Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rise and Shine in 2010

As the clock strikes midnight and the famous ball drops down the Times Square in New York, love shall be ubiquitous and pervasive. This moment shall be euphoric across continents and oceans, beyond destiny and design, in destitution and opulence and in sickness and health. This amazing eternal flash would count us all one in a motley, a divine state where grace is shared and realized. Ushering into New Year this time, once again would be enthralling to live life brand new and an opportunity to shed the old us just like a soul that changes garbs through past lives.

A fresh day and a fresh year would be a beam of inner light and beacon of a dream where each of us connects within to connect with others. This envisage of a communion is what we need for brotherhood, peace and global unanimity. This dream today is a desire tomorrow and a predilection thereafter to cast away enmity, impartiality and injustice. Such propensity to preserving integrity and the entirety in humanity shall awaken us to mind, body and soul as one, an idiosyncratic of nature and mankind.

A new year is to rise with time and shine in its bout to see love as a foreknowledge to wholeness and a synergy of five elements that we are made of.  Such clasp of ourselves shall save us from chaos and calamities of man and machine that haggle with nature. A new date today should be worth virtues, kindness, Sacraments (Samskars) of truth and justice, abandoning treacherous ideas and practices, and giving up violence and abuse. Acceptance of such route in life does not mean renunciation of temporal pleasures of time. It instead is an avowal of supreme happiness, which is the hidden heaven in our hearts. Such beatitude is omnipresent, in the young and the old, in able and disabled, in man and woman and in you and me, the power of one heart, one mind and one soul. So let’s make this New Year horizon of the cosmos in reach of our hands the moment we place them on our heart to say a prayer to ourselves. This omen of triumph in our hearts is rise and shine of humanity and the birth of solemnity and sanctity in 2010. As T.S. Eliot, the famous poet and literary critic of the 20th Century once said, “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”

Copyright (c) 2009 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot 
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas By The Sidewalk

Every year the Christmas bells rhyme like the wind chimes to announce the breeze of a new beginning and a gust of light. White crystals of the yuletide bring along the bustle of life to swing in the nativity of grace. In this holiness, a drum roll to cheer, gaiety and jubilee is our jazz for the season. Amid this pizzazz and panache we loose sight of life’s grey colors, the ones that dwell by the sidewalk. Such achromatic state is a hue of suffering and despondency. A   nest without a shelter as the sad face of humanity nestles glory into gloom. As a cliché of lost hope, such sadness raises churning questions. The thought of an open air Christmas in the chills of the weather and without the warmth of a family or the sparkle of companionship, makes fervor a faceoff with survival.

As a jolt of life, loosing one’s abode is like bereaving a mansion of sentiments and emotions. Being homeless is neither crime nor bad karma. It also isn’t a social sarcasm but indeed our devoir to share opportunity to fill dearth. As a social reciprocal, it opens our eyes to vivacity in humanity and its many prodigious colors under the sun, the stars and the moon. Shiela McKechnie once quoted, “People who are homeless are not social inadequates. They are people without homes.” Such depression of spirits from crippled events of life makes one wandering for care and hope.  

This Christmas like each year is about sharing fervent with family, friends and all our loved ones. It’s about feast and festivities, radiance and wisdom, poise and prosperity. Most of all, it’s about giving back by feeding the hungry, clothing the needy and serving the ill. As the Bible quotes, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” Veiling the sorrow from Wall Street to Main Street through sharing uncountable blessings shall make Christmas a wreath of our existence. So let’s jingle with the bells in merriment of today and pray that tomorrow the world is a better place to jive, tomorrow we connect with each other as our cosmic brothers and sisters and tomorrow giving glee is grasping the serendipity of our soul. With discovering the many faces of Christmas and the uniqueness of it’s traditions in each heart at home or homeless, shall make this Christmas and every other a destination of joy, triumph and fulfillment.

Copyright (c) 2009 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Pledge of Hope

The fingers of my hand dissimilar yet alike in their force to conjugate; leave me at ease when I join them with others to hold the light of hope. As cheer of joy, gloom of sorrow, pace of time and symphony of emotions, my fingers behold the calligraphy of my silence. Together as one, my hands share my right to truth and justice, opinion and action, respect and dignity that concoct change, spread peace and conformity to human race as single entity under diversity. My hands as the connection between fundamental thoughts and feelings synergize and energize me to us, a state of fervencies and sanguine. Together with these hands, I withhold courage and care, indulge in adventures, set free abhorrence and endorse the privileges of mankind to liberate ourselves from the epidemics of genocide and violation of Human Rights.  On this date of 10th December as World Human Rights day, my hands consort with the globe to protect this realm of its moral, ethical, social and cultural village. As the torch bearers of my conscience, my hands design a bout against torture and turbulence to protect humanity and preserve the sanctity of amity in our society. With this will and pledge, I support the strength of Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar), Rita Mahato(Nepal), Women of Atenco(Mexico), Birtukan Mideksa(Ethiopia) and many others known and unknown as fighters of rights since the universal declaration of Human Rights in 1950.

Copyright (c) 2009 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot 
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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Soul Search - Barkha Dhar - Hindustan Times

My latest article Soul Search has been published in the Inner Voice section of The Hindustan Times,India's leading Newspaper.
Alternative link to the article Soul Search

Copyright (c) 2009 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kids Learn to Give Back

Walt Disney, the man behind the magical kingdoms believed that ‘our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children’ perhaps foundation to catch them young. Our children have innocent emotions that are often exhibited in their tranquil love, laughter and smiles and soulful hugs. They have tiny yet bountiful hands and bright eyes that illuminate our habitat. Children celebrate life through their propensity to compassion. Their imagination and spontaneity often expresses giving through sharing; be it snuggling with pets or feeding birds or even sharing their toys with friends. Lunchtime at school often deepens such emotion.

