down your overactive brain. It slows down the spinning wheel of feelings. Also, it helps you to accept situations without judgment.
2. Stressful Jobs
If you have a stressful job, you are probably looking for a way to manage a workload that’s always increasing. You will handle it with meditation.
Business leaders are starting to rely on it because it sharpens memory and attention. It also improves creativity and helps them make major breakthroughs.
3. Concentration Problems
If you have problems concentrating on your work, tap on meditation. It helps people with adult ADHD because it helps you control your attention.
A study of 22 adults with ADHD showed that those who went on meditation training programs showed a decrease in ADHD symptoms.
4. Stressful Relationships
Do you wish to improve your relationship with your partner? Meditation will strengthen your ties to him or her. It lifts your mood and increases your willingness to connect with others. It also makes you a kinder, more compassionate person.
Finally, overcome your exams with meditation. It will help you to direct your attention to your tasks.
How to Practice Daily Meditation
So, how would you practice daily meditation? If you’re a beginner, use these tips to focus your attention.
First of all, choose a quiet time and place to meditate. Meditation is relaxation time, so pick a time when nothing will disturb you. You should meditate in an area that’s free of distractions.
Also, meditate while your stomach is empty because a full tummy will make you doze off.
Warm up first. Doing yoga exercises will help you to manage your restlessness and inertia. Then, take deep breaths because a steady breathing rhythm leads you to a state of meditation.
Sit in the lotus position. This posture helps because it straightens your spine. It also relaxes your neck and shoulders. Keep a smile on your face as it will relax you.
Finally, open your eyes slowly.
Practice daily meditation if you want to improve all areas of your life.
It’s a question which makes us dig deeper into who we are. “Why is music important to human beings?” Maybe it’s just like breathing.
Although music is an artform, it’s so much more than that. It reaches places where no ordinary mode of speech can travel, and it brings out things that we never knew existed within ourselves.
It is almost as if music hypnotizes and pulls hidden tokens from our past as well. Why is music important? Maybe it’s because music is timeless, necessary, and beautiful, all rolled into one.
Music builds a poem
Often, in my younger years, I wrote poetry. I scribbled verse after verse, looking to crack open something within and set it free. I had other motives as well, to make beauty and expression alongside my piano lessons. But why talk about poetry when music is our focus? It is because the music was the life of my poetry, it guided me, inspired me and filled each line with its own blood.
On one particular night, as I enjoyed hours of music, I felt a loud pleading from inspiration. I had previously been inspired by poems from a 19th-century anthology, and with the music ringing in my inner-most being, I composed a poem. Since I was then a member of a writing site and forum, I posted my poem for all my friends to see. Later that night, I was harshly criticized by a troll, named Drew.
Drew asked me where I stole the poem, and I said it was original. He then asked me that if it was original, then where did I get my ideas. To him, based on my previous work, this poem was just too sophisticated for me. I told him that music had laced each line of the poem and that writing this piece had been a dance. Of course, he didn’t believe me, or at least he said he didn’t.
Music affects us physically and mentally
So, why is music important? Music is ancient, most of us know this. Music played the largest part in the raw beginnings of the human language. Before the articulation of words, there were sounds which closely mimicked song. Even now, as we talk to our newborn babies, we use “singsong” voices and cute sounds instead of structured sentences.
But to explain everything that music has done and created would take writing a book. So, let’s just examine music and it’s power to enhance the mind and body, shall we.
Stimulation from birth
The mind of a child can be transformed by music. I am sure most people heard about the effects of music on the unborn fetus. You’ve probably seen many images of headphones on pregnant bellies. Well, if not, just trust me on this one. Even small children automatically dance and seem to understand music well before taught to do so. Why? Because, as I have mentioned before, music is ancient and it’s the basic building block of communication. Why shouldn’t we recognize it?
Synchronizing has positive outcomes
Let me ask you this, “Why is music important in groups?” So, you might not think about the effects of singing together as being all that circumstantial to the brain power of music, but it is. Apparently, synchronized voices have a way of uniting otherwise anti-social groups. Voices combining is actually like pulling people together and teaching them to harmonize, not only at the moment but also afterward.
Palvi Sisko Eerola said,
“Singing together increases affiliation within the group and may even make people like each other more than before.”
Musicians have higher IQs, respectively.
Studies have shown that playing musical instruments can not only result in a high IQ but can also improve verbal and visual skills. Visual perception and cognitive abilities in children can improve greatly due to extracurricular music classes.
Music doesn’t just affect the mind either, it can also greatly influence our physical health as well!
So, I have anxiety, and some days are like hell on earth, truth be told. But, when I listen to certain music, I find my anxiety symptoms fade, and they are replaced with a calmer exterior. This is aside from the positive mental influence that music has on my condition. But there are other physical improvements caused by music! Check it out.
