Category Archives: World

Indian Street Cricket From The Eyes Of Jack Hoyle – 2

Here’s presenting the second part of the three-part series on Street Cricket in India from Jack Hoyle. Watching these pics and his travel, one thing is sure, he definitely has a good book in his camera. 

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The batsman makes a dash for it and picks up a quick single.

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Any patch of land will do. A recently ploughed field hosts an impromptu game.

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The ball gets lost down a rabbit hole

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A young batsman takes a swing.

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That’s what mostly happens in the ultra-short format on the streets. A big swing and a miss.

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No space is free from cricket. Local common ground in Khajuraho is taken over by a group of cricket players.

London Underground Explained By A Londoner

By Disha Shah

Each city has its own lifeline and for London it is its connectivity through underground trains. Every morning, a Londoner gets up and checks the tube update to plan a smooth journey to his/ her destination.

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London Underground Logo

London Underground was formed in 1985 and today it’s a major business with three million passenger journeys made every day, serving 275 stations and over 408kms. It has 13 major tube lines covering the whole of London.

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London Underground train

The transport for London website (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/) provides a journey planner where one just needs to provide the intended start and finish destination and the planner provides you with all information, such as time to reach station from home, which tube line to take, around what time, where to change trains, if required, time to reach the destination from the end station, total journey time, any planned closures, etc.

Journey Planner

                                    Journey Planner

The tube connects every part of the city to each other and it’s very convenient even for tourists. There are multiple ticketing options as well as day passes available to choose from. I would recommend just buy an oyster and top it up with single fare or day pass or weekly or monthly pass. Oyster is accepted on bus journeys so it has added advantage. The balance along-with the deposit os refunded back whenever one desires.

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Oyster card

There is a lot to learn from 150 years old transport system which breaks at times however never stops!

 

How to Make Your Boss Love You? – Part 2

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So, how did you fare with the Bully, the Manipulator and the Liar? Did you try some of the tips suggested in the first part of the series? This part contains a few more types of bosses and tips on how to handle them with care.

The Goody-goody

shutterstock-a-good-bossSupportive, encouraging, competent, soft-spoken – did you have the good luck to come across a boss like this? Such miraculous personalities are rare and when you chance upon them, you should make sure that you are in their good books. Most often than not, the goody-goody will always think well of others, since they like to have a positive outlook. However, a problem with them might be their tendency to give second chances to the slackers. If you are a slacker, you will have a gala time. However, if you are hardworking, you might feel frustrated by the number of chances your boss gives to the non-performers.

How to deal – ‘Slog’ is the word you have to take very seriously with the Goody-goody. Work very hard and learn as much as possible. If you do manage to befriend her, you can quietly advise her about not giving too many chances to slackers. However, if your relationship is that of a boss and reportee, it’s best to work hard, be good to her and at the end of your tenure, request her for a strong reference.

bossThe Unpredictable

Does your boss sing praises of you one day and then not give you an appraisal the next day? Does he have frequent mood swings? Then you can easily categorize such a person as unpredictable.

How to deal – The best way to tackle such moody souls is to steer clear of their ways on their bad days and speak to them only when they approach you. Also, you can try limiting your communication with them to urgent office matters. Keep in mind that they treat everyone in the same way because that is how they are and try not getting negatively impacted by their attitude.

The Incompetent

Incompetetnt-BossIf your boss taunts you about your qualifications and tells you blatantly that you are not performing to your optimum, you can assume that he is under-confident about his own skills. A self-assured boss will never try to show you down. Contrarily, he will tell you that he has higher hopes from you.

How to deal – People with complexes are slightly difficult to deal with…all the more so when such a person is your boss. There are two ways of tackling such a boss – either develop a thick skin or leave the job.

Hashtags On Facebook: Implications For You And Your Brand

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With Facebook finally having forced to follow Twitter and Instagram and having had to onboard hashtags, there has to be implications. Here are 4 most important ones for you and your brand 

1. What’s Trending: What is most important for a marketer on a social media platform. It is to know what’s making the most noise and is being followed frantically. Twitter and Google+ are two platforms which clearly show what’s trending because these are easily captured via Hashtags. With FB now bringing Hash, it would soon make people know what’s trending on FB which is nowhere in sight currently. Imagine with the number of folks on FB how crucial this will be for brands and for common folks.