Encouraging this art of bestowing in our children at young age evolves a chance and not a choice to service. It helps them reach out to the under privileged and oppressed. An education to relinquish or service before self makes them independent and responsible adults worthy of capacity and character. Giving as the first lesson to philanthropy binds children in the cause for humanity. As soul’s comfort, giving promotes nobility in thoughts and actions and carves a route to mindfulness and contentment. Such lessons of life can shape our children as empathetic leaders tomorrow. It can integrate community kinship with better citizenship. As social cheerleaders, learning to give also keeps children away from pride and prejudices. It matures them to distinguish between real and fake, truth or false and needs and wants.

Our children are tomorrow’s time and their today should orient them to life’s roller coaster rides. Nurturing their giving aptitude today helps them learn that life is beautiful, as also deep. This can be learned looking at the homeless or orphans struggling to love and be loved or the starved in the slums and the ones abused and battered. This lesson of life by the sidewalk helps our children to understand the essence of balance and encourages them to share abundance to fill dearth. Such change at a nascent age would be a gratification with life tomorrow; a lesson difficult to adopt at older ages. 

 Our children as the seeds of hope for prosperity in humanity are vital links in the invisible chain that unites us all under the eternal roof. The holiday season is an occasion for all of us to knit together such emotions in our children so that enthusiasm and excitement of childhood is a right equally enjoyed by all kids. An initiative of the holidays can slowly be molded as a regular habit in children to confer at charities of their choice. Giving can nest in toddlers too by reiterating words like help, share, joy and bless. With giving and not just getting, our children shall see this world much bigger than just the love for their mommy and daddy in it.

Copyright (c) 2009 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot
Photo Courtesy:  Barkha Dhar

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Walk Down Memory Lane

It was a chilly Saturday morning yet cars were driving into an elementary school parking lot. I saw men, women, children and even babies in their strollers ready for the countdown. It sure wasn’t a PTA meeting or a book fair or any event on the school’s calendar but obviously something so significant that people were gathered in strong numbers dressed in heavy jackets and rain boots for a cause. Perhaps this was a cue to their emotions and sentiments, as also to their mighty strength that led them stand upright in a crazy whether. As I walked towards the venue, I saw canopies with volunteers signing up people while few others offering hot coffee and refreshments. There were teenagers selling raffle tickets and a local radio station trying to jiggle up the crowd with some good music. The venue even had a kid’s zone and a man masked as a giant Red bird happily taking pictures with toddlers. This place resembled a fair where people gather for fun and good time but the event indeed was deeper than what it appeared to the naked sight. The badge that the attendees proudly wore said, ‘Be the voice of Change’ and nothing could have been a stronger advocacy for a cause than these people themselves as an intervention to change.

In this heap of energy there stood a banner that said, ‘We are on the move to end Alzheimer’s, not just an informational display but a gush of high spirits. It undoubtedly reflected Alzheimer’s Association’s perpetual combat with a human cause in order to keep hope alive and evolving. As I was moving ahead in the crowd, I got the opportunity to intermingle. I saw families and long term caregivers showing their unified courage and posterity for an Alzheimer free world. My mind suddenly experienced an inertia of thoughts to hear the somber sufferings of these care givers who underwent an emotional roller coaster while loosing their loved ones’ to an austere test of time and not just a disease. This event on the day of October 3rd marked no ordinary day in their calendars but a reminiscence of the past to convey that Alzheimer’s is not a parasite of the mind but a continued conflict of emotions.

It was undoubtedly a first hand experience for me to hear some heart-pinching cases of countenance to pain, depression and stress as these care givers remembered how mom/dad or a spouse underwent cognitive and emotional transitions after the onset of dementia. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s is a disease commonly characterized as memory loss. It not only is a slow transformation in the patient’s memory, routine activities, physical and emotional health but also an alarm of an overwhelming remorse for their caregivers as well. This event on the day of October 3rd was an occasion when people from different walks of life came together not just to walk a mile or more on the constitutional trail but to release their fears and show a zest for life. Most families participating in the event had been care giving in the past and some were still fighting all odds to materialize resources and help for their loved ones. I could fairly sense past trembles in some of the voices and see the gloomy expressions on their faces as they tried to calm their yesterday. Most of them feared Alzheimer’s as it is genetic. Some of them even wish for a brighter tomorrow with a hope for its cure just like there is for cancer now.

In this ride through time I apparently forgot the chills from the blowing winds and the drizzle from the pouring clouds as care giver stories were wounding enough to encapsulate my mind. Hard to believe initially yet fatally true in this journey down memory lane, these people who shared their concerns on Alzheimer’s had experienced a sea of anguish. How could one imagine a daughter unfailingly trying to soothe a parent’s behavioral triggers not caring about her own vulnerability to stress? Or a wife losing her social life and companionship to a wave of demented life? My comprehension of these befalling accounts could possibly have been no way near comparison to these caregivers as ‘one who suffers knows it the most’. However as a human I have the right to share my compassion and empathize with intensity of pain named Alzheimer’s, a disease that grossly impacts somebody’s will to a dense and hearty life. I imagined had some of these loved one’s (mom/dad or spouse) been alive and active today, they would have enjoyed the joy of grand parenting or even seeking the charm of growing old with their spouse’s love.

