Tag Archives: China

Goodness Gracias Green Tea

By Tahira

green tea 2

Consumption of tea originated in China nearly 4000 years ago and as far as Green Tea is concerned, it was first brewed in 2737 BC, during the reign of the Chinese Emperor Chen Nung. Over the ages, Green Tea has been known and extensively used for its medicinal purpose long years together. But what makes Green Tea so popular and endearing. Lets take a look.

Green Tea and Weight Loss
Wondering that consumption of a liquid can actually do such a wonder? Well, yes it does. Regular consumption of green tea increases the rate of metabolism. The substance named polyphone present in green tea works towards intensifying the levels of fat oxidation. It also intensifies the rate at which our body burns calories.

Green Tea and Cancer
Consumption of Green Tea is known to reduce the risk of oesophagus and breast cancer. However, the cancer fighting abilities of green tea is not only limited to these two. Flavinoids present in green tea helps reducing cancer risk. The antioxidant in green tea has been proved to be 100 times more effective than Vitamin C and nearly 25 times better than Vitamin E.

Moreover, Catechins found in green tea help deactivate certain carcinogens, prevent cell mutation and reduce the formation of tumors. Drinking as many as four cups of green tea in a day can help reap the benefits.

Green Tea and Cardiovascular Diseases
The lowering risks of heart diseases and stroke has long been associated with Green Tea. According to Harvard Health Publications, regular Green Tea consumers develop lower risks for heart diseases. The presence of the strong antioxidants in green tea, blocks the oxidation of bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol thereby improving arterial functions. A Chinese study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed nearly 50% reduction in hypertension risks in those who consumed Green Tea on a regular basis.

Green Tea and, Oral and Bone Health
Presence of flavinoids, natural fluorides, catechins and polyphenols are known to kill bacteria that are responsible for causing tooth decay, gum problems and bad breath. A study published by the European Journal of Nutrition, found that those who consumed at least two cups of Green Tea everyday, developed less risk of tooth decay. However, it is advisable that you consume Green Tea without sugar or honey.

green tea 1Though researches are still being undertaken about the Green Tea’s association of promoting bone health, but some studies have found that routine consumption of Green Tea for more than five years can help in reducing the risk of diseases such as osteoporotic fractures. Green Tea is also thought to reduce bone loss through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. It is believed that Green Tea also helps in bone building cells.

How to Reap the Benefits
In a cup of  hot boiled water, add one or two teaspoons of green tea leaves. Keep for five minutes and strain. You can add ice if you want to have this beverage cold. But, always remember to be able to reap the benefits of Green Tea to the fullest, have it plain, without sugar or honey.

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Defining Moments : India at 66

As India takes one more step forward, let us take a look at 11 defining moments after its Independence.

From Dominion to Republic, 1950.

From Dominion to Republic

The Dominion of India becomes the Republic of India on 26th January 1950 by adopting the newly drafted constitution. Today, we are the largest democracy in the world and the constitution is the largest one in the world and maintains its unique nature while adopting several portions from British, US & other constitutions of the world.

Biggest Gamble in History : First General Elections 1951-52

First General Elections 1951-52

It was like the biggest gamble in the history of India. Consider, first of all, the size of the electorate: 176 million Indian voters of whose more than 85% could not read or write. Each one had to be identified, named & registered. At stake were around 4500 seats – about 500 for Parliament and rest for Provincial assemblies. Again these figures are not enough, there were 224,000 polling booths, 2 million steel ballot boxes (made of 8200 tonnes of steel) and about 380,000 reams of paper were used. And with all this, India went to its first general elections.

Redrawing the Map : State Reorganization Act, 1956

State Reorganization

India is a land of many languages, each with its distinct script, grammar, vocabulary and literary traditions. And as we became independent, demand for states on linguistic and ethnic identities started growing. It was the 58 – day long fast of Potti Sriramulu that led to the creation of Andhra Pradesh and setting up the First State Reorganization Commission. Potti Sriramulu might be a forgotten man today but his fast and its aftermath sparked off a wholesale redrawing of the map of India on linguistic lines.

The Experience of Defeat ; Sino – Indian War, 1962

1962 India China War

As the Dalai Lama crossed into India in 1959 and China tightened its control over Tibet, the “Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai’ slogans on the border were replaced by “Yeh Zameen Hamara Hai, Tum Wapas Jao”. Border & territorial claims of both the countries were starkly different and as China grew stronger under the Communist rule, it was determined to undo all the ground positions. As China attacked India in 1962, the war lead to a bitter defeat for ill-prepared India. The India-China conflict, then, was a clash of national myths, national egos, national insecurities and ultimately of the national armies.