Our hearts love music
So, in keeping with what I said about anxiety, look at it from the perspective of heart disease. Music has the ability to decrease the heart rate – well, unless you are dancing like a maniac, that is. Of course, some fast-paced music does increase heart rate as well. In Twenty-three separate studies, results show that blood pressure and anxiety both were reduced in heart patients when listening to an increased quantity of certain types of music.
Woah! Wait! Could music also cure traumatic brain injuries?
Recent studies show that music rehabilitation has been successful in cases of stroke patients, where regaining gait and mobility was the objective. There are also cases in which hearing, which is said to be compromised in 60% of most stroke patients, can be improved or even recovered with the use of music therapy.
Music keeps us motivated, this can affect our desire to stay fit!
Now this one comes from personal experience. In past and recent years, whenever I try to motivate myself to get physically fit, I always make more progress with music. In fact, I don’t know many people who work out without music of some kind. Rhythms coordinate with our movements which make exercise more fun than a chore. This is another way music is so inspirational and yet medicinal as a mindset.
Why is music important to human beings?
What a loaded question! Well, I didn’t write a book for you today, but I think I unloaded a bit of what music is good for. But even if music didn’t do any of these things, it would still be a treasured part of our reality. Without music, the world would be a dull place, indeed.
Why is music important and feel like a mandatory part of life? Whether you play an instrument, conduct a symphony or just listen to your headphones while dancing in the kitchen, as long as the music is a part of your life, you are partaking of true happiness. You have found a mate for your soul.
For in that moment, the moment that rhythm takes hold and chills spread down your arms, you are finding what it means to truly be in love.
The next time one of your loved ones nags at you about spending time with family, you may want to take the grumbling seriously.
Studies prove that you should, for many reasons.
Finding quality time in this busy day and age is a challenge, but not impossible. There are a few ways you can set it aside for your loved one without feeling the stretch. Studies Show that Spending Time with Family is Important.
Research has shown that family time has profound benefits.
Six years of research compiled by scientists at the University Of California proves that loneliness predicts death. The study focused on 1600 elderly participants. It revealed that of the seniors who died, 14% had regular visitors. In contrast, 23% had no family or friends who came by to see them.
In general, elderly persons are more likely than young ones to place importance on relationships. They are also more tolerant of faults in their family members because they do not like being alone.
Spending time with family strengthens family ties. Also, families who enjoy group activities will develop strong relationships and handle stressful situations with ease.
In this busy day and age, it is a luxury for parents to spend time with their children. Making time for the family will allow you to teach your kids valuable life lessons like kindness and fairness.
3. Nurtures positive behaviors
Consequently, kids will start to develop positive behaviors because loved ones influence them. A 2012 study reflected that children who ate regular meals with their families performed better in school. Furthermore, adolescents who spent more time with their parents tended not to abuse alcohol.
If you wish to see positivism in action, refer to this example.
A mother observed that her teenage daughters were spending less time at home. She conducted an experiment and started baking cookies for them when they returned from school.
The girls ignored the cookies at first. As time went by, they began to stop at the kitchen table and grab cookies from the plate. Eventually, they sat down for tea and began to have meaningful conversations with her.
4. Creates memories
Another reason for having family time is to make memories. Children share more about their lives in these situations that if you ask them ‘What happened in school today?’
5. Healthy lifestyle
Also, your lifestyle will become healthier than before. Family members will remind you to have nutritious meals.
6. Relieves stress
Finally, chatting with your loved ones will help to reduce your stress. Talking about worries eases it.
Ways to spend time with your family without feeling stretched
With everyone having busy schedules, spending time together as a family is a stretch. The good news is that there are ways to make it less burdensome and more pleasurable.
1. Spend time with your children
First of all, make it a point to spend time with your kids. You do not need to go out of your way. Sit down for dinner so you can have family conversations. Going out with them for walks after dinner will allow you to teach them life lessons.
Children love fixing broken items. These may seem like tedious tasks, but curious kids love them. They want to see what lies under the faulty kitchen sink.
You can also read together with your kids. Besides improving their language skills, you can use the time to share sound values with them.
Another way to spend time with children is to leave messages for them. Although you may not have the chance to say hello, they will get pleasant surprises from your texts.
2. Get in touch with your teenagers
Growing teens often feel that their parents step over their boundaries. But all is not lost.
Take the time to talk to your teenagers while driving them to school. It is convenient and allows them to share the goings-on in their lives. Another way to connect with them is through social media. Have chats with them over Whatsapp and step into their lives. It is the way they make sense of the modern world around them.