With mixed emotions bundling up in my heart and a mind more inquisitive than ever, I spoke to some caregivers to feel in the stress that wears them out night and day while serving an Alzheimer’s patient. My discussions revealed that care giving for a disease like Alzheimer’s is an emotional toll that affects and influences the mind constantly through stress. It also drains out positive energy and sometimes may even build pent up feelings. However fortunately an event like Alzheimer’s Association’s Memory walk seemed just an appropriate outlet for calming emotions and renewing energy for caregivers to get back to action. It also facilitates expanding care-giving network between patient families and long-term care units. The event is a socialization medium and also a support group for like-minded people. Moreover Memory Walk also helps promote community kinship in a mission against a cause that seems indomitable in the present time. With an opportunity to contribute back to the society, it evolves volunteerism in young children and teenagers as they see their families’ struggle to shell out of the so-called Alzheimer’s cocoon. This event is also a tribute to the indelible loss that our community has suffered over the past years. Most importantly Memory walk conveys fellow feelings for the one’s who in this moment are lying tight fisted, immobile, unable to put their thoughts into words either on nursing home beds or as wander guards in their wheel chairs as if they were nomadic in their own community and country.

Truth remains that our mind is the habitat to our thoughts, emotions and actions. Any disease that takes away this right should not be a cause but a consequence that needs concurrence now. For Alzheimer’s Long term care or rehabilitation should be an option and not just the conclusion. This battle against Alzheimer’s is now two folds, generating hope to release patients/ families/caregivers from surmounted anxieties, as also finding a cure to keep the baby boomers away from the onset of a disintegrated life. The thought of nestling into a stage in life where one contends with their will to survive seems like an unjustified end. As I now try to close the chapter of 3rd October in my life, my mind would still toss with some unanswered questions. I shall try my best to move on, yet traces of this day and this event shall be a part of my memory for a long time.

Copyright (c) 2009 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Moral Predicament of Incest

Ecology has a lot to offer to mankind other than diversity in the balance of nature. The dynamics and correlation of behavioral ecology to human evolution shows how ecological and social factors affect our behavior. This correlation certainly broadens ecology’s meaning towards our habitat and provides a substantial implication towards shaping our habits too. The role of life sciences in human behavior is critical to understanding variations in our cognition and emotions, our growth cycles and adaptive capabilities and more importantly our reproduction, parental care and mate acquisitions. The focus of my discussion is not ecology but an effort to understand the nature of incest through deeper eyes.

The relationship of mankind to mating behavior is ancient. This trait is as natural as life itself, as pure as emotion to love and be loved and as powerful as our mind. Sometimes it even seems as desired as a soul longing for Nirvana. However the sensitive weave of relationships and the science of genetics give a holistic meaning to mating or intimacy other than just a need. Beyond the subject of science, a copulating behavior can also be understood as being aware of our surroundings and exercising sound judgement to the interplay of our emotions under specific situations. Any act or a mode of behavior that overrules such essence of nurturing kin recognition in relationships is incest that changes the rules of the game.

It is intriguing to know how nature defines mating behavior in insects and animals. It shows incest as a characteristic not common in all species unlike the ambrosia beetles and few other species in the animal kingdom. Not many of us would be aware that an animal like tiger shows his pride through mating discriminations and kin recognition, as do some Gorillas. This mating behavior is a guide to the animal’s ego and parental instincts.

The inferences drawn from nature however can sometimes be different than a mind’s scorn reflection for incest even though literacy and advancement have leaded change. Cohabitation or incest is not an obsession or promiscuity but a hideous crime especially when involving children. It is a mental state or delusional feeling and may be even the result of a shadowed past. Incest is not only socially intimidating and a taboo in some cultures but is forbidden scientifically as well. Genetic disorders and birth defects are some major concerns for incestuous relations. However some countries do not prohibit it just as some individuals who perceive it in the light of free expression and mutual consent. It is even more impeding to see chat rooms on the Internet displaying incest as playful. Freedom and play as an excuse for an offending relationship is no way justified. Try telling this to someone’s gloomy childhood lost to abuse by a kin or to someone who is being silently seduced somewhere around the world as seconds change to minutes in a clock. For victims of such abuse life is obscure in the long haul.

Incest is not just physical but an emotional abuse that freezes time and the victim’s ability to accept new and safer relationships. It is an offense of manipulating emotions involved in a natal relationship that pose threat to the equilibrium of life. Similar to a parasite, incest affects the chastity in cognate relationships and damages the perpetrator’s and the victim’s capability to see clear in the mirror. Moreover incest is a mental state of anxieties and phobia, as also an emotional outburst of anger and hostility. It can be a personality disorder that affects the congruence in flow of thoughts, emotions and actions that guide us in the real world. Any such disassociation of thoughts and emotions from the divine norms of life and the ethos of the society can be damaging to a meaningful existence.

Incest as a behavioral disorder and a mental health concern requires therapy or psychiatric help in most cases. However any medical intervention starts with self-help. In my view our mind can be recourse to solutions just as it is to our problems. Incest seems like a situation where the mind is in complete control of the body leading to a gamut of desires that can be otherwise controlled through a normalized behavior. To control mind, other than science, one needs to see strength in the soul’s power that can amaze us through open eyes in wilderness or in city rush. As we continuously unfold to a materialistic lifestyle our desires shall double and slowly cover the face of realities in life. It is important to understand that our thoughts and emotions arise from the mind and so do abuse and other hostile crimes. Buddha, the great prophet once said, ‘It is a man's own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways’. He also said, ‘Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned’. In the light of these great words, incest is a crime that the mind inflicts on self and others. It is a coercive behavior when one wrongfully exercises power in a relationship that incarcerates one’s own life and of the one’s related through blood. A crisis such as this needs to stop now so that incest does not end up as a moral predicament of tomorrow.

Cases such as Joseph Fritzl and daughter Elisabeth (Austria), Patrick S & Sister Susan K (Germany), John and daughter Jenny Deaves (Australia) or the latest Mackenzie & father John Phillips and the Wesson family incident (USA) are more than just eye openers. Some of these cases may be rare evidences of emotional excitement for some couples while as most others unseen and unspoken simply state an emotional coma and subdued life. With incest as a hidden rage how safe is our habitat from the gravity of our own mind? Learning the lesson from ecology this time however may deeply help.