Victory against Pakistan, 1965

1965 War

Pakistan’s ruler Ayub Khan and his company were encouraged by the debacle against China in 1962. But they forgot that it was in wet & slippery Himalayas, while war with Pakistan is on a terrain that Indians knew much better. The victory in the 1965 war came as a confidence booster to everybody, be it army, civilians or the Govt.

The Uncertain years and the Bangladesh War, 1967-71

Pakistan

Once the Congress was the national cohesive force, but by late 1960s, it was split into disputatious parts. Between Banking nationalization, slogans of “Garibi Hatao” and several other reforms by Mrs. Indira Gandhi, India was again facing trouble from its western neighbor, but this time on the eastern frontiers. The than East Pakistan was witnessing popular uprising for a separate nation and this lead to a war between India & Pakistan. Within 6 days, Indian army had marched till Dacca. It was hailed as the biggest victory ever in Indian history and it changed the map of the subcontinent.

The Emergency Years, 1975-77

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After Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was found guilty of electoral malpractice, she declared State of Emergency in June 1975. The emergency revived the debate as to whether India could, should, or ever would be reliably democratic. The emergency was lifted in 1977, and India saw its first non-Congress govt, though a short-lived one.

Operation Blue Star and Assassination of the Indira Gandhi, 1984

Assassination of Indira

As militancy and violence was on the peak in Punjab, the Indian Government decided to attack the Khalistan movement and “Operation Blue Star” was launched in July 1984. As a consequence, in October that year, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards and this was followed by large-scale Anti-Sikh riots in Northern India. Rajiv Gandhi was sworn in as the Prime Minister.

Mandal, Kamandal & Economic Reforms : 1990-92

Babri Mosque Demolition

In 1990, the controversy rose over PM V.P. Singh’s decision to implement 1980 recommendations of the Mandal commission for further job reservations to “other backward classes”. The same year Bharatiya Janata Party launched nationwide protests over Ayodhya issue. After the tenth General elections in 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by LTTE terrorists. The economy took a downturn, and gold reserves were pawned to stave off default on international debt. In 1992, Babri Masjid was demolished and riots broke out not only in India but in several other countries.

Peace & War, 1999

Lahore Bus Trip

As Prime Minister Vajpayee undertook a historic bus journey to Pakistan and signs a declaration of peace; within a few days, Pakistani soldiers crossed the LOC and infiltrated Indian Kashmir. India repulsed the attack and Pakistan lost the brief, but bloody, border conflict in the Himalayan district of Kargil.

Gandhi’s land in communal riots, 2002

Gujarat Riots 2002

As several Kar Sevaks were burned to death in an attack on Sabarmati Express in Godhra town in 2002, large-scale Hindu-Muslim riots broke out in Gujarat leaving over a thousand dead.

Android Phone Now On Narendra Modi’s Name, Here’s More

smart-namo

So if you thought Narendra Modi’s fan are restricted to only buying his memorabilia in Gujarat, you were wrong. A set of android phone manufacturers in China are bringing out a phone in his name, and the gadget as far as specs looks comparable and compatible with the best.

If you thought the list of phones coming your way is getting lesser think again. This election season politicians will also bombard you with gadgets in their name. Who takes the headstart, our digital and gadget-guru, the man with the most twitter and other social media followers, Narendra Modi, popularly known by his followers as NaMo.

If this website and the founders of this company are to be believed the gadget with seriously ultra-specs (only available on high-end phones) will be out around the end of August. The phone rightly named Smart NaMo has been given the name because “Namo stands for Narendra Modi and Next Generation Android Mobile Odyssey” according to the website.

According to the brief product specs available on the website, the 5-inch smartphone will be powered by a MediaTek MT6589 SoC that includes a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and include Gorilla Glass 2 protection and a 13 megapixel camera.

The phone, according to the website, will be available in four variants with 1GB or 2GB RAM and 16GB or 32GB of internal memory. The company is also planning to launch the phone with a Narendra Modi ‘signature edition’.

The idea, according to one of the founders, Ammeet Desai (in an interview to Wall Street Journal), a Gujarati businessman who has a mobile business in China, came from China where several products like MP3 players and smartphones are sold with branding of the leaders.

A Wall Street Journal report claims that Smart NaMo phone will cost Rs 16,000 at launch and have videos as well as apps related to Modi.

How Much Forest Does a Man Need

By Ankit Chandra

If you flew over Delhi around june 2010, one thing would be kinda clear. That you couldn’t see anything clearly at all from the window. Well, part of it could have been because most of the city was dug up for Commonwealth games, but there was a major part ascribed to plain dust in the air. Maybe it was due to scorching summer and lack of humidity in the air too.