Teens may go through growing pains and are a handful. That said, they love to volunteer. Getting them to do volunteer work allows them to make a difference. It also lets you spend quality time with them.
3. Remember your parents
As said before, elderly parents feel lonely. If you do not live with your parents, give them a call. Doing this takes no time at all. It is always special for a parent to get a call from a child.
Also, have a meal with them at least once a week. Cook family meals together. You will learn what makes a dish special for the family.
4. Make time for your spouse
Of course, your spouse is the most important person in your life. Keep in touch with him or her with instant messages throughout the day and turn your mobile phone off when you are alone. You can connect in no time at all.
Also, make an effort to start the day together. Even if it is a quick cup of coffee, breakfast is an excellent time to connect.
Another great way to spend time with your spouse without taxing yourselves is to exercise together. Having a nightly jog or walking in the park is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your significant other.
5. Stay in touch with your relatives
Remember the aunts and uncles who may annoy you? Spending time with them may help you more than you realize. But you do not have to stress yourself over connecting with them.
Creating a group chat in Facebook or Whatsapp will allow you to keep in touch with everyone. With a group chat, you only need to reach out to them once when organizing functions. Keep track of special events like birthdays or anniversaries.
Spending time with family is important because it may benefit each member in more ways than you realize. If you have suggestions, do leave them in the comments!
Drinking of alcohol is a bad habit. Even the Western countries where alcoholism is quite common are fighting very hard to reduce the alcoholism within the society. All scientific studies have conclusively proven that alcoholism is bad for the individual and the society. Let me present you some studies in this regard.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), every year about 2.5 million deaths all over the world are alcohol-related. Heart disease, cancer, accidents and suicides contribute to these deaths. Alcoholism is a progressive illness and damages the Central Nervous System (CNS), resulting in varying degrees of dysfunction — deficit cognitive functioning, dementia, etc. People addicted to prolonged binge drinking are prone to strokes — a condition of haemorrhage or deficient blood supply to the brain. Alcohol abuse is also responsible for a variety of psychiatric symptoms, viz. anxiety, depression, confusion, panic disorders, bipolar disorders and narcissism.
In a study funded by the European Commission, the social cost of alcohol across Europe was 125 billion Euros from healthcare, crime and work issues in 2006. The authors suggested that the damage to society by alcohol could be limited by increasing alcohol taxation, tightening advertising rules and making labeling on the dangers of alcohol misuse more clear. ‘’If alcohol taxes were used to raise the price of alcohol in the EU by 10 per cent, over 9,000 deaths would be prevented in the following year,” they claimed. Alcohol is the third biggest public health problem in Europe after tobacco and high blood pressure.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), an estimated 32 per cent of fatal car crashes involve an intoxicated driver or pedestrian. Alcohol affects attentiveness and one’s ability to make quick decisions on the road, react to changes in the environment and execute specific, often difficult manoeuvers behind the wheel. With alcohol, driving becomes dangerous and potentially lethal. No wonder drunken driving is a punishable offence in most parts of the world.
The impact of intoxication on crime is also well established. The most distinguishing aspect of crime under the influence of alcohol is that it is directed against people whom the drinkers love and know. According to NCADD—‘Alcohol is an important factor in crime. Most of the crimes against known people are done under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol is more likely to be a factor in violence, where the attacker and the victim know each other. Two-thirds of victims who were attacked by an intimate (including a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend) reported that alcohol had been involved, and only 31 per cent of victimizations by strangers are alcohol-related.’
Alcohol consumption loosens inhibitions and often contributes to the commission of different types of crimes. According to the estimates of the US Justice Department, 5.3 million adults (36 per cent of those under correctional supervision at the time) were drinking at the time of their conviction offence; and 40 per cent of state prisoners convicted of violent crimes were under the influence of alcohol at the time of offence.The more violent the crime, the greater is the chance that alcohol is involved. The US agencies spend more than $100-billion-a-day to put the individuals in prison with serious addiction problems.
Indian parents may not be aware of all these studies of the Western world. However, they know from their experience that alcoholism is bad for the people and society. Therefore, they don’t support drinking for their children so that they can lead a better life. Sources:
It is absolutely false that IAS, IFS and IRS officers are controlled by politicians. I am an officer of IRS for last 25 years, and I have never faced any interference from any politician. If you don't use politicians for your personal benefits, they can't use you for their purpose. The fact is that no one in this country has as much security as the officers of IAS, IRS or like. No one can do any harm to them, including the top political leaders. They are protected by Constitution. Even the PM or CM can't do much to them except transferring them from one place to another. Still they will get their same salaries and perks. Media creates this hype as if the officers are exploited. They are not. Most of them are honest and work according to law. However media shows the exception rather than the norm. As they say in media: "If dog bites a man, it is no news. If man bite dog, it is news." Don't get carried away by media and popular public perception.