Copyright (c) 2010 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot
Photo Courtesy: Google Images

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mothers Can Be Mentors

With all the leadership lessons of the past and present, tomorrow holds something different. Dr. Benjamin Spock, expert on parenting said, 'I really learned it all from Mothers.' Indeed our mothers have the gift of gab, a natural trait to care giving, as also mentoring. Their sensitivity to our needs and empathy to an experiential sharing leaves an indelible mark on our lives. They show traits that could be emulated by young minds. Our mothers know us well. They have the key to our self-indulgence as they have helped us evolve through stages of life. Their three-dimensional role as mother, manager and mentor signifies their leadership diversity and efficacy to care giving. Our mothers truly can be the guidepost to mentoring with style and art. The following is a selective know-how guide.

Patience with thought parity and emotional balance are good leadership signs. Patience gives depth to the flow of thoughts and helps control emotional excitement under dynamic situations. A restraint and liberty to our Mind to play with our thoughts and emotions can transform our personality and welcome change. New age leaders need to be holistic communicators. They should be aware of, as also in control of an interdependence of their thoughts and emotions in exercising leadership. A mother's balancing act is an illustration of her capacity and character to such holistic leadership. Her emotional profundity is infectious for young minds.

A mother's good listening skills and her values of giving help imbibe togetherness and sharing as threshold to teamwork. She fosters nourishment of feelings and actions and also helps vent pent up emotions to recharge our life batteries. This switch on and switch off and learning to collectively contribute surely has a patronizing effect on organizational productivity. The sum total of such contribution, productivity and satisfaction yields greater kinship with organization and also helps increase internal customer satisfaction, undoubtedly the preface to an apt leadership role.

Single mothers exemplify operational capabilities and scale economies as family unit heads. Their crisis intervention can be a training parameter. Learning this art of resource optimization develops desirable skills for Strategic Business Unit Leadership. It also is training to mature intellectually and emotionally in order to critically evaluate the opportunity cost of our decisions. Capitalizing on analytical and recovery intervention skills strengthens coordination while working in large organizations. All the more, a mother's transactional leadership generates understanding the parity between responsibility and authority at a young age, a lesson that aids contingency planning and develops competitiveness in us.

Role Transition
Mothers multitask by changing roles at home and office. Their transitional leadership is a training manual to skills of preparation, encounter, adjustment and stabilization in each role. Learning this trait helps build adaptability in young leaders while working in project/ technology oriented organizations. It also enhances managerial gravity and helps cope stress during transition from specialist to generalist. Moreover, it improves concurrence to change and benefits our learning curve for an added contribution to the organization value chain.

Mothers exhibit tact as moderators during sibling fights. Her resolution sometimes is a tough love that could be a great lesson of life. Her emotional intelligence can be inspiring as a trait to adopt for young minds while leading cross-cultural teams and dealing with expatriate issues on sensitivity to relationships and emotions. A mother's facilitation trait also shows her tact for human relations and can be a fair guide to superior-subordinate harmony as well.

A mother's negotiation skills with the local mart or grocers are commendable. Her art of selling ideas and price negotiation skills display a creative dent. Using logic and imagination to root out creative solutions just like our mothers do can sometimes help us sail through complexities in sales and customer relationships.

Getting Along
The time spent with mother on family picnics and entertainment or even while shopping is our bonding. This is the time when we forget all the occasional arguments or disagreements. This bonding and learning to know each other better builds the base to relationships and obviously is a seed to sustained leadership.

Mothers' open discussions at the dinner table encouraged self-expression to bring out the best in us. She demonstrated the qualities of a servant leader. Young leaders can be trained as coaches of their teams to lead through thought innovation and change. Learning this trait helps build a sense of community within the organizational framework.

Our mothers make and manage the home. They lead with compassion and manage with intellect. Their altruism is a great leadership lesson. Generation next, the corporate pilot and leadership investment of tomorrow needs to imbibe the qualities of endurance and selflessness from mothers. These traits can be later on developed into core competencies, which shall help young minds to balance leadership and management roles in a fiercely competitive globe.

Unbelievable yet true, sometimes real life cases are an imminent guide to our corporate roles.

My article Mothers Can Be Mentors published on Ezinearticles .
Copyright (c) 2009 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot
Photo Courtesy:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day - Concern for Climate Change

Living in the States sometimes is a different facet altogether especially if one has lived around traffic jams and honking sounds and seen dark evening clouds filled with gaseous pollution, indeed a reflection of a life amid excessive urbanization. I remember as a student how concerned I was of mankind’s notorious affects on Mother Nature through chemical and industrial pollution, fossil fuel emissions and deforestation for commercialization. Today as a mother my concerns for climate change are deeper and double. I would never want my toddler to learn that tall buildings or racing cars or even frozen meals are much better than simply sowing a seed, planting trees or preserving the life around. Our children are our future and to rear them in a safe environment we need to change our present so that these kids enjoy a greener globe. This concern is my voice for climate change in the 21st century.

In my view times ahead are going to be tougher and our acclimatization to change today with a new state of mind can help us through transitions. Automation and technology have already influenced us over the past few years by making our lives easier through push button services and plastic money. So far so good but somehow the thought of a convenient lifestyle also conveys a perceived message. An easy way of life perhaps has incited mankind to crucify nature day in and day out. Blog action day on Climate Change conveys the need to actualize on our ideas now and capitalize on the resources available today to us in order to save our souls from environmental threats in the near future.

The issue of global warming as we all know is diverse ranging from food to travel to business and politics, as each has been a contributor in its own specific way over the past decades. Talking about the role of business and industry seems significant to me as any organization is bounded by corporate social responsibility, of which continued efforts to minimizing future risks to a healthy environment are utmost important. Toyota’s hybrid cars indeed are a good illustration here. It shows the organization’s strategic initiatives to green living. Not only is it motivating us to be climate friendly but also reducing our dependency on our Middle East counterparts.