But then the question comes, if there was so much dust in the atmosphere, wouldn’t everyone be inhaling it? And with lax industry laws, there of course are many pollutants in the air too! And all of them simply, pretty much forcibly just get into your lungs!

The next question is why are people not doing anything about it? Well, I think that’s because people, mostly, are not empowered to do anything beyond their own backyard. And the people who are empowered, are either so dumb to not see the issue, or plain and simple ignorant, or just too busy minting money to see that this effects everyone! including the PM and the President. Well, only when they are out in the open…

So then how do we actually see how bad the picture is? For one, every one could take a flight in to Delhi, which, for obvious reasons isn’t the most economical way of conducting a study. So I thought I should do the next best thing. Take pictures from high above and paste them here.

Thanks to google maps and jing technologies, I was able to put these pics here:

lucknow_googlemapsLucknow, India

hyderabad_googlemapsHyderabad Suburbs, India

nerul_googlemapsNerul, Navi Mumbai, India

noida_googlemapsNOIDA, India

schaumburg_googlemapsSchaumburg, US

niceParis_googlemapsNice, France

tootingLondon_googlemapsTooting, London, UK

I tried to compare apples to apples by keeping the resolution level the same. I also tried to consider only what I thought were suburbs, since they seem to have a better control over land and hence tree cover.

What is clearly visible is that number of trees in the captured area are faar less for Indian cities, no matter where they are, when compared to, suburbs in US or Europe.

This is not a research study, so I am sure the sample data I am looking at would be flawed after a point. But I definitely wanted to put up some comparison between what Indian cities are doing, vs the ‘better’  cities of US/Europe. Also, since these are suburbs, in both cases (India or others) they were settled down into, rather recently.

We all have known that tree cover is said to be beneficial for MANY things, including water table restoration, reduction in free dust just flying around in the air, reducing average temperature of the areas, and keeping the land healthier in general.

Given this, I wanted to hit at at least one problem. That of awareness in people in India about the shoddy state of their green cover. Only 12% of land mass in India is covered with forests, as compared to 33% in the US, 30% over the world, 34% in Canada, 22% in China and so on.

I think the green cover is especially more important in city areas given the concentration of pollutants in general.

Maybe we should start from where we do have control. Our backyard. And then move up from there. Otherwise the average life expectancy in our cities will continue to be low and maybe drop lower with new industrialization and growth happening…

Good vs Mediocre B-schools: An Ocean Of Difference

b schools

Who better to dissect B-schools than our double MBA graduate, CAT trainer and author Ganesh Subramanian. In this article Ganesh Subramanian talks about the oceanic sized difference between the good b-schools and the ones that are just hyped about. 

MBA as a career option after an undergraduate degree has been the talking point for the last eight years or so in India. For years, studies abroad was and still continues to be a much sought after career move. But in recent years, a management degree in India has been getting attention and preferred as a passport to high-paying jobs in the country. This is reflected in the increase in the number of students taking up management entrance exams in the country year after year, most notably the CAT, considered to be one of the toughest entrance exams not only in India but globally.

While the successful end up in dream B-schools of their choice, those who fail to crack the exam have to settle for lesser and often unattractive alternatives. Given that some students are willing to go to any length to do a management degree, it has led to mushrooming of numerous B-schools in the country and sadly, despite the huge number, quality is severely wanting in most of these B-schools.

There are a number of factors that play a role in determining and labelling a B-school as a good one or a bad one. Faculty, quality of placements, infrastructure facilities, quality of students, etc. to name a few. The sad scenario is that one or more of these is lacking even in certain good B-schools.

In the not-so-good B-schools, the scenario is quite bleak in B-schools which have sprung up as an offshoot of engineering colleges. Barring a few good colleges in this genre, the rest of them have been started purely with a profit making intention, riding on the MBA craze. Such B-schools are plagued by shortage of quality faculty, minimal industry interface translating into very average or poor placements and poor quality students.

When one interacts with students of such institutes, the gap in quality is quite appalling. Poor communication skills coupled with utter lack of seriousness in the course makes one wonder how they got admissions there in the first place. Most of these students are still very childish and immaturish in their thoughts and in what they talk, how they treat things. These students are still in their undergraduate mindset and it’s sad to think that they are post-graduate students. There is no willingness to learn new things from their experienced peers. The students without work experience are the most pathetic of the lot. The new found attitude or the lack of it is surprising because students who passed out in the early part of the millennium possessed a maturity far beyond their years unlike their contemporary counterparts.

Unfortunately, the same bad aspects mentioned above have also percolated to students in some top B-schools. It seems as if these students have taken the age old saying “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” a little too seriously. One can only pray to the Almighty to give some of these half-cooked, dim-witted students the necessary strength and brains when they confront a heartless, merciless, indifferent human being called “THE BOSS” when they enter their work life.

