World Population Day - The myth and the reality

July 11 of every year is celebrated as world population day. The population of world has already crossed 7 billion and growing at a phenomenal rate compared to past. UNFPA is campaigning for a long time, by every means possible, to create 'awareness' among the people to contain something termed as “Population Explosion”. The question here is why should we control the growth of population? And immediately comes the answer: To remove unemployment, poverty and hunger from the face of the earth.

According to what we call as 'common sense', the above answer is rational. Everyday more than 20,000 people die out of hunger and malnutrition, with 5,000 from India alone. As per the official statistics, 77% or around 900 million Indians are poor. That is, more than half of the world's poor people live in India!

No wonder, India is second highly populated country, next to China, in the world with 1.27 billion citizens. Despite of their tremendous economic growth, both China and India are facing severe unemployment, poverty and other problems that may remain unsolved for decades to come. So it may seem logical that these problems are direct consequences of their heavy population. After all, it would be impossible to provide food, education and jobs to so many mouths, minds and hands respectively, right?! So the respective governments of every third world and developing countries are campaigning to their full strength to create awareness among the people to support birth control. But still population is growing unabated.
The matter at hand – unemployment, poverty, crimes - may distress all the good-hearted people of the world. And good number of common people believe that population explosion is the root cause for these evils. But just worrying would not solve the problem. It is necessary to critically analyse the problem in question and find whether population explosion is actually causing these problems.

Is population the root cause for unemployment?

If we look at the present scenario of world economy, countries with very less population are also facing the problem of severe unemployment, much higher than highly populated countries! The crisis was, and still is, so harsh that production had almost come to grinding halt. It is imperative to note that higher the population, higher will be the demand for basic needs. That means much work has to be done! So it is possible to provide jobs to everyone. But then why still prevails the unemployment? Because under the present system, demand means the purchasing power of people, not the demand for basic needs of whole people! Production will be carried out if the purchasing power of people is high, else, despite of the demand for basic needs, production will be halted resulting in retrenchment of workers. The very purchasing power of the people is dependent on the availability of a decent job and income for the workers! Hence Population 'explosion' is not the root cause for unemployment.

Is population the root cause for poverty?

If we take the population density, many countries with higher population density are developed, where as many less densely populated countries are still underdeveloped! Hence at first glance itself we can see that population has nothing to do with poverty. Here we must note that poverty is directly linked with unemployment. The population of children (aged 0-16) and old (aged 65 and above) cannot directly participate in the production and they have to be taken care of by youth and middle aged population who directly participate in production. To look after children and old in a family, the youth must have a job providing decent income. Because of unemployment, it is quite impossible for one to look after his family leading to poverty. Availability of natural resources locally in a country also play an important role in carrying out production smoothly, providing jobs to many. But it is quite surprising that countries that are rich in natural resources are very poor!

Is population the root cause for hunger?

It is said that because of high population there is food shortage; everyone couldn't be fed. But if you look at the food production around the world, it is enough to feed three times the entire world. For example, US alone is wasting more than 96 billion pounds of food every year!!! This figure may shock us but it is the truth. Hence population explosion is not the root cause for hunger!

All the above analysis show that population is not the root cause for any of these problems. But UNFPA is trumpeting that controlling population will end all the problems! It is quite difficult to understand why an organisation like UNFPA, which claims to be the flag bearer of world prosperity, cannot understand this!

Why and what books to read?

As the electronic gadgets are occupying our lives more and more, the habit of reading books is taking back seat, if not alarmingly going out of scene. Though e-books are available in plenty, they are not comfortable to read and other 'comfortable' things online distract the user from becoming a reader. One may say they have nothing to lose if they don't read books. But only one who reads knows the beauty of reading and what they would have lost if they hadn't read.

Happy is the man who acquires the habit of reading when he is young. It is not superficial if we say books are hidden treasures yet to be explored. They are the source of pleasure and inspiration. A good book is worth thousand friends. Indeed, books are the most faithful of friends. They never complain, nor they are unwilling to converse. We may go uninterested in them, but books never go uninterested in us. They always wait patiently to talk with you. As long as you are with a good book, you are not alone.