Most people join IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS or other civil services in India without knowing the full facts. You already know why you should join civil services. Yet most of you may not be aware of the negative sides of the civil services, which you will realize soon after you join. It is better that you know all the facts before you take a decision about your career. Let me explain now why you should not join the Civil Services in India.
1: Less Recognition for Action The promotions in the civil services are based on seniority. Your destiny is almost fixed by your UPSC rank and what you do in next 30-38 years does not ensure you faster promotion. Initially, many officers work very hard to deliver results and change the system. However, soon they realize that there are several colleagues, who don’t work even half and yet get all the benefits as them. When you work more, take more decisions, there are more chances of committing mistakes and hence more chances of getting punishment. Many officers hence gradually stop taking bold decisions and try to pass the tricky issues to their successors.
2: Corruption It is a fact that many people are attracted towards civil services due to the tales of corruption. They know some officers or they have heard about some officers who have made millions. The reality is that there are several honest officers in the government, but they too are viewed as corrupt by the common people. You are often painted with the same brushed as the most corrupt officer of government by media. The fact is that there is no illegal money available for any post of a civil servant. You have to do some illegal activity or allow the illegal things to go on to make money. When you do any illegal act, there is always a risk of getting caught even after you have demitted the office. Your reputation is 100% spoiled even if you are not caught. Even when you have somehow made a lot of illegal money, you don’t know how you use that money for you. You can’t build any asset or buy new cars and live the life of luxury, because you may face vigilance action or face CBI or Income Tax raid at your house, which can spoil your career forever. You may even end up in jail. Every year, dozens are top civil servants are arrested and put behind the bar. Hence, you can’t sleep properly once you have accumulated lots of ill-gotten money. You may also suffer many illnesses due to the mental tensions. Once you start doing illegal activities, you can never go back to your honest life because you will always be blackmailed by your superiors and juniors who know where you committed the illegal acts. Corruption is one way traffic, with no U-turn.
3: Transfers People join civil services to occupy the prominent positions like DM, SP or Commissioners. They get their recognition, perks and privileges on these posts. However, they don’t know how long they can continue in these postings. I was posted on election duty in Paudi (Garhwal) in 2007. Among the other election observers was a lady IAS officer, whose husband was also an IAS officer of the same batch. Presently both husband and wife were in central deputation in Delhi. She told me that in last 14-15 years, she and her husband were never posted in the same station. They used to meet only when a meeting is called by the Commissioner or CM. Only when they came to Central Deputation, they stayed together. In Paudi I found that the DM and Commissioner were staying alone in their big-bungalows and their families were in Dehradun. Even SP and SDM were staying alone since their spouses were in IAS/IPS and they were posted in different stations. You must be ready to live alone, if you choose All India Services.
4: Issues with Central Services I have already explained the problems of IAS and IPS. So you may be thinking that why not join IFS, IRS or other Central Services where you don’t have these problems of transfer/posting. You are right. Central services provide you best family lives but that doesn’t satisfy most people. Most people write civil services again and again to become an IAS officer. I know a few people who got into IAS after 4-6 years of working in their other jobs as IPS, IRS etc. It is because, the type of recognition an IAS or IPS gets at such young age is unparallel in other services. They get the big bungalows, red-light cars and uniformed guards which are not available to other services. But once you join IAS, IPS, you face different types of problems as already explained.
5: Political Interference We all have heard about the political interference in India, particularly in the IAS and IPS? Often the politicians use them to get their work done and the officers use them to get their postings and also protect them in case of any problems. You may have to often compromise to keep the bosses and politicians happy. Soon you may get trapped forever in their clutches. You can neither leave them nor live with them. There is hardly any political interference in Central Services, but the politicians are also often indifferent to these services.
6: Few Bright Spots In the IAS and IPS, you are the most important person when you are SP or DM. Even the CM may be directly in touch with you. All this happens within just a few years of your joining the service. However, as you get promoted to DIG, IG or Commissioner/Secretary, your public profile is diminished. There are many IG, ADG and even DG in every state capital but not many people know them. The IAS officers also do not have the public profile of a DM when they become secretaries after promotion. The situation is different in Central Services where your importance rises with every promotion. However, the central service officer don’t ever have that level of social adulation.