2. Increase in Exposure: Till now what you posted on facebook was limited to the number of fans you had and constantly added. Now everything that you post on the platform with a relevant and appropriate hashtag is visible to everyone who is looking for something close to that. Imagine you are a photographer and with each photo with a relevant hashtag you will be connected to folks who would be looking for services in the domain you cater to. With the kind of numbers and engagement that Facebook see’s you are in with a business once you work with good relevance.

3. Customizing your Hashtags: So you thought this will increase spam, not really. Facebook will allow you to filter and search for hashtagged comments within your social circle as well. So if you want to know what your network is saying about a get-together that you have planned, you can just filter it down to your network, thus avoiding spam that is unwanted information. Extrapolate this and imagine the same for a brand, how relevant isn’t it?

4. Massive Advertising Reach: The reach of advertising will increase massively through hashes. Imagine Tata Nano launching a new car with some feature that is worth talking. They push the ad on Facebook with a #Nanonew. Now anyone who comments on the video and uses the hash becomes a part of the thread irrespective of him/her commenting on the video post. The best part is Tata can take stock of everything that has been happening on it. Works great, isn’t it?

We all know Hash tags have been very successful for both Twitter and Instagram. It enables users from all over the globe to come over and discuss on things they want to, breaks global divide completely. By bringing Hash on Facebook, it has increased competition, especially for Twitter which had launched its advertising space very recently. How will it impact both the platform we will know in a while, for now though the brands stand to gain a lot from all the efforts.

Pati Patni Aur Woh In The Bihar Political Drama

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Our Political Analyst from Bihar analyses the situation in the state referencing it with frequent marriages and divorces in the Indian Political arena. A must read where he mentions no matter what the equations become, the only loser would be the state and the people of Bihar. 

“Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all you need is two hearts and a diamond. In divorce though, a club and a spade would have been better”. This how relationships begin and when the going gets tough, the tough decides to fizzle out. In the last seventy two hours the Indian political class has seen a bitter divorce that has taken place. A formidable marriage between the BJP & JD (U) has finally gone kaput.

In the last seventeen years both these parties made their voters believe ‘they cannot live without each other’. Kept each other’s secrets close to their chest, both of them covered each other’s lies, they had their voters hypnotized by their actions and today out of the blue they tell the world that ‘we are sorry, we were wrong, we can live without each other’.

Day before yesterday the rains ruined an India v/s Pakistan classic, but yesterday was Super Sunday in Bihar politics. As the news started to trickle in that the marriage is over the entire city of Patna wore a deserted look. Normally the eateries do roaring business here on the weekends, but the voters had already been given enough food for thought to keep their stomachs full through the night.

The fear of a certain mister Laloo Prasad Yadav winning the next assembly elections came back to haunt the business community yesterday. The young entrepreneurs who came back to the city in the last seven years and pumped in money to establish their settlements feared for the worse in the coming time.

What hurt the people was the fact that a state that was once considered a liability had become an asset in such a short span of time, a government that won the last assembly elections purely on the issue of development had chosen to betray the faith of their people over the secular v/s communal divide.

The other woman in the relationship was waiting to take advantage of the divide. Congress had been sending feelers to JDU for the past two years now. What the two partners failed to realise was that every marriage goes through problems; there are times when both face ideological differences, both have an ego tussle ensuing, but at the end of the day, the alliance was not just about them, it was also about their loved ones; their voters. The problem is when JDU realised it had a cushion to fall back on, they had stopped caring about the relationship.

What unfolds in the near future is something only the clock will decide, but one thing is sure, the jolted voters will answer this step in the next general elections. Either ways whoever forms the government at the centre ‘BIHAR & ITS PEOPLE STAND TO LOSE’.

P.S: BJP is saying to the Congress ‘Honey you can have him’. We deserve better!

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Government and Governance: What is it All About?