There are books on every kind of subject: history, fiction, sci-fi, science, biography, philosophy, travel, relationships and so on. Thus one cannot complain that his interest is not covered. Books may help you go deeper into your interest or find a new interest. It is not that reading books just fills us with pleasure and amusement. Books penetrate deep into your heart, interact with your feelings and evoke emotions.
Whether one is conscious or not, books shape our character, and our world outlook. Hence it is necessary to be careful while choosing the books to read. History presents before us few examples that novels have played an active and revolutionary role in social change.

As every art, literature also has CONTENT and FORM. Content is what has to be conveyed, and form is how that content is presented. If a book has good content but no good form, it may not interest the reader thus content going unnoticed. On the other hand, a book may have good form but no good content which engages the reader but disturbs his or her feelings. Hence it is necessary for a book to have both content and form good.

Now the question would be: what can be considered as good content? First of all, the content must not be divorced from the society; from its glories, from its problems, from its happiness, from its shortcomings. Then anything that creates compassion and love for humanity, imbibes social responsibility, courage to fight injustice, inspires to seek truth, fills heart and mind with noble thoughts, can be considered as good content.
If today we search for any books with such good content, we may hardly find one or two. Many books that are coming out today are magnificent in form but poor in content, if not harmful. Most of the new novels center round the lavish lifestyle and sexual relationships that, instead of inspiring humanly love, whip up the animal instincts of man. That is to say that these books are 'Sweet Poison'. They harm the society at large and reduce man to a mere animal.

But, not to worry, history has given us plenty of masterpieces. List of books by great authors like Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, Voltaire, Rousseau, Charlotte Bronte, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Jack London, Oscar Wilde, Sharat Chandra Chatarjee and so on are enough to immerse our whole life in reading. So pick up a book, that fills your mind with knowledge, noble thoughts and higher ideals, today and you will find a faithful companion for life!

Good movie to watch: Mother of Mine

Eero is a boy of age 7 or 8, who loses his father, a soldier, during world war 2. To keep him safe, away from the war torned life, his mother, Kirsti sends him to Sweden, where more than 70,000 other children of Finland were supposed to be provided with shelter till the end of war. Eero believes when his mother said that this was just a vacation. Eero is recieved by a Swedish couple, Hjalmer and Signe, who have lost their little girl to storm. On finding that it is a boy who has come to them, the Swedish lady feels down-hearted and walks away without greeting Eero as she was expecting a little girl like their own. But Hjalmer welcomes him well to their home. Here begins the story.

Eero finds it easy with Hjalmer who is very kind and joyous with him. But mother Signe turns out to be an alien to the child; She doesn't know Finnish and Eero, Swedish. This is not the only reason why Eero doesn't like Signe. But it is also because her attitude towards him is mechanical and her mind was still not able to accept a stranger as her own child. To Eero, Signe's every act seemed to be in contrast to his mother's. As the days pass, Eero and Hjalmer get along easily. Meanwhile Signe feels that she is left alone in the house. This makes her grow impatient.

One day, hearing on radio that Helsinki was bombed, Eero feels like her mother is in danger and decides to go back to Finland. But to go back, he had only one way in mind; that is through sea. Without informing anyone, Eero goes for a sea voyage! This ends up him drowning in the sea but fortunately two soldiers, on finding him in trouble, come to his rescue. They take him back to Signe and she feels very sorry for this kid. Memory of her own little girl swallowed by the same sea makes her feel more miserable. This makes her heart smooth towards Eero than before.

At such a time, a letter from Kirsti reach Signe. That letter bore the news that Kirsti had fallen in love with a German and she was following him to Germany. But she had felt that it would be unwise to take Eero to Germany with her as it was not the safest place for him. She had also mentioned that it might be the God's will to bring Eero to Signe and pleaded her to take care of him like her own child for the rest of his life. Signe was shocked to read this and her heart melted for Eero. Now she was totally convinced that Eero will no more be a stranger but her own child. Signe talk to Eero about everything happened so far and ask him to be her son. Thus Eero finds his new mother in Signe.

After a month or so, When everything was getting colourful for the whole family of Hjalmer, another letter from Finland strike them with thunderbolt. The letter read that Kirsti wanted Eero back in Finland as peace had set in. She didn't go with the German as she felt shameful at the idea of abandoning her own child. She had felt that she loved her child more and this had made her to rethink of her decision.

