Friday, September 30, 2011

To the Warzone

The mid-term break is finally here and I'm packed and ready (except for this laptop) to go back home. This break will be quite important because the term-break at the end of the break is halved for students of Civil Engineering on account of the survey camp.

Hyderabad, as we all know by now, is a warzone, with the TRS enforcing a massive lockdown of the region. There is no public transportation, rail and road blockades are being implemented and public services have come to a halt. Even the coal mines are not functioning due to a general strike, so there is a two-hour power cut in the city everyday. And it's much worse in the districts.

Anyway, I'm not going to get myself into this. I have three basic aims to fulfill this time - study for MTE-2, particularly CE-351, which was horrendous last time; catch up on TV, especially CID and KBC; and get myself some formal clothes. I've packed quite a lot for a mid-term break because I intend to leave most of the things at home.

So, despite the fact that this is my third year, I'm still very excited to be going back home. The thought of a clean toilet (you live in a hostel and make that face), good food and a warm bed where I can sleep for hours and hours... ah, I can't wait!

This time for Irom Sharmila

Sunday was a great day for the movement to support Irom Sharmila, the Iron Lady of Manipur who is all set to enter the 11th year of fast against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, or AFSPA. Across the length and breadth of the nation, people gathered in parks and busy roads to show their support for the movement.

Of course, that's not to say that the turnout was comparable to what Anna Hazare managed across the country. But it was significant, nonetheless. While a large number of participants were from northeast India, there were several who were not but chose to show their solidarity for the Iron Lady.

There is now a growing realization in urban India that somewhere, in a corner of this great nation, lies a Gandhian whose protest has no known precedent in history. Irom C Sharmila has been fasting for the last ten years against AFSPA, being kept alive by a cocktail of nutrients fed through a nasal pipe by the Manipur Government in her jail - JN Hospital, Imphal. She cannot meet any visitors, which is actually an illegal punishment imposed on her.

In a recent interview to CNN-IBN, Sharmila spoke of a man whom she has fallen in love with and would like to marry after she breaks her fast i.e., after AFSPA is repealed. The very next day, The Hindu came out with an editorial calling for Indians to hear the cries of this saintly woman who has given her entire life and love to this just and righteous cause. Indeed, that call seemed to have resonated among some in India's biggest cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Guwahati and others.

Opinions 24x7 has consistently supported Irom Sharmila and will continue to do so. As a follow up, on Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti, we shall present a lecture on violence, nation-building and AFSPA.

Songs of Valour

Stay quiet for a while, don't utter a word
Walk with me now, my song must be heard.
Look with me at, the flesh, and the blood.
Here is where he was laid to rest -
The demon we so revile.

Do not be fooled by the quiet of the dead,
Moments before, they were all alive.
Bravely they fought, they could not survive,
In the face of the demon we all so revile.

Across the mountains, where the sun shines bright!
From there came the Lion, with its elegance and might!
The Earth - she trembled in its wake -
Even the demon's heart, it began to quake.

And with a bolt of lighting, the heavens did heel.
The Goddess in her finery, descended into the field.
The demon looked on, consumed in hubris,
He took aim, struck at the Lord - oh, what a miss!

Not a moment's wait, not a furrow in her face,
She looked ahead, an epitome of rage and peace.
Oh, what a mighty fall - the Gods did rise to watch!
As the Goddess destroyed the demon -
The Earth beneath it scorched.

Remember, my friend, what you always knew,
Why we celebrate the victory of truth.
Songs of valour, songs of strife,
Keep them in your heart - keep them for life.

Opinions 24x7 wishes its readers a prosperous Dusshera.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Arrest M Kondadaram

The situation in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh is deteriorating by the minute. With the enforcement of an indefinite strike and a non-cooperation movement being launched by virtually all sections of society from the region, the Central and State Governments' uninspiring reaction is a serious cause for concern.

Now, after more than two weeks of peaceful agitation, TJAC convener M Kondadaram has called for even harsher, not-so-non-violent methods.His proposals include preventing people from other regions from entering Telangana by means of a road and rail blockade. He wishes to not just bring the entire administration to a halt but also ensure that the people face massive hardships.

As such, such blockades are against the law. The Supreme Court has laid down guidelines that forbid forced bandhs, but the Telangana bandhs have blatantly violated them. Under the guise of mass participation, schools and colleges have been shut forcefully. Calling this movement non-violent would be a joke: the movement is so laced with the threat of violence that it could very well be called non-violent.