7: Salary Structure While the starting salaries of a civil servant are decent (around Rs 50,000), his growth of salary is just @ 3% per annum (plus the Dearness Allowance). The salary of the Chief Secretary is hardly Rs 1,80,000 pm (or Rs 1,35,000 after tax). The ratio of the peak salary to staring salary of an IAS officer is just four times. However, the story is quite different in corporate. For example, the Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka has been given an annual salary of USD5.08 million (over Rs. 30 crore) and USD2 million in stock options. Since the entry level salary of Infosys is around 3 lakhs per annum, the top man is paid more than 1000 times more salary than the entry level employee. In most of the corporate, the ratio is more than 100 times. It is difficult for an honest civil servant to ever afford a good house in a posh locality in any Metropolitan city. The low salaries were earlier compensated by the liberal pension given by the Government which used to be revised after every pay commission. However, once the pension benefit is stopped, you don’t have a back-up support after your retirement.
8: Long and Hard Preparation While most people think that they can get into their choice service in their first attempt, the reality is quite different. The average age of IAS and other service is around 27-28 years. This means that an average entrant of a CSE spend around 6-7 years after his graduation to get into civil services. Still only 1 in 500 is able to get into Civil Services and 1 in 5000 gets into IAS (proper). Many IAS and IPS officers end up in cadres which they don’t want to go.
9: Personal Life While the family life of central service officers like IRS may be normal, the lives of IAS and IPS are quite challenging in the initial years when you are heading a district. Most of the districts in India are quite backwards with hardly a good school for your children. You are working 12 hours a day and hardly have any time for family. You also make so many enemies doing your duty for the country and you family may be fearing about your safety and of their own.
10: Diminishing Social Relevance In the pre-liberalized era, government officers were looked as the Mai-Baap (Mother-Father) for a common citizen of India. Their salaries were comparable with private sectors but their perks were far superior. They were playing leading roles in social development. Today, most of the space is filled with private sectors. Our Honorable PM Shri Narendra Modi once said, “I believe government has no business to do business. The focus should be on Minimum Government but Maximum Governance.” Today a company like Infosys or TCS provides around 40000-50000 jobs each year while UPSC and PSC put together don’t appoint as many people. The personal wealth of Mukesh Ambani is $20.8 billion (Rs 137280 Crores) which is more than the total tax collection of several Indian States in a year. The value of top 10 companies in India is more than the total revenue of the Government of India and all State Governments put together. The Tata group alone has market capitalization of Rs 7,00,000 crores. It is also a fact that most Indians don’t respect civil servants as they are perceived to be inefficient and corrupt. They are often seen as hindrance to the growth of India rather than an instrument of growth.
PS: The purpose of this article is not to discourage to join Civil Services but to have the full picture of the civil services by highlighting the negative side of civil services which are hardly known to most of the entrants. Please also read my answer to the question Why should you join Civil Services (IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS or like) in India? to know the POSITIVE sides of Civil Services in India and develop a complete view.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are purely personal.
When you ask such a question, most people consider this question too simple to even merit answer. They will say, ‘Don't you know that a CM is far more powerful than an IAS officer?’ Their answer is based on perception and not on the basis of real facts. The reality is quite different than the common perception. Let me explain. Everyone in the government is powerful according to the law of the land. A basic tenet of the Rule of Law is: ‘However high you may be, the law is above you’. The law is made by the Parliament or the State Legislature and not by the PM or CM. The IAS, IPS, IRS or other officers implement the laws. When you go through the fine prints of the law, you will find that rarely the power is given to a politician (including CM) and all the power is vested with the officers. For example, in Customs and Central Excise department, all refunds have to be given by the Assistant Commissioner level officer (or above) even if the amount is 1000 Crores. If he refuses to sanction or reject the refund, even a FM or a PM can’t sanction it. You have to then go to Commissioner (Appeals) for sanction it and then to Tribunal/High Court/Supreme Court. The Ministers have no power to sanction any refund or give any permission or sanction unless these power are specifically vested to them by the laws passed by the Parliament. They can’t even give any written or oral direction to an officer to perform the function in a particular way. In fact, even if the claim of FM/PM or even President of India is pending before the Tax department, only the competent officer can sanction and nobody else. The same holds good for all officers whether belonging to IAS, IPS or any other service. I remember an instance when Mr M N Buch, an IAS officer of MP Cadre was called for a lecture in our Academy (NPA) during probation days. He told us, ‘Everyone must have taught you that you are a servant. I will tell you that you are not a servant but a ‘Ruler’. By ruler I don’t mean that you are a king or something but that you are the sole implementer of rules and laws made by the Parliament. You and only you can implement that law and no one can take that power from you. These laws are transparent and known to everyone. Follow the laws and you will be the ruler.’ I agree with him fully. We as officers derive the powers from the laws of the land and not from the direction of any bosses. The PM or CM can transfer an officer (a power which is given to them) if he does not like his action but nothing more. Once the decision is taken, it can’t be changed by anyone in the country except when it is illegal and that too after following the proper procedures. We are in democracy and here no one has absolute power. The CM/PM of today may become nobody tomorrow but the officers would be here for 35-37 years, if they observe the laws and procedures and exercise their power in fair and just manner. The political masters have to work only with them and not by themselves.