Will Eero go back to Finland? Does Signe lose her new found son? Who has the right to be the mother of Eero?

Good Movie to Watch: 'Sound of Music'

Sound Of Music is a musical movie that set in the background of Nazi occupation of Austria during World War 2. The movie revolves around Maria, a pretty lady with great love for music and nature. In her childhood, she was attracted towards life as a nun at church. But love for nature and music becomes the hurdle for her life at church.  She will be sent to serve as a Governess for Von Trapp's children for few months by the Reverend Mother.

Von Trapp was once a captain of Austrian Navy and it can be easily guessed that he was in military by his disciplined life and which he also enforce on his seven children. He is a rich man but loss of his wife leaves him in agony. The children, deprived of mother's love and also of father's, always try to draw the attention of their father by playing pranks on Governesses. Totally twelve Governesses, unable to withstand the pranks, had already ran away. And here comes the Maria as thirteenth Governess.

Maria gets the same welcome as other Governesses had got from children. But Maria notices that the reason for their such behavior was the strict discipline enforced on them by the father, and notably the absence of loving mother. She feels very sorry for the children and take up the task of bringing back the rhythm of life into their family. The next day, Von Trapp leaves to city for a month to meet his baroness friend. Maria makes good use of this time and takes children to play outside, teach them music and give them all the motherly love she had to give. Children become very much fond of Maria and a month passes like a lightning in her presence.

Von Trapp returns with the baroness from the city only to find his children playing by the roadside and then in water with Maria. He loses his temper and commands Maria to leave the house. But when he listens his children greeting baroness with a lovely welcome song, he understands the impact of Maria in such a great change in the children. He apologizes Maria and asks her to stay back. As every day roll, Von Trapp's love for Maria grows within him silently. Baroness notices this change in Von Trapp and one fine day she succeed in convincing Maria to leave the house.

Maria returns back to church and prepares to take vow as a nun, though she was doing it against her will. Here at the Von Trapp's house, children miss Maria very much. And also get a shock when their father declares that Baroness is going to be their mother. What happens next? Does Maria take the vow as a nun? Does Von Trapp forget Maria and marry the Baroness? What about the children? Do they feel home with Baroness? You have to watch the movie to know answers to these questions.

Movie has many melodious songs that perfectly blends with the wonderful places where the movie has been shot. Movie also shows how silently the Nazi occupation of Austria took place. The music leaves a deep impression on your heart and at last, it is not surprising if you find yourself humming the music of the movie.

Rifca Stanescu - Youngest grandmother in the world!

She is only 27 but already a grandmother to a four year old boy! Though it is quite surprising, it is true. The tradition of 'marrying young' in the Romanian gypsy communities has made this possible. And, Rifca Stanescu is that young lady, from the village of Investi in Romania, to become the youngest grandmother in the world at the age of just 23!

Rifca Stanescu, born in 1985, ran away and married with Ionel Stanescu, a jewellery seller, when she was just 11. An year later she gave birth to Maria. Maria continued the tradition; married at the age of 11 and gave birth to Ion at 12. It is also a good thing to know that Rifca, Maria and Ion are all perfectly healthy. And for much of the surprise, Ion is already engaged to a ten year old girl. So it is not a fantasy if Maria becomes a grandmother at much younger age than her mother Rifca!

Rifca is a happy grandmother but she says she had other plans for Maria. Rifca insisted Maria to stay in school and complete her education. But when Maria was ready for the marriage, Rifca didn't stop her, as such is their tradition. It is also their tradition that bridegroom has to pay dowry to bride's parents!

Good Book to Read: "The Nose" by Nikolai Gogol

The Nose is a satirical short story by Nikolai Gogol, a famous Russian writer. Though totally fictious, story is naratted like an absolute reality. Except for the 'Nose', everything else in the story seems to be real. Blended with sarcasm, the story attacks the ignorance of people, especially learned men. The author insists through the story that writer must write something that is useful to the society, something that uplifts the culture, helps the progress of mankind.

The main character in the story is Kovalev, a Government Officer in general. But the story starts with Ivan Yakovlevitch, a barber who shaved Kovalev twice a week, finds the nose of Kovalev in his daily piece of bread!! Demoralized by the scene, Ivan gets rid of the nose by throwing it into the river. Thus the story begins!