M Kondadaram's assertions against people from outside Telangana borders on xenophobia and goes against the spirit of the Constitution. His plans for the next few weeks can badly affect the lives of children and working class people. This is cause enough for his arrest and it is imperative for the Kiran Kumar Reddy government to act.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Part 2: The Monarchy

The history of the monarchies that ruled the Kingdom of Tripura is shrouded in mystery and a lack of understanding. Therefore, any clear and precise discourse on the topic is difficult to come by. Nonetheless, it is understood that the territory was once rules by the monarchs of Assam. This we know from the copper plates that date back to the Gupta Era and that of the Varman kings of Assam, both in the sixth century AD.

What we do know is that the extended region around Tripura, including the modern province of Chittagong in Bangladesh, was inhabited by a number of tribes. Some of these were Hindu, while others were Buddhists who has migrated from the Arakan Valley in neighbouring Burma. There is ample archaeological evidence to this effect. In particular, the royal records-keeper of the Manikyas, Rajmala, gives an account of two small kingdoms - Lika Rajya and Bachal Rajya - around Tripura. Both were tribal kingdoms.

There exists an interesting allegory in the hills. The Manikyas, through shrewd diplomacy and military might, conquered these lands but allowed their rules to handle local affairs in a sort of confederation. It is said that once a year, all the local rulers would be invited to pay homage to the Manikya king and, out of compassion, the King would allow the Bachal Raja to preside over the throne for a single day. This was because the Bachal Rajya has once presided over the entire state.

The New Capital and the Bengal Sultans
The Kingdom of Tripura saw tremendous growth in trade under the Manikyas. However, one constant source of tension was the sporadic invasions from the Sultans of neighbouring Bengal. It is worth noting here that, despite the difference in size, the Bengal Sultans never managed to defeat the Manikya kings. During the rule of one such great ruler - Maharaja Uday Manikya - the capital was shifted to a newly-constructed city of Udaipur (today in the South Tripura district).

The defeat of the Bengal Sultans to the East India Company in the battle of Plassey saw the end of the threat to Tripura. However, even before the British arrived, the Kingdom faced a brief period of subjugation under the Mughals. In 1618, under Maharaja Yashodhar Manikya, Jehangir laid siege to the capital Udaipur and conquered it. The King was taken as a political prisoner while huge restrictions were posed on the local population, including restrictions on their worship of Hindu gods and goddesses, including at the historic Tripureshwari temple. King Yashodhar was taken to the Delhi Durbar and humiliated. He breathed his last there, never to return to his beloved Kingdom.

Major credit for repelling the invasion from Bengal goes to Maharaja Dhanya Manikya, arguably the greatest king they kingdom ever saw. With his able commanders Ray Kachag and Ray Kacham, he expanded the Kingdom far into the fertile Ganga-Brahmaputra delta region, going as far as Sylhet in Assam (not in Bangladesh). The revenue from these fertile regions funded the economy of the kingdom till partition and merger with the Union of India.

Hussein Shah, the Nawab of Bengal, invaded Tripura thrice, facing a humiliating defeat each time. An old canon that stands in Agartala today was seized by the Tripura Army during one such invasion. Following these massive victories against a much-larger kingdom, the King assumed the titles of Tripurendra and Vijayendra. He was a devout Hindu and constructed fine temples to Hindu deities, with the Tripureshwari temple in Udaipur being the most famous of them.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Intervene immediately in Manipur

The northeastern state of Manipur has, yet again, been subjected to an indefinite blockade - this time, by a tribe seeking a separate district for themselves. The blockade of the arterial roads that link Manipur to the rest of India has been on for weeks and the price of everything has sky-rocketed.

Although information from the landlocked state is not very clear, LPG is said to be selling at anywhere between Rs. 1500 to Rs. 2500 a cylinder. Petrol, food and basic medicines are in short supply and are available almost only through the black market.

The repeated economic blockade of Manipur - which goes to polls next year - represents a massive failure on the part of the State as well as the Central Governments. As Opinions 24x7 has pointed out before, national highways are constructed and maintained the the Central Government. Therefore, they are property of the Central Government meant for public use. Any attempt to block this is to be seen as an attack on the Central Government and the people for whom the highway was created. The Central Government has a duty to protect such hugely important highways.