We were completing our training in our academy in Chennai and waiting for our first posting. One day in the first week of May (1993), someone informed that our posting orders were issued. In those days, there was no internet or mobile. People were frantically contacting the North Block and finding out their posting and that of their friends. Those who were getting postings in cities like Delhi, Mumbai or Ahmadabad were jumping with joy and those who got bad stations were consoled by the rest of us. Then I came to know that I was posted to Patna Commissionerate. My colleagues consoled me saying that it was only for a few years and that I can always get out of it the next year. I was also quite apprehensive about Bihar but I had no option but to join my first posting. Three of us were posted to Patna Central Excise Commissionerate and we joined within a week. On reaching Patna by train, we were happy to find uniformed officers receiving us on the Railway Station as we were accommodated in a decent departmental guest house. Within next two days, another transfer order was issued by the Commissioner and I was posted to Muzaffarpur Division, which was around 80 km from Patna. This post was lying vacant since last few months due to retirement of its last incumbent. I was asked to take my charge on the very next day. I informed the Superintendent (Preventive) of Muzaffarpur Division, who promised to send a vehicle on the next day at our guest house for picking me up. I was quite excited and also nervous that night. I could hardly sleep in the night in excitement. The next day, I was awakened by a knock on my door. When I opened the door, I found three young inspectors in uniform saluting me. They told me that they have come to receive me from Muzaffarpur and that the vehicle is waiting down for me. It was the first time that I received such crisp salutes and I actually forgot how to respond to salutes. Anyway, I quickly took bath and got ready for breakfast. I still remember that the cook prepared Aloo Paratha that day and I enjoyed it with curd and butter. The two uniformed sepoys took my suitcase and other luggage and kept it in the Jeep waiting downstairs. When I went down, I saw my first official vehicle. It was an old Mahindra Jeep with red/yellow light on the top. The driver was one Mr Jagdambika Misra who was also dressed in crisp uniform and he saluted me smartly. The officer opened the door of the Jeep as I boarded on the front seat. We had hardly travelled around 30 km, when I found two vehicles waiting for me on road. My vehicle was stopped near them and one person in uniform saluted me crisply and introduced me as Mr S N Srivastava, the Superintendent of Hazipur. He was accompanied by five inspectors and few sepoys. They presented me a bouquet of flower. He requested me to take some ‘jalpan’ (snacks) as I may be tired. I told him that I had just taken breakfast and not feeling like taking anything more. After his insistence, we went to a nearby hotel where a cabin was reserved for us. We took some light snacks and then started for Muzaffarpur. Mr Srivastava followed me with his team. When I reached to my Divisional office in Muzzaffarpur, I was surprised to find almost 40-50 officers in uniform waiting for me. They gave me a small Guard of Honour as I was escorted to my office chamber. I found that my name plate “A K Singh, IRS /Assistant Collector” already placed on the door of the chamber. My office chamber was fairly large room with attach toilet. It was beautifully decorated and could accommodate easily around 20-25 people. I sat on my chair. All other officers were standing. They too took their seat once I asked them to sit. Soon the Administrative Officer came with a file with “Assumption Charge” order and requested me to sign it. I thus took charge of the Assistant Collector of Central Excise Muzaffarpur. I was feeling very uncomfortable by being called ‘Sir’ by the senior officers of the department who were even older than my father. I wanted to tell them that they should rather call me by my name as I am too young but something inside told me not to say so. All the senior officers introduced themselves to me one by one. I was told that there are five Ranges under my charge and that my jurisdiction consists of five districts of Bihar namely Muzaffarpur, Hazipur, Chhapra, Siwan and Gopalganj. There were around hundred officers/staff reporting to me. We discussed informally with each other over tea, biscuits, kaju katri and cashew-nuts. I took a round of my office where I was introduced to other officers and staff. The office was quite big and several halls and rooms. I wanted to inform my family about the safe arrival at Muzaffarpur. I asked them if there is STD on my phone. I was told that my phone indeed had the STD facility. In those days, STD was a great luxury. It used to cost 1 call (Rs 1) for every two second of call and hence one minute call would cost around Rs 30. The rates used to be half after 7 PM and one quarter after 10 PM (till 6 AM). I immediately called my wife from my office phone and informed her of my safe arrival. Thereafter, I was told to relax in the guest house which was on the first floor of the building. I took my lunch there and took a little rest. I came down to my chamber once again around 3 PM. Now I saw so many files kept on my table. Soon the Administrative Officer came and requested me to sanction leaves, TAs, and several Bills. I had never done that before so I asked him, how it is to be done. He told me that I have to just sign on the note-sheet. I felt great thinking that just by one signature these sanctions shall be made. I was told that I am the Head of Office and has several powers to sanction. He brought to me one file after another and I sanctioned the items after discussing the matter with him. After sometime, my Superintend came to me and requested me to call on the other senior officer of the department viz. AC and DC of Customs whose offices were located nearly. I went there escorted by my officers. The application for Government Accommodation was already prepared by my AO. I was only required to sign. I met my senior officers there who were very nice to me. They welcomed me to Muzaffarpur and immediately allotted me a Government House. They also invited me for a dinner to be hosted in my honour in the evening at their residence. I came back to office by evening and started planning to bring my family in the next week. PS: I have spent now around 25 years in the department. I don’t even notice when I get a salute (I will surely notice if someone doesn’t). I am now so used to the power and perks of the office that they have stopped giving me any joy. Yet I still vividly remember the moments of my first taste of power, which was as sweet as the first love.