That morning, as usual, Kovalev wakes up from his bed and reach the mirror, only to see the unusual disappearance of his nose! Yes, his nose that rests between the cheeks!! He sees a flat, smooth surface at the place of his nose. Horribly frightened, Kovalev sets out to register a complaint about the great escape of his nose. As he walks through the street, he finds his nose, dressed like a State Councillor, roaming through the streets in a carriage! Astonished Kovalev follow the carriage and meet the 'Nose in disguise' at Church. Kovalev hesitantly asks the 'Nose' to return to its original place. The 'Nose' couldn't make out a thing of Kovalev's words and hence ignores him. While Kovalev's sight falls towards a beautiful lady for a second, 'Nose' takes this chance to escape form the scene!

Kovalev continues his search for his nose and decides to advertise it on Newspaper. But the man at the advertisement section refuses to take his advertisement, for it would reduce the trustworthiness of the Newspaper. Kovalev's all attempts for the day fail and he returns home. But this doesn't end here. Kovalev thinks it must be the dirty work of a witch, hired by Madame Podtochina, wife of a State Officer, whose daughter he refused to marry. Kovalev writes a burning letter to Podtochina to set everything right otherwise to face the consequences, But when he recieves a respectful and calm answer, Kovalev comes back to reality.

Meanwhile, the loss of Kovalev's nose becomes a national sensation. Many rumours were set to air. Our poor Officer regrets whole day for the loss of nose. He couldn't step out of his home anymore. What happens next? Will our 'Major' Kovalev gets his nose back? Could he ever again talk to ladies without his face being covered? You have to read the story to know answer to these questions.

The narration of the story is simply beautiful. Each and every scene are picturised in a realistic manner. The concept of 'Nose' escaping from the face itself is an interesting thing. You will burst into laughter reading the story. And if you touch your nose to confirm its presence and if found missing, author is not responsible!

Good Book To Read: The Importance of being Earnest!

The importance of being Earnest is a play written by Oscar Wilde. As described by himself, It is a trivial comedy for serious people! Though the name of the play isn't much catchy, play is very much hilarious. Just to say, It is a normal love story (or stories?) with abnormal twists!

The hero of our story is Jack, a romantic and responsible lad of 29, living by country side. He is responsible because he is the guardian of a little pretty girl of 18, Cecily. Cecily is taken care by an admirable Governess, Miss Prism, who lives with the former two. He also has an imaginary (yes, Imaginary!) brother named Earnest. Earnest is born out of Jack's mind who, never lived in country with his brother, lives in the city. To be simple, Earnest is an excuse for Jack to come to city whenever he wants.

The main reason why Jack comes to city is Gwendolen. Gwendolen is the cousin of Jack's friend Algernon and Jack loves her so much. Since Jack is not Jack but Earnest in city, he is known to everyone in the city, including Gwendolen, as Earnest. Gwendolen also loves Jack because his name is Earnest! That might be quite cynical but our heroine feels something musical in the name Earnest. When Jack proposes Gwendolen, he comes to know about this fact. So Jack prepares to kill his imaginary brother and rechristine himself as Earnest!

One fine day, Jack unexpectedly returns to the country when no one was expecting him back home for next few days. He brings with him the sad news of his brother's death to Miss Prism. But Cecily comes running out of home to give a “good” news to Jack. Cecily informs Jack that his brother has just arrived from town!! It is a mere shock for miss Prism but total absurdity for Jack!

Well, Earnest's arrival to the country stirs the situation. To make it more sensational, Earnest proposes Cecily and she wholeheartedly accepts! The twist to the tale here is, Cecily loves Earnest because his name is Earnest! So Earnest of city is now engaged to Gwendolen and Earnest of country is engaged to Cecily. The whole mess gets more messy when Gwendolen comes to country to meet Earnest, I mean Jack. There she meets Cecily and finds out that she is also engaged to Earnest!

Will Gwendolen marry Jack? Will Earnest get Cecily? What happens when Jack comes to know that he is not Jack but Earnest for real?! What happens when Earnest next to Jack turns out to be his real brother?! One more question is prevalent than all else – Who the heaven is that Earnest who suddenly appeared on the scene at country home? If you want to know answers to these questions, you must read the play as I'm not going to reveal anything here!

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