Although the scenario can’t be completely reversed, two things can be done here. One is that managements in mediocre B-schools can take the right steps in bringing their institutes on par with the quality of the top colleges and the other is that students need to be more careful and selective in their B-school selections. Things can then change for the better.

Indo-China Bhai Bhai

Kushal Sakunia writes on how the Chinese Premiere’s visit to India could be seen as one to improve relations between the two countries.

india-china-heads

For the first time, future shared interests are taking over the past differences in the relations between the countries on the two sides of the McMohan line. In light of the Chinese incursion in Ladakh last month, the gesture of choosing India as his first official visit by Premier Li, hint at a possible positivism in Sino-Indian relations.

Both leaders spoke of the territorial disputes, trans-border rivers, peace and stability as well as improving economic ties by looking at investment opportunities in each other’s countries. However, despite the gestures and the words, the path for Beijing & New Delhi to come closer is still long, complex and with a lot of hurdles.

When the new leadership took over in China early this year, resolving border dispute was the first point in the list of Chinese President’s five point agenda on relations with India. In the talks between the two leaders, India voiced serious concern over the recent Chinese incursion in Ladakh and communicated that in the absence of peace and tranquility along the border, bilateral ties will suffer.  The boundary may remain disputed in coming years. China’s boundary dispute settlements with 12 of its 14 land neighbors show a pattern and also serve as useful indicators of what India can expect in future negotiations. In a majority of these settlements, China has insisted on demilitarization of the border areas and the urge of a “Quick Settlement” of the border dispute with India may also lead to a Chinese offer of a demilitarized zone across the LAC.

The last few years, China’s relations have deteriorated with Japan and South-east Asian countries. Relations with some ASEAN countries deteriorated in 2009 after Beijing identified the disputed South China Sea islands as a “core interest.” Previously, China had identified Tibet and Taiwan as core interests. China-Japan relations have been to new low with disputes over the Senkaku Islands and energy fields in the East China Sea. Philippines has started stapling Chinese visas and Vietnam is red-eyed over the South China Sea. With the growing presence of USA in this region, China certainly cannot afford creating another highly hostile neighbor on the south-western frontier.

china-indiaThough we raised our concerns over the contentious Brahmaputra water dispute and the trade imbalance issue and not to forget that, the joint declaration did not mention support to One-China policy, India was not effective in raising concerns over growing Chinese presence in the POK and the Chinese visa policy for Kashmiris (China for the first time is taking sides by issuing stapled visas to Indian Kashmiris while normal visas to residents of POK).

With China showing positive signs, India should demand Chinese reciprocity on all strategic issues. It is in India’s immediate interest to put other strategic concerns on the negotiating table as well – starting with China’s failure to endorse India’s bid for permanent membership of the UN Security Council and hugely growing Chinese military involvement in POK. The past experiences with China have not been good for India and as we come closer, we should not forget the contentious & thorny issues with the Dragon.

Chinese Breakfast @ China Town!

Continuing her series on China Town, Sampurna Majumder writes about the uniqueness of the locality.

Tiretta Bazaar

The variedness of Kolkata never seems to satiate me. From lip-smacking delicacies to some of the best known cultural events – Kolkata has loads to offer.

In my last article I focussed on the existing China Town of Kolkata. This time, I decided to take a step ahead and find out something unique about the locality.

It is a Saturday early morning around 5.30 am. The Tiretta Bazaar in Old China Town is already bustling with life. You can choose from some of the best Chinese delicacies that are served here. From yummy chicken soups to pork suimai – you name it and its there. On weekends, the breakfast platters are over by 8 am. Call centre employees and night-club hoppers comprise the main crowd.

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

If you want to try something new and adventurous you can always end up at the shops selling Chinese sauces and other ingredients that are required for cooking. There’s one shop named Sing Cheung Sauce Factory that sells all kinds of Chinese sauces.

The spicy pork sausages taste like slimy scrambled eggs. You can also try having the spicier broths with a dash of Sichuan chillies and pickled garlic. The fish-ball soup that is found at every nook and corner of Tiretta Bazaar is a must have. The best part about the breakfast is you will not find the regular Chinese stuff – like noodles or rice, but an assortment of other delicacies with broths and soups taking away the credits.

Shrimp Sui Mai

Tiretta Bazaar is one of the remaining cosmopolitan food hubs in the city that has already started becoming somewhat conservative in nature. Whatever, be it, if you are in Kolkata do miss the chance of a sumptuous Chinese Breakfast in the heart of the city.