Malathy Madathilezham analyses the political and social significance of the terms ‘government’ and ‘governance’.

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The terms governance is used liberally by us and around us in media and public discussions but it is important to understand the concept to understand the significance of the same social, economic and political context. Therefore what is governance, how did the emphasis shift from government to a broader term governance, where government is just one among the players. I shall try to explore some of these aspects in this post.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘Government is the, agency, through which a political unit exercises its authority, controls and administers public policy, and directs and controls the actions of its members or subjects.’ According to Heywood (as cited in Jordan, Wurzel, & Zito, 2003), the ‘core functions’ of government is to ‘make law (legislation), implement law (execution) and interpret law (adjudication).’ For Richards and Smith (as cited in  ordan, Wurzel, & Zito, 2003), ‘government is bureaucracy, legislation, financial control, regulation and force’.  Government is also referred to the formal institutions of the state and their monopoly of legitimate coercive power. The notion of government implies that there is only one centre of power in a unitary state, but in reality there are many centers and diverse links between many agencies of government—at local, regional, national and supranational levels.

There are various forms of governments such as democracy or autocracy but here I am exploring the concept of government as used in social sciences. In a broad sense, government would involve representation which is somewhat inevitable where there are large numbers of people and this representation may be imperfect too. Imperfection may mean that the representative may not be actually be elected through a majority by all those eligible to do so but only those who cared to vote. For e.g.: the recent BMC elections where the voter turnout was only 45%! Anyhow, it is this representative government that plays the central role in overall policy framing for development and management of resources and provision of basic services to the society. Thus government is associated with regulation. It can be seen that there is often a gap between the citizens and the representatives due to various reasons and for effective implementation of the policies and laws the government cannot function in isolation and therefore it is imperative to include the citizens in the process of development and formulation of policies. Therefore, as one of the government’s roles it has the responsibility of developing necessary cooperation at all levels.

Governance: Definitions
It is interesting to see the way governance is defined by the international organizations. According to the World Bank it is the “the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s social and economic resources for development” with key dimensions being public sector management (stress on capacity and efficiency), accountability, the legal framework for development and information and transparency. The Asian Development Bank says about governance that “it encompasses the functioning and capability of the public sector, as well as the rules and institutions that create the framework for the conduct of both public and private business, including accountability for economic and financial performance, and regulatory frameworks relating to companies, corporations, and partnerships”.  Accoding to Kitthananan, this shows the interest of the international organisation is to strengthen  domestic institutions for policy development and implementation while Niraja Jayal argues that the governance agenda is closely linked to the neo-liberal principles of politics and economics with a strong case for ‘rolling back’ of the state and also withdrawal from its redistributive commitments.

According to her this aspect of governance is not acceptable due to moral considerations. Al-Habil here takes a more neutral stand by saying that while generally governance is finally about creating conditions for ordered rule and collective action but agrees that  it entails in it the desire to cull out functions away from government and contract out to private sector and non profits organisations in the belief that they would run things ‘better’ and more efficiently. In this context, it has been also contended that government and governance are not fixed entities but can be seen as the two ends of a continuum of different governing types.

Analysis of Governance
Kitthananan goes on to give the framework for analysis of governance through various perspective which would help to understand the theoretical and pragmatic concerns of governance. He refers to Stoker who has provided interrelated propositions that help understanding governance theory which are:

  1. Governance refers to a set of institutions and actors that are drawn from, but also beyond, government
  2. Governance identified the blurring of boundaries and responsibilities for tacking social and economic issues.
  3. Governance identifies the power dependence involved in the relationships between institutions involved in collective action.

These help us to understand that with the increase in the number of actors, centralised government became only one among others when it came to making of policy and the process of governing.

Conclusion

The political nature of governance is obvious because it depends on interaction between different stakeholders who will have diverse interest and differential power. This has been sidelined and the focus has been on participatory approaches. While the principles behind participatory mechanisms this can be appreciated but then the effectiveness of this can be contested because on the ground this process remains largely influenced by the political and social fabric which dictates who is ‘able’ and ‘allowed’ to participate. What this has also led to increased alienation of people who resorted to ‘political’ mechanism because of other factors which restrict their participation.