The Okram Ibobi Singh government, arguably one of the most corrupt and inept in the country, made some half-hearted attempts at diffusing the situation but failed entirely. In fact, there are reports of his ministers being hand in glove with black marketeers. Ultimately, it is the poor people of Manipur who bear the brunt of this serious corruption and glaring apathy from the rest of India.

There can be no doubt that the constitutional machinery in Manipur has broken down and is irreparable. Such a devastating man-made disaster would be unimaginable in any part of India outside the northeast. The Centre, if if has any sort of remorse for its failure so far, should seriously consider invoking its powers to dismiss the Manipur Government and administering the state directly till the next elections. The people cannot wait any longer, Manipur is on the edge.

Chidambaram must Quit

Former Finance Minister and Home Minister P Chidambaram's credibility took a major hit this week with a note obtained through an RTI Act, which pointed out that the loss due to the sale of 2G spectrum, currently being investigated by the CBI, could have been avoided if the former Finance Minister had intervened. The note came from the office of UPA stalwart Pranab Mukherjee.

The revelation set off shockwaves in New Delhi and state capitals, with the BJP, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha and others demanding his immediate resignation. The Prime Minister, currently in New York for the UN General Assembly, refused to comment on the issue but he cannot ignore it for long. Subramaniam Swamy, the Janata Party leader who has been fighting the 2G Spectrum case in the Supreme Court, ha already filed an appeal for investigations into Chidambaram's role.

In such a wild situation, where extremely serious allegations are being made against one of the most important politicians in India, is is imperative that Mr. Chidambaram resign forthwith. Opinions 24x7 has consistently supported PC's hard stance against Maoists and celebrated his success with northeastern insurgent groups. Yet, in the current atmosphere against corruption, his complicity in the 2G scam is inexcusable.

The CBI, under supervision of the Supreme Court, will look into allegations against PC. But going by the same precedent that his former colleague Dayanidhi Maran set - that of resigning after serious allegations were made against him - PC must step down from his probe. The Congress has closed ranks behind him, but the reason for that is the fact that the fall of PC could set the stage for the ouster of the PM himself.

Meanwhile, the role of Pranab Mukherjee, Sonia Gandhi's right-hand man, is highly suspect. After all, the RTI query would have been possible only if somebody actually knew what to ask for - that is possible only in case information was leaked. How was this crucial link leaked? There in lies the mystery that could finally unravel India's biggest scam since Independence.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What are the motives?

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi concluded his Sadbhavana fast yesterday, raking up a massive controversy that is sure to cause even more chaos within the BJP.

While the fast was ostensibly to promote goodwill amongst communities in the State after the Supreme Court referred a case against Mr. Modi back to the trial court, it created so much controversy and political heat that the BJP could very well find itself in the dock during the next elections.

First, consider the reaction of its allies. The JD(U) was right off the mark by declaring that it would not support Modi as PM - there was no mincing of words from Sharad Yadav on this. Then, there were the Akalis, who were only too happy to fawn over Modi. The Shiv Sena blatantly asked Modi to drop his secular image and don the role of a saffron leader. Even outside the NDA fold, Modi found support from Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalitha and, supposedly, Mehbooba Mufti from Kashmir.

Then, consider the reaction from BJP strongman LK Advani. The former Dy. PM of India, in complete disregard of the party diktat, endorsed Modi for PM. Bal Thackeray made an interesting observation - Modi made his speeches in Hindi this them, while normally he would do so in Gujarati. Perhaps, he was aiming at a larger audience?

The problem is that Narendra Modi is such a controversial figure that his becoming PM would probably be by a freak turn of events. Already, the BJP is witnessing a massive tussle for the nominee to be PM, with Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley virtually leaving the party polarised. Mr. Modi's moves during his fast could add a whole new dimension to this, particularly if the RSS chooses to publicly throw its weight behind him. It is possible that his candidature would amalgamate the middle class and Hindu votes, but then, it would so strongly alienate Muslims that the Congress could make huge gains from it and perhaps even return to power.

For the BJP, the costs attached to a Modi-for-PM campaign would be so high that the party would face either a landslide victory of an outright washout, depending on which way the electorate goes. It would be much better for the party not to look for such extremes and try to sort out the Jaitley-Swaraj issue. One of the them must be the next PM, if the BJP wins.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Palestine at the UN

This week, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will try to make good his vow to present his Government's plan for recognition of a Palestinian state in the United Nations. Quite naturally, Israel has come out in strong opposition to this. And, despite the fact that Israel has shown blatant disregard for Washington's requests to it ti halt illegal settlements in Palestine, the Obama Administration will probably have to use its veto.