Climate change therefore is just not an ethical issue anymore but a forefront corporate initiative that shows an organization’s strategic leadership and vision. To name a few Statoil (Oil & Natural gas), Whole Foods Market (Retail), MTR Corp (transportation), Unilever (Household goods), and Sharp (Electronics) are pioneers who have successfully adapted their business mission to a green world. Their green initiatives are a benchmark for many budding businesses, proving that climate change today is more than just a policy framework or state regulation but a business intervention as well. The road to climate change however still has binding concerns ahead with industries such as Marine, hydropower, tourism and insurance as most vulnerable to change. This perhaps is the root to a burgeoning question that faces most business around the globe, ‘mitigate climate risks vs. adapting to climate change’.

In my view a better strategy perhaps would be to minimize risks through adaptation rather than spend million dollars on research and development to mitigate climate risks. Any change suggests creativity and orientation to future. More importantly it encourages us to adopt and adapt, just like we did when buying hybrid cars or saying no to plastic bags or saving cans for recycling. Taking a clue from change as a mighty word here, I am inspired to adapt. In my view the adaptation strategy shall enhance business flexibility. It however shall be a long-term investment with a longer pay back period than any man made portfolio. It still seems better than spending our savings reserved for our future generations on mitigating risks that may or may not yield desired and timely results. In my view, any corporate decision, as also decisions in our daily life have an opportunity cost to it. Businesses in the US, as also around the globe need to weigh this opportunity cost to come to terms with Nature.

With some thoughts shared for a cause that needs action now, I feel pressured for our future generations. The responsibility of climate change is ours as we have contributed a lot in different ways to the nature. I hope that our global village sustains its green wealth so that our little one’s can swing in nature’s arm and bud into its bountiful charm. Climate change should therefore be of significance for a global leader like United States so that its pledge today is a vow for the rest of the world tomorrow.

Copyright (c) 2009 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot
Photo Courtesy: © 2009 Jupiterimages

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lijjat’s Lineage of Change

My story is inspired by an educational tour during my school years. The story dates back to 1959 when education and empowerment was a voice for the few. Men were bread earners while women stayed indoors. That year, one-day the dawn broke over a small town in Gujarat (western India) with colors of rainbow bright and clear. The day marked history of empowerment through sisterhood that started a lineage of change, a livelihood for many today. Lijjat, as commonly known was conceived by a group of 7 women who came together under a single roof to make and sell poppadoms ( A home venture then, Lijjat is a successful business model today that has turnaround the lives of many illiterate and poor women. Lijjat accounts for an all women establishment of 46000 across 62 branches in towns, cities and rural regions in India today.

As I unfold this story further, I remember the slums of Mumbai where life is a struggle day in and day out. Making ends meet is a challenge for most women. Lijjat has offered some of these women a regular income, thus evolving them from a state of needs to desires. Most Lijjat women today are their family’s bread earners and have been successful in providing education to children with better amenities and an improved quality of life. Lijjat’s distinctive feature of sisterhood is not based on employment but a lifetime sister membership where each woman is related to other irrespective of her religion or state boundary. A unit that started with 7 has liberated thousands of women from their shells over past decades. Mothers, wives and daughters work in unison for Lijjat and have proved to be an asset. They have collectively redefined women empowerment and contributed to India’s cottage industries development.

Lijjat is a savior for many poor women. It has made them independent, as also taught them to be interdependent. Some young Lijjat sisters today are educated and uphold managerial roles. Lijjat as yesterday’s concept is a belief today and a hope tomorrow. It has proved that poverty or illiteracy may be bottlenecks but it is our will to succeed that deems challenges as opportunities and not adversities. It has proved that women may be born with half the sky but their endurance is their continuing effort to evolve and exist. This endurance is their strength and capacity to embrace newer roles and to multitask, a lesson that everyone can be enterprising provided we open up to change.

Lijjat operates under an open management system where all sister members share equal rights. It embodies the values of mutual respect and bonding, a conviction that actually birthed Lijjat. Truly and deeply, Lijjat has contributed to the cause of enabling women to a free and fair expression. As I end now, I am unwrapping Lijjat snack bought from an Indian store while sitting thousand of miles away from India.

My write up Lijjat’s Lineage of Change that was posted in the New York Times Half the sky contest.
Copyright (c) 2009-present Dharbarkha.blogspot

Photo Courtesy: BBC

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

She is a woman : A poem by Barkha Dhar

“In this sacred heart is the home of burnt desires
a garden of fake flowers
a life glazed with pain
so immense and so drained
Every knock on this heart awaits a change
to see my world shine forever and ever again

She is voice of a mother, a wife, she is a lover and so much more
for she is a woman before her garb of roles
The truth however unfolds the fact
she is living in a world so dogmatic and whack
Change for her is so opaque, so unfair and so fake
She is independent and manifested yet is abandoned and evicted
for she is a woman forgotten and inflicted

Much has been done over the years
to stop oppression to wipe her tears
She still has a toll tearing her soul
for she is a woman so beautiful and bold
In this ravage she is searching for life
a light of her own to fight for her right

Education has given emancipation for she is so full of anticipation
She has a heart so tender to care
with a womb that has the power to bear
She still has to tackle society’s shackles
for she is a woman fighting her battles

She is a bird closed and caged, for she is a woman so full of rage
She is assaulted, set ablaze for she is a women abducted as bait
She has a palette with colors so pale
for her atrocities narrate her tale

She is singing a song take me along just take me along
to a place of love where I belong
A place where my gender is no more slender
A place where my peace is not haunted on streets
A place where life is so calm so I could live in no harm

She is a mother, she is a wife,for she is a woman
singing the song of her life
She has a heart that waits for change
to see her world shine forever and ever again”.
- By Barkha Dhar