There were existing informal and formal participatory mechanism but the shift to governance has resulted in new opportunities for non-government actors to participate. The challenge is here to build the capacity of those who are to participate and at the same time reduce the risk of capture by vested interest groups. This can be particularly important at the local level where a certain person of group exercise unchallenged power and can manipulate the local government.

Decentralization offers certain opportunities for improved governance through local level planning and implementation, citizen and community participation, improved efficiency through involvement of private players etc. There is greater acceptance, in fact, invitation for citizen and community participation. For e.g.: the Slum Sanitation Programs which focuses on a demand led approach to sanitation and envisaged involvement of community right at the planning stage. Also increased powers to the ULBs and local governments, brings governance closer to the people, with a bottom up approach.

The local governments are subjected to both central and state control and do not operate in isolation. These could be administrative, financial and political. Local administrative bodies have municipal commissioners and other officials who are bureaucrats. The state/central budgets, policies and laws are applicable on the ULBs which may or may not be conducive to their conditions. The political control could be significant due to party links which would be largely ‘vertical’ (party system is evident in all three tiers and people at times vote for the party rather than individuals). In addition, they are dependant on state departments like PHED, PWD etc for technical assistance, development authorities, electricity boards and financial institutions. This could be horizontal to part of the government within a given locality. The challenge here is how to implement the concepts of governance in this intricate web of interdependency with the opportunities provided.

It is also interesting to look at aspects of equity while analyzing the shift to governance. How have been these addressed on the ground? Does participation, increased efficiency, roll back of the state, transparency, accountability actually lead to better equity?

For the shift to governance to be beneficial, the steps have to be taken to ensure that aspects of equity are not ignored in the rush to implement ‘best practices’ in order to attract aid and investment which are conditionally linked to most of these good governance practices.

The 4:00am Dream!

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Ankush Kumar delves into a very important point. Why we criticise someone like Sachin Tendulkar who has done so much for the game and still cry over Ferfuson’s retirement from the League. Hypocritical isn’t it, our fans behaviour. 

The ‘De Ghuma ke’ song was possibly the worst world cup anthem to be made. However, all Indians had a smile on their faces, when that song was played in the background. We watched Dhoni hit that ball for a six. The euphoria made that song sound incredible all of a sudden.

Today as we look back, Indians have very few sporting memories which bring a smile on our face and induce the feeling of pride within us. I am reminded of another instance – the National Anthem being played when ‘Abhinav Bindra’ won us the first individual gold medal at the Olympics.

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Some moments are universal, some ‘nations, teams, individual heroes’ speak a unanimous language of hope, happiness and dreams. One such moment was the final game for Sir Alex Fergusson, the legendary Scot who waved goodbye to ‘The Theatre of Dreams’. The song that played on loop on my laptop when Manchester United beat Everton to give a fitting to farewell to the ‘best manager’ in the world was ‘Ya Ya Maya Ya’ a Goan number. While it brought a smile on my face, a tinge of sadness crept in since the next season onwards we will miss the man.

I was not born in Manchester. The closest I have come to becoming a British is through my education in an English medium school and also through the numerous cuisines and my dressing sense. Despite this, we have various clubs as our favourites, we continue to feel sorry when our team loses and celebrate when our teams win; we go through different emotions every year, every season.

sachin-tendulkarWe are a nation that languishes at the bottom of the pile in world soccer, yet we do feel pained when a legend walks away from the game. Then why are we being so harsh on a legend from our own country? Why are we questioning him today? Why have we become so critical of him? Have we forgotten that ‘he is the same man that has brought us the maximum amount of joys in a sporting arena’?

The ones, who have been so harsh on ‘Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar’, have you ever chased just one dream in your life? Have you relentlessly pursued just one passion? Have you ever faced the burden of a billion hearts? I am sure the answer is in the negative. Amidst, all the updates against the man on different forums, the truth is, that when the legend walks away from the game ‘some or the other song’ will be played out and all that will remain is some sweet memories.