But what Israel fails to see that the world around it has changed - it no longer has a chain of American-backed dictators. Geographically, between India and Israel, the Jewish state has no support to its east. The same old tactics of holding unending negotiations while further damaging the interests of the Palestinians will not work. Yes, America will veto any resolution that harms Israel's interests, but America will pay a huge cost for that. Turkey has emerged as a leading challenger to Israel in the region, but Turkey is also a crucial American ally.

Hosni Mubarak is gone. Egyptians stormed the Israeli embassy in Cairo recently. Israel cannot and must not think that it can maintain status quo on the back of sheer American might. Eventually, America's own interests will be harmed by this and it will be forced to end unconditional support to Israel.

The current situation is actually highly conducive to Israel. A majority of countries are willing to accept a two-state solution. Israel must go back to the days of its foundation, when it was meant to be a homeland for Jews to live in peace after the horrors of the holocaust. Israel was never meant to be a perpetually-expanding state - there is no need. If Israeli leaders can show statesmanship they have a very real chance of ending the Palestinian issue once and for all and to every one's satisfaction. And then it can be the great nation it aims to be.

When Abbas brings in a resolution at the Security Council, it is guaranteed that America will veto it, or strong-arm other countries to vote against it. The State Department has threatened to end funding to the UN if the resolution goes into the General Assembly, where it is almost sure to get a two-thirds majority. America must act wisely or risk seeing a further erosion of support in the Arab world.

The DAAD Application so far

After receiving my Invitation Letter, Approval Form and Project Description from my guide at Technische Univesitat Muniche (TUM), the hard part now begins - getting signatures from here.

Essentially, I have three major things to get done:

  •     The ZAV form from the Dean, Academics. This is not hard per se but it involves actually catching the Dean, which is always a hard task. His steno just makes things worse.
  •     The NOC from the HOD. This is going to be a hard one, mainly because it's difficult to convince Mr. Obstructionist. But I'm betting on my CGPA and that A+ in CE-252 here.
  •     The Recommendation Letter from my Referee. He's already promised me a good recommendation but, the busy man he is, I have to catch him first!

I have till Oct. 25, which is the last date I have given myself to post the application. I also need to write my full resume and Letter of Motivation, but that's relatively easy. I hope to finish everything off before I go home, actually, but that is a long shot. Still, I have this week.

One realization - the printing facilities at IITR and Roorkee in general suck, big time.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What 9/11 did for India

Last week, the world remembered September 11 on its tenth anniversary - the day Al Qaeda showed the US that it could target its most powerful city, New York. It was a day that Americans say, maybe rightly, changed the world.

But for India, it was another big terrorist attack. For, long before 9/11, India has been the target of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir and, more recently, the Indian 'mainland'. 9/11 woke up Americans to the fact that they can no longer remain aloof from the threats to democracy and peace. To Indians, it was a grim reminder of the threats they have to live with everyday.

If 9/11 set off indignation across capitals, the American response to it probably made the world an even more dangerous place to live. The invasion of Afghanistan (and later of Iraq) brought foreign powers to India's doorsteps for the first time since 1979, when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. That event saw the rise of the India and Iran-backed Northern Alliance, but it also saw a game of duplicity by Pakistan that has caused much hardship to the whole world including India.

The two wars, which, when combined, cost close to $1 trillion and one of which seems to be far away from any satisfactory ending, have drained the American economy. The Great Recession was probably the straw that broke the camel's back and now the entire world faces an uncertain future. 'Operation Enduring Freedom' also saw a massive spurt in racial profiling across the West, with Muslims bearing the brunt of it, although other racial groups have also faced discrimination.

9/11 was a great tragedy. About 3,000 people died that morning in an audacious attack that sought to send a message to the whole world. But the question is - are we a better world after that? Are we a safer world? The day we can answer these questions satisfactorily, we can say that the wounds of 9/11 have healed. But that day is not now.

This is not a joke

A rather worrying phenomenon that has been growing more acute over time is that of hoax calls, particularly those warning of bombs blasts in major cities in India. What's worrying is that these hoax calls come from ordinary teenagers and, at times, young children to who fail to see the seriousness of their crime and are simply reprimanded by a Juvenile Court.