Copyright (c) 2009-2010 Dharbarkha.blogspot
Photo Courtsey:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Humility Gives Hope - Barkha Dhar - Hindustan Times

My latest article Humility Gives Hope has been published in the Inner Voice section of The Hindustan Times, India's leading Newspaper.
Alternative link to the article Humility Gives Hope has been published in the The Hindustan Times Inner Voice Blog
Copyright (c) 2009 - present Dharbarkha.blogspot

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Empathy is deeper than Sympathy

The huge tree with shriveled branches outside my window once cradled youth. As giant as it is even today, it has a past of dry winds and heat waves. Similar is the cue of people who have suffered crisis and distress. Pain and sufferings are amputation of emotions and a series of soul killings. Such aftermath leaves life at ground zero especially if the cause is a social stigma. Atrocities on women have been timeless. From ‘Devdasi’ (a form of celibacy practiced in ancient south India) that induced the culture of Institutionalized prostitution in India to sexual enrages in the political prisons of Iran to human trafficking in East Asia & Pacific to mass rapes in Congo, all narrate death trails. These women while suffering oppression due to illiteracy, poverty or political exile live with clogged emotions that brutalizes their life as each day passes by, unlike their physical injuries that have been long overcome. Their trauma, an incident when their shrine, the human body was sabotaged mercilessly with masculine force or when they were taught to gift themselves relentlessly as slaves to men owing to religious and social nuances is an illustration of their bleeding souls. The question then arises, can these emotions be repaired?

We all know pain is somber and needs an expression over and above compassion. To rise in pain is a state of mind and not just a verse of heart. Evoking sympathy, an act of sharing somebody’s feeling, something that we may or may not have ever experienced, is simply filling and not fulfilling. Sympathy may also be momentary and sometimes just not enough especially with victims of child abuse, and sexual traumas. It may even lessen the spirit of these victims to let go their emotions and may make them sheepish in the fight against their emotional exile. How would one sympathize with the six-year-old girl in the village of Kangra in Himachal Pradesh, India who experienced a sexual violation from her ten-year-old friend? The societal standards would try to console the girl, yet unbearably force her to live a life in shame. Isn’t then this a shame on the act of sympathy? I wonder how sympathy sometimes seems similar to the idea of implementing change in organizations, ‘open doors but closed minds’.

A holocaust of emotions, shivering and shaking prolongs for empathy. Evoking empathy is connecting to our true self through a virtual bridge of thoughts, feelings and actions, an expression that deeply helps us understand other’s intensity. It is sitting in one part of the world and crying like a child while listening to the woes of women experiencing shattered emotions in the other part of the world. Empathy may have several meanings but to me it is my inner voice to re-purpose life.

An empathetic person such as Nicholas Kristoff of New York Times doesn’t just cover stories of surreal apathy of women across the globe but besieges himself in the cause of preserving such existence. He shows empathy by rescuing two innocent girls from a brothel in Cambodia and frees them like a bird inside a cage. Similarly, when Azar Ale Kanan(, an Iranian political exile victim breaks her thoughtful silence and decides to fore go her absolution to let millions know of harsh realities in Iranian prisons, she shares empathy for similar women longing for freedom. Empathy in a way is divine. It tells you that supreme never created life so that emotions could be toyed. It unfolds multiple emotions to the truth that humanity in its diversity is an asset.

Time transitions each day, unfortunately our attitudes don’t. If empathy was in stride, women facing crisis across the continent wouldn’t hide in pain without complain. Moreover, parents or counterparts wouldn’t martyr for their daughters or wives or even tag them unholy as in some countries of the world. Every human has the right to survive in broad daylight and empathy is sharing such light. Being empathetic is to let our natural self evolve to explore our latent emotions to attune to our conscience. Empathy is an emotional bonding that can help humanity transition from darkness to daylight, a cause as significant as globalization. Not to end here and yet to begin, empathy is sabbatical, a time off for a heartfelt listening to several victimized women for bringing them from unrest to rest.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Eunice Kennedy Shriver: The women who saw Ability in Disability |

As I sit down to write I remember a legacy that is rhetorical of boundless love, compassion and unsaid companionship. Fostering such inheritance that serves the cause of existence reminds us of a mother’s pretentious and unconditional nurturing of her embryo, a bequest similar to the vision of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Her life was an illustration of emancipation for the challenged, for she was the one who saw ‘ability in disability’. She believed in what she saw and made the world see it. In her words, “You are the stars and the world is watching you. By your presence you send a message to every village, every city, every nation. A message of hope. A message of victory” ( Her groundwork of rebuilding hope and reshaping lives is a sheer strength for millions today, as also a gateway to righteousness and an entourage to empathy.
In a world where peace and tranquility are bartered for fake emotions and material convergence, Eunice Kennedy aspired to plow into the aspect of contribution to humanity through her insurmountable appreciation and love for the challenged. She was a Kennedy; unique, elite and class apart. Her purpose for life was deep and clear and so was her courage and compassion for the one’s who were disintegrated from the mainstream. The initiation of Camp Shriver was to bring back this lost world to the one’s who needed it most. 
Her advocacy for children’s health and disability led to various foundations and health care facilities, among which Special Olympics was her greatest humanitarian achievements. She took the cause international. Like the Kennedy brothers, her humility mirrored her true intent and that was to be human and respect human. Her life was an open book to her roots, a family name that dedicated itself to the cause of service and hope for the people of this nation.
 Her altruistic mission taught us that humility never thrives on intellectualism alone. It requires us to be in control of emotions and most importantly have an urge to give back to society what we got from it. Her Humility was a cognizance of her humanness and her dedication to change, to rehabilitate and restore the will to live. She gave us an unforgettable lesson that humility is a conscious choice between being served and serving others. It was Eunice Kennedy’s compassion for her sister Rosemary’s pain that she saw in each challenged child and eventually Rosemary’s happiness in the enthusiasm and felicity of such children, a cause that deeply connected her with each child. She proved that challenges are not adversities but possibilities and opportunities. Eunice shared an endearing relationship and indeed a common agenda with her younger brother.  As Senator Ted Kennedy remembered Eunice on her death, “ she understood deeply the lesson our mother and father taught us: Much is expected of those to whom much has been given”. In a similar remembrance Ted Kennedy Junior described her as a competitive women and a great sailor. She was a woman of substance who shared her spirit and installed competitiveness in millions, yes a true torchbearer. Eunice Kennedy is not alive today but her legacy shall always be.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver: The women who saw Ability in Disability |

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Photo Courtesy: Special Olympics

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Severity: A principle of Law or Life ?