When I decided to do my PhD course in the area of E-Governance from IIITM Gwalior, most people were quite surprised. I was posted as the Deputy Commissioner of Air Cargo Ahmadabad, which was quite a prestigious posting for the department.
Most people had no idea about IIITM. They asked me why I am going to waste my time doing PhD when it is not going to give me any benefit in my career. It may even harm my career because, I was likely to be branded as an IT professional in the department and may get posting in Directorate of System,which had little perks and facilities as compared to the other field formations. Some of my friends tried to persuade me to avoid it because it involved shifting to Gwalior involving discomfort for the entire family as my children were studying in DPS Ahmadabad.
I, however, had strong desire to do PhD and I joined IIITM in August 2002. I shifted my family and stayed in a rented flat for two years without any government facility. I attended lectures with the students who were half my age. I however had a nice time during my PhD. I got all ‘A’ Grades in all the courses taken by me during the PhD course.
The greatest benefit of doing PhD was that I discovered that I can write creatively. I published eight research papers in International Journals and International Conferences. I also got Infosys Research Grant and presented my paper in Melbourne University.
I developed the habit of writing profusely after my PhD. I wrote over 400 articles in different forums and got two books published so far in 2013 and 2015. My life was transformed for better after the PhD.
I feel happy that I followed my guts and did not heed to the advice of my friends and family.
Most people think that IAS/IPS or other officers like IFS/IRS can do anything. The fact is that there are so many restrictions on their freedom. Let me narrate a few of them. 1. They can’t air their political views. 2. They can’t criticize the policies of the government, even if they don’t like them. 3. They can’t travel abroad without permission from Government. 4. They are duty bound 24x7 and they can’t enjoy their holidays and festivals, if his boss does not permit them. 5. They can’t do any business or participate in any organization in any capacity. 6. They can’t write articles, books etc. on most matters and share their thoughts. 7. They can’t even leave their job without the permission of the government.
Most people in rural areas have no access to good water. What are we going to do about it in the future? Has this problem not been given importance? These people do not need bank accounts first, but water. IF this situation continues, Country with better water management will lead the world?
There is actually no shortage of water in India. We face flood in one part of the country while face drought in another part of the country. Even now when almost one third of India is reeling under drought problem, there is flood in Assam. Some states like Bihar and Assam face floods almost every year while places like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan face drought frequently.Sometime the same state witness flood as well as shortage of water. For example, this year Tamil Nadu had witnessed record rainfall leading to flood inmost part of Tamil Nadu but soon the water crisis may gulp the state if there is no rainfall in this year.
Unfortunately, we always give knee jerk reaction when there is flood or water crisis instead of finding permanent solution of the problems.The politicians start blaming each other for the problem and Courts intervene to stop the IPL like events to conserve water. The media is quick to criticize the politicians even when water is used to prepare ground for landing of the helicopter.
The need is to take some concrete measures to solve the water problem once for all.
1: Water Grid Network
We can solve the problem on permanent basis by creating a Water Grid network throughout India just like we have created electric grid by which the electricity produced in one part of the country can be quickly transmitted to other part of the country.The electric network of India is shown below.
A water-grid authority can connect the water sources across the country and connect the water scarce region with the water surplus region through water pipelines. Thereafter, whenever there is a flood like situation, the water can be pumped to the water-scarce region and the problem of flood as well as drought can be simultaneously taken care of. A picture of Greater Sydney's water supply system is shown below. Please visit http://www.waternsw.com.au/suppl...for more info.