After the Delhi High Court blast this month, a number of e-mails were received my media channels and security agencies, claiming responsibility. While one of them in particular is being studied by intelligence agencies, the others have been found to be hoaxes. Of particular concern is an e-mail that was claimed to be from the Indian Mujahideen and was full of fiction, having been signed off with a name from the FBI's list of terrorists. This e-mail confused and misled investigators for some time and was finally traced to a teenager from Kolkata.

While this may be an extreme case, many other cases have taken place. Children have made hoax calls about bombs in schools just to have their exam cancelled. This is the clearest indication yet of a massive plunge in morality in society. Today, even young children are willing to put others' lives in danger for the sake of mischief. In a school, when such a call is received, panic grips the environment and there could be a stampeded if students try to run out. Parents, upon hearing the news, have to leave their offices and rush to get their children. Teachers' families worry needlessly for their parents' safety. All that because some kid did not study for a test.

Now, harsh legal remedies of the kind that David Cameron recommends is not an option - the Juvenile Justice Act, which is a well-meaning piece of legislation, prevents that. There is a need to inculcate some morals in children right from school - a sense of responsibility is clearly missing in teenagers today. The time has come to stem the rot and legislation and policies handed down from New Delhi won't do it. This is a challenge to society itself - to parents, teachers, TV channels, publishers, advertisers and everybody else who influences a child's thinking.

They say a single rotten fish can spoil the lake. In this case, the rot runs deep and some major corrective measures are required. If not, these pranks will only get bigger and bigger, and from there begins corruption, materialism and all ills of our society.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Part 1: The Myth

The former Kingdom of Tripura is home to mythical demons and Kings. In fact, the mythology of Tripura is so well-ingrained in society that it becomes difficult to differentiate history from mythology!

The mythology of Tripura, or Kirat Desh as it was known then, can be traced back to Rajmala, the royal records keeper for the House of Tripura. According to myth, the House traces its ancestry to the lunar dynasty. This is similar to other Hindu dynasties, who trace their ancestry to either the solar or lunar dynasty.

The story goes that the third son of King Yayati from the Mahabharat, Druhya, decided to move eastwards along the lower course of the Ganga. He traveled through many land and finally arrived at Sagar Island in the Sundarbans, the river-forest formed at the Ganga-Brahmaputra Delta. However, his travel did not end there and he continued further east, until he finally reached the hermitage of Kapil Muni.

There, Druhya received asylum and, after resting himself, was blessed by the saint. He decided to establish a new kingdom along the lower course of the Brahmaputra river, which originates in Tibet. This kingdom he named Tribeg. Having established a new kingdom, he chose to expand further into the Assam valley. For this, he even shifted his capital.

Rajmala documents that Druhya was followed by over two hundred mythological successors, all of whom worked towards expanding the kingdom's frontiers. However, it was the fortieth ruler, Tripur, under whom the Kingdom of Tripura assumed grand proportions in terms of mythology. Till now, the rulers restricted their activities to Earth, but with Tripur, the Gods were invoked.

Legend has it that Tripur was a hugely unpopular king. He ruthlessly persecuted his own people and built a massive facade of grandeur around himself. Tired of this despot, his subjects prayed to Mahadeva, or Shiva, the Hindu God of destruction, to rid them of their wretched ruler and bless them with a true king. Having heard their pleas, Shiva killed Tripur and blessed his wife Queen Hirabati with a son, who was named Trilochan ('one who has three eyes') after the God. It is believed that Trilochan attended the Rajsuya sacrifice organized by Yudhishthir in the Mahabharat.

Tripura, named after the King Tripur, finds mention in the Ashokan Pillars (one of which is the Lion Capital, the emblem of the Republic of India), the Mahabharat and the Puranas. The current dynasty, the Manikyas, are believed to be descendents of Druhya and the lunar dynasty, this making them one of the oldest dynasties in the world.

Killer Acquisitions

Over the last few weeks, a major topic of discussion has been the spate of acquisition of Indian pharmaceutical companies by foreign giants. The news has generated so much interest that the Government is now considering regulating acquisition of pharmaceutical companies in India.

The main cause of concern is the cost structure of Western companies who deal in life-saving medicines. Most corporations from the West sell their products at steep prices - prices that can prove far too daunting for the poorest people of the world. In comparison, Indian pharmaceutical companies sell generic drugs that have lost their IPR protection at much lower costs - 90% lower, in some cases.