The sermon of Shariah, the law in Malaysian land is the guiding principle to a Muslim woman’s posture of life. However time is reminiscent of the benumbing account of the ‘stoning of Soraya M’ in Shariah Iran. The incident speaks bizarre tales of dissonance today with such law. It further narrates the apathy of humanity in the garb of a woman, as also a mortuary of the laws of life. Every religion is sacred and serene as each propagates ‘living to be loved’. These preaching may seem little distinctive to us but they are unique for the supreme. As Swami Vivekananda once said, “ It’s the way you feel; feel like Christ and you will be a Christ; feel like Buddha and you will be a Buddha”. Similarly the holy Quran prescribes the Islamic way of life and explains its objectivity of educating minds and changing human attitude towards life. According to me, religion across sects is like a flower that unfolds each petal to devotional and ritual observances with faith and morality deep rooted. Kartika Sari Devi’s incident is an eye opener to such religion. This incident not only is a tussle between politics and religion but a choice between law and life. The part time Malaysian model and a mother of two may have committed a sin and trespass her religious boundaries but how appropriate is a decision to cane someone even though with moderation?

Using a rattan stick to make a woman aware of her mistake in 21st century world somehow cognates to Soraya. M’s appalling death incident by throwing stones while chanting “God is great” in 1980’s in rural Iran. If faith is the foundation of religion and God is our guide then how similar is religion and a rigid law? The situation on her so-called punishment opens doors to the cause of humanity. Apparently it was Kartika’s decision in her complete senses to go beyond the social norms and commit such mistake. Canning punishment, an act that none would inflict on children for their misconduct, is dishonoring the dictates of conscience and a probable disgrace to humanity. In my view the principles of life are preface to a law. Any law or religious verdict needs to be a dispassionate critic at least in a modern society where multiculturalism is the heart of change. It seems Kartika Sari may have got carried away in an emotional spontaneity under a multicultural influence while unleashing her religious coating. What Kartika today needs is not a cane but a resolution to recuperate her faith. From the verses of Quran, “the Allah is the most gracious and the most merciful and the owner of the day of recompense”. Kartika’s recompense is to attune to her inner voice, understand the effect of her doings as confirmed with the preaching of her sacred religion just similar to a law that confirms to humanity. Kartika’s canning is not the end to a cause. It may excite more people to commit such mistake, bear the cane and move forward. She needs to embrace that religion has the power to forgive and forget as it exists for the cause of humanity and not against it. Any law needs to abide by such guiding principle. Analogous to the verses of Quran, “all human beings must be treated with honor and respect without any distinction, such is our faith that sees God as an inner light steering us through the darkness. Our God may have thousand names but he resides in all so have mercy on severity.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Taking Women's Rights Seriously

Women’s right seems like a gigantic struggle that most women face in developed, developing and under-developed nations. The issue is a walk on a tight rope, may not be as much for developed nations. However for developing and under-developed world it is a mammoth crisis. Poverty, lack of awareness and resources, social segregation and gender discrimination are some prominent parasites of change. Besides this education ranges from none to bleak. The hope for a brighter tomorrow comes with taking up such issues seriously at local and government level. The point that each man has to stand for his woman seems good but what are the chances of such change? An alternative however could be that each educated and empowered woman stands to change every other woman who feels under powered, powerless or even suppressed. In my view, any nation can succeed locally and compete globally if the ratio of contribution in the value chain ranges from men to women and women to women. Only a fraction of empowered women wouldn’t deliver much towards a nation’s competitiveness on the global map. So the principle of unity in diversity is yet again applicable, this time however with the aspect of unified composition of men and women on a diverse global scene.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Truth or False |

I was raised with the ideals that truth exists and shall always prevail, perhaps an inherent characteristic of nurturing and parenthood. Over the years however I feel that truth is distinctive and yet requires evidences. Our values and beliefs or material cling are such evidences in a man-made courtroom but our consciousness is a truth in itself in the supreme courtroom. Truth, in my view is never right or wrong, only in ’favor of’ or ‘against of’. While writing this post, I reassure myself that truth is not created but discovered, just as the route to self-discovery or evolving in a conscious state. Truth may seem undercover in the moment owing to false impressions, artificial imagery, superimposed beliefs, myopic perceptions and manipulations, just as we seem to be undercover of our material being. Truth indeed is an eye opener to our current state of being where each day is critical content vs. spiritual intent.
Truth is the actual, as ‘I am’ and not artificial ‘what I should be’, it is the inevitable just like the cycle of life and balance of nature. However in this rush to live, we often fail to read signs and make choices that lead us to a false end. A gentleman once said to me, “ who has seen truth? I would believe what I see and not what is actual”, little did he knew that his experiences saw consequences as truth to the naked eye but an illusion to the spiritual eye. Moreover, our life is a gamut of experiences and often weighs truth or false in each incident.  Most of the time, in my view, truth is like the dust that is hidden under the rug just to let others know of the neat show.  However only a person attuned to his conscious being can make efforts to get rid of such dust without worrying for the neat show. Truth is also listening to our heart, being thankful for all the good things around and unfolding self to sink in the spiritual energy around. It is to touch base with ‘ I am’ and ‘ I do’ for truth is the sole beginning, as also the sole end.