2: Water Reservoirs
There is a need of creating huge water reservoir at close proximity of major towns and cities where huge quantify of water can be stored. These reservoirs can ensure that no water during rainy season is wasted as the same is preserved here. They also raise the water level of the cities on permanent basis. At the time of shortage, the same water can be used for irrigation and drinking purposes.
3: Water Conservation
In addition to creating water-grid and water-reservoir, we must also go for water-harvesting and educate the citizens to preserve the water. One sound method to implement water preservation is to have incremental charges for water consumption by the consumer. It means that we must charge less if water consumption is less and then charge more as the water consumption rises. This will bring some discipline in the use of water by the common man.
I used to teach my younger siblings during their younger days. I was selected for IIT in 1983. My younger brother Anand was three years my junior. He had a friend named Naveen Kapoor, who was also our neighbour. When their results of class 10 were announced in 1984, Naveen was very disappointed because he scored just 50 marks in maths. His parents requested me to motivate him and help him in studies. In those days, it was extremely difficult to get into engineering in India as there were hardly any private engineering colleges available and there were hardly a thousand seats in the open category in UP for a population of over 100 million. I was anyway teaching my brother Anand and so I was updated with subjects like maths and physics. I decided to also spare some time for Naveen for teaching. Naveen was a keen learner and I liked teaching him. I used to teach him during my vacations as I was doing my B Tech from IIT (BHU) Varanasi during that time while we were living in Lucknow. He used to keep the difficult questions of each topic ready and I sometime used to have marathon sitting to clear his fundamentals and solve problems. Once we sat for nearly seven hours at a stretch. His performance started improving gradually. When the results were announced, he not only passed Intermediate (10+2) with good marks but also got admission in a Government Engineering College of UP in his choiceed branch (Computer Engineering). Unfortunately my own brother Anand could not make it, though I spend much more time with him. I was disappointed by the result of my brother but felt very happy about the performance of Naveen. After a couple of days, his parents invited me to a function organized by them to celebrate Naveen’s success. They introduced me to all their guest as the mentor of Naveen. They gave me all the credit of his success, though I knew that it was the hard work of Naveen that had made him successful. Now almost three decades have passed. The parents of Naveen are no more in this world. He is working in a good company and has a beautiful wife and two charming children. He still calls me frequently and address me as ‘Bhaiya’ (Elder Brother) and treat me like his real elder brother. Whenever he calls me, his voice is full of love and affection. I feel so happy that I have played some important role in shaping his life. Teaching for a Fee After several years (1990), after writing my Civil Services (Mains), I had some time before joining for the probationary training. Hence, I decided to take some tuitions to sustain my expenses in Delhi. The payment was very good for the IIT-JEE tuitions. In those days I used to be paid Rs 100-120 for one hour of tuition, when the starting salary of an IAS officer was just Rs 2500 pm. The students were bright who used to be ready with the toughest questions and they used to make best use of my one hour tuition 2/3 times in a week. A couple of years after I joined my job, I happen to visit a friend of mine whose used to stay in the same complex as one of the student tutored by me. I was excited to know if he was selected in any engineering college. So, along with my friend I visited his home expecting a warm response from him. However, he could hardly identify me. I had to remind him of the past before he asked us to be seated in his drawing room and offered us a glass of water. His response was as cold as the water served to us. We soon came out of the house. The Blessings of Selfless Service I couldn’t not stop remembering the difference of response between my two students viz. Naveen and him. I taught both of them with equal passion. However, when I was teaching for a fee and paid appropriately for my labour, there was nothing else to get in return. In case of Naveen, my services were provided selflessly and I received lots of love, respect and joy. I thus understood a great lesson of my life. When you give anything to someone (wealth/service) and you don’t take anything in return, you are blessed with love, joy and honour.
Do you think there is any genuine reason for giving money/alms to beggars?
We earn money when we contribute something to the society.
A police officer earns money because he protects our life and maintains law and order
An Armyman earns money because he protects our country risking his own life
A tax official earns money because he earns taxes for the country
A businessman earns money because he provides goods and services to the consumer
A manufacturer earns money because he produces goods which we need
An employee earns money because he slogs 8-10 hours a day for his living
What does a beggar do?
Does he make any contribution to the society?
I believe that beggars only give a bad name to the country and shame the nation by projecting themselves worse that what they actually are and by looking so miserable.
The worst thing is that they expect you to give them money as a right. They even curse you if you don’t pay them.
Unfortunately, there are a large number of people who always get sympathetic to their condition and give them money in proportion to their projected misery. That motivates them and many others to look even more miserable and earn more and more money.
We must not give money to beggars as a practice.
When we give money to beggars we add an unproductive person in the society who brings more shame to our country.
Stop increasing the numbers of beggars in the country by giving them alms.