In effect, Indian companies are the developing world's suppliers of drugs. In vast swathes of the world, including Africa and South America apart from Asia itself, Indian generic drugs have made a lasting contribution to saving lives of the poorest people on earth. Indian drugs are seen as safe and affordable, which is why many developing countries are rolling out the red carpet for Indian firms dealing in just IT but also pharmaceuticals.

But with the recent spate of acquisitions by foreign companies, all this could change. Foreign companies have no incentive in keeping the same cost structure as the erstwhile Indian company - in fact, in many cases, the first thing they would do is change that structure. Consequently, for every company acquired, millions are denied access to cheap and life-saving drugs.

Should the ability of foreign companies to undertake such acquisitions be curtailed or regulated by the Government? This is a hotly contested topic, with the typical responses being denouncement of Government control on one side and calls for socialism on the other. However, it is important here to look at the issue from a strictly humane point of view.

To make money from a sick man's illness is debasing to humanity. I do not mean that doctors charging fees is immoral - but in that case, it is simply money due for a service, that of saving a life, in this case. But when the a doctor asks his patient to undergo a myriad of unnecessary tests so that he can pocket a commission, it is not acceptable. Similarly, forcing people to buy drugs which are available at much lower prices is immoral and wrong. It is nothing more than exploiting a sick man's illness for profit.

Government across the world, not just India, have a duty to ensure that quality drugs are available to the needy at affordable prices. A system of crony capitalism which perpetuates inequality is simply not acceptable to a large majority of people in this world. Competition and regulation can co-exists and they must.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Freshers' Debate

Last year, when I joined LitSec, I spent two months debating with first years. Much water has flown below the Solani since then. Last week, I organized my first event in the Roorkee campus - LitSec Presents The Freshers' Debate - 2011.

The biggest difference between organizing an event here and there is the venue - booking the lecture hall or auditorium in SRE was easy. Here, it's pure hell. I had to make so many trips of the HS Department, EE Department and the Main Building that I could probably navigate through them blindfolded. I learned the art of feigning innocence and despair, so that when even the Literary Secretary-impostor couldn't get the electrical audi, Vignesh and I managed to get it.

Another thing I learned is that people with fancy-sounding posts seldom to any work and without regular members, LitSec would come crumbling down - the third year jt secy did absolutely nothing, while the second year jt secy just put up a few posters, something any second year could have done. It was only Vignesh who showed a little responsibility, that too on the final day. The Secy was home and the Addl. Secy was utterly useless.

As for the event itself, it was pretty good. The participation was ten times more than last year at the very least. The kids were OK in most cases, although the guy who won was quite good. With Paul, Murthy and Yasin given the sad task if having to listen to every speech, I just made all the introductions and kept time. The Secy made an absolute fool of himself with his soliloquy on PDs, which is supposed to come next week, but the other seniors saved the day.

All-in-all, the first event I organized in Roorkee was quite a success, although it's a format of debating that I find boring and rather crude. Next week, we should have the mock PD - I can't wait for that!

PS: I designed the poster, which was also displayed on Campus Connect :D

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bringing out a Magazine

After a delay of four months, partly because of our seniors and partly because of the new shopkeepers in Roorkee, the first issue of the year of Kshitij is finally ready! However, the idea I had that bringing out the magazine would be easy was completely shattered by this one issue.

Until now, we had believed that out work in Ed was limited to writing - actually seeing the formatting process seemed unnecessary. We believed that if we sent an edited document to Design, they would do the rest. How wrong we were. It's not that design gets it wrong - they do a great job - but the software itself has limitations, and designers cannot be expected to read everything we wrote and make corrections for themselves. It is necessary for the editors to sit down and go through everything that the designers have done with the stories - and it is also important to include the second years in this, because they're just a year away from doing it themselves.

But that's not all. It's a good habit - though not a necessary one - to know what the other cells are up to. For me, that's the easiest to do for Finance, since both the Coordinator and the his heir-apparent are good friends of mine. I also try to keep note of what the other Ed is doing, so that we don't fall behind.

I have also looked into the process of bringing out the magazine - which is an ordeal in itself. You have to finalize ads and pages, call for quotations, assemble a panel to open them, send the magazine for printing and finally distribute it. All this is a lot of work, primarily handled by the third years.

One thing I've already understood is that bringing out four issues this year is going to be a great challenge. But somehow, I think we can do it.