Truth or False |

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Art of Giving |

Is life always about yearning for more? Truly one, who loses it all, knows it all. Life at full speed often loses its purpose. Money, money and more money are the rules of the game. If this is the change that we yearn then why bother for soul search or the art of living? I however feel living starts by giving, when one attunes to sharing happiness, prosperity or a piece of bread with others. Faith in god, in oneself and in others is the connecting spirit in humanity and the act of giving. Faith never shares facts, and giving never requires any. If quality of life is defined through materialistic possessions then we sure have achieved a lot, but what about our inner fulfillment? In spite of all the good wines, traveling round the globe and designer pieces, why do we yet feel unfulfilled? Is then “giving” an obligation only of missionaries or charities?
Art of giving commemorates the purpose of existence. A heart that aspires for such acts truly embodies inner peace and an outer purpose. The act of proffering is truly aesthetic and ecstatic. One who has more, should give more and service before self, are values that are immortal. More importantly, in the whole wide world, our children need to be taught to imbibe the art of giving at a nascent and blooming age.  If a toddler today can share a bag of potato chips, I wonder what all he would yearn to give through his youthful years and the rest of his life.

The Art of Giving |

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Women for Women

Women’s equality and empowerment has little to do with mythology in my view. For God, all creatures are equal and one. The past, as is the present in some regions of the globe, has witnessed women handing over the reins to men folk. We women have since centuries been living for our husbands, children and families, numbering our own selves at last. We have been enhancing ourselves physically or sexually to please our mates. Our grandma’s stories were full of God and his exquisite creation- the women. However are women folk still waiting for a divine intervention in order to respond to sexual discrimination, emotional abandonment or even conservatism?. God may have been a little bias in terms of physical power distribution to men. He however balanced the act by creating an emotional powerhouse the women. Bravo God! We women have to realize that role equalities emanate through a balance of physical, mental and emotional interplay. Jesus or Allah doesn’t ride their golden chariots and stop by corporate or homes or schools or universities or even shopping malls to stop power discrimination. A woman has to be the savior of women and of all others like her in the community or tribe or social group. It is indeed afflicting to see how a mother sometimes enforces prostitution on her own daughter or in most cases how a mother in law in connivance with her son and husband sets the daughter in law a blaze. Mothers, daughters and sisters have to fight back and fight it out but not fight amongst. We have to unite to cease the suppression. Modernism may only educate and aware but a spiritual and emotional arousal has to come within. If God could help, he rather wouldn’t until we helped ourselves. He can only share his might by his grace and his shine through inner power. The rest is on us to accumulate, assimilate and actuate.

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Women really or rarely empowered?

Envisioning dreams in a conservative society sure needs guts. The 21st century however has experienced change in its societal domain. Gender studies, women empowerment and achieving a racial equilibrium have for long looked good in the dictionary, law journals and the university curriculum. These issues have also been voiced and opinionated for years. Amidst all the loud voices, feature presentations, social and international agendas, there are questions that still remain unanswered. In spite of the changing face of urban women, rural regions and conservatism is still a parasite. It is a shallow and pedantic hole that is each day digging the grave for the idea of change. If we are living in a technologically advance and modern society where women are now considered equal to men and where independence meets interdependence, then why do women still feel emotionally abandoned? Moreover, why do still dreams shatter? why isn’t the right to expression fundamental and most importantly why isn’t freedom still free of cost?

Writing about social issues is certainly not my profession but a predisposition. As a little girl, I was taught that womanhood is a gift of god as we have an innate nature to nurture, the perseverance to serve and the power to deliver. I have faint memories of my childhood where women were compared to Goddess Shakti or Durga (The giver of power in Hindu Mythology). I wonder if mythology has anything to do with our social and emotional cravings or is it just a superficial answer to the soul. I wish mythology could mitigate our pain, then we women wouldn’t still suffocate in a split society trying to keep up with religious pressures, and minority faiths or even bear male chauvinism. Wide angle’s documentary on Angelina Duah Fares on PBS perhaps is the root to my burgeoning questions. The story of this young aspiring woman narrates the tales of refined atrocities on women even in this 21st century world.

Further to the above, hailing from a country where women have longed for social and economic independence, I truly empathize with Duah Fares. In times where the world is defined as a single global entity, it is pathetic and emotionally averse to see the plight of women in some regions of the world. Like Angelina Duah Fares there are several other unknown names or faces across the world who still are victims of constant suppression and resentment. It is just that some stories are told while, as others remain half written. This subject of equality and empowerment is indeed debatable. It is important to analyze if the women of 21st century are really empowered or rarely empowered? Well for starters, there are numerous examples of great women achievers whose talents have been realized and recognized. This facet is like a sunshine with women of substance like Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Hallee Berry, or even the most recent achievers like supreme court justice Soniya Sotomayor and Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia, a pioneer in artificial liver invention. These women have truly exemplified thought provoking change and the need to mentor young minds. Needless to say, from scratch to sassy, these women have soared high in a so-called man’s world. This however seems like a mirage when young girls like Duah fares are forced to cease their aspirations. This means that there still exists a huge nascent gap, which needs to be filled with moral dignity and humanity.

Moreover, If all women are born equal and are capable to compete, then why does physical abuse and sexual harassment still exists? Cases such as Duah Fares may give in or give away to religious verdicts, for now but not for long. It certainly seems like a stop –gap and not a full stop. To conclude, as President Obama said in his inaugural speech, “we need to get up and dust ourselves”. In my view, however, this dust needs to transcend economics and politics and touch social issues of liberty and humanity at large. We all need to dust our minds first if we really are committed to enforcing such change in its total domain including the hue and cry of the women force.

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