Personal notes from today’s National Urdu Editors’ Conference on Urdu Media


A conference, I always look forward to, not only for the beautiful language spoken at the conference, but also to get a peek into the media discourse in Urdu Media.

The hurt and angst is palpable for being left out, language and the community, but what is heartening and pleasing is they are not overly defensive about the ills about the community.

I have taken some personal notes. Nothing to do with topic of Routine Immunization which they discussed threadbare ( for 4 long hours), but something which I found very insightful.

“If Muslims of India are not healthy and educated, India will never achieve the dream of being a super power,” A vehement appeal to be included in India’s growth story. Continue reading

Why AK-47 was a favourite of ours…

“Kashmir is a highly militarised zone. I met children here who could even distinguish between the sound of firearms from the security forces and militants”- writes a  journalist friend of mine…

Obviously my dear friend. We were brilliant at it. Absolutely brilliant. In those days, I would bet, me, my brother and sister were better than, dare I say, the protagonists. Nothing extra ordinary, we just had too many lessons and credit to us we were all ears to them.

We are absolute masters at distinguishing with ease and absolute precision the sounds of an AK 47- the Kalashnikov, LMG, SLR, 303, Sten gun, Brain Gun (don’t know whether the weapon existed, but for us it did), Chinese pistol, grenade and rocket launcher among others.

In fact, it was our favourite game for many months after which parents influenced by uncle, thought our brains needed some serious rewiring. The good for nothing uncle had somehow got hold of our copies.

imagesBut while at it, we just loved it and we were very fierce competitors on the ‘field’.

Back then in early 90s, living at the edge of the national highway, we had the ‘absolute pleasure’ of the hosting both the parties – militants and troopers on our terrace, garden and nieghbour’s extended courtyard for years. Continue reading

Celebrating Women Power

On this International Women’s Day, we have profiled three special girls from different parts of India.

They ended polio and fought child marriage, started own institutions, ended open defecation and collectively through her advocacy efforts changed lives of many a girls in their communities.

We will putting more focus on these girls in next week. So stay tuned at our UNICEF India page…

P.S. The number of foreign languages I have worked with (Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Chaste Hindi), over last few months, I fear, I will forget my own mother tongue pretty soon..

Watch the film
Camera – Dhiraj Singh/Anirban/Prashant Vishwanathan

The power of Women and also FACEBOOK…

When we had profiled Pushpa Ben, two years back, primarily for our social media networks and also websites, little had we imagined that this story would have such a far reaching impact on the lives of people living in the predominantly tribal Valsad district of Gujarat.


The ‘tractor story’ as it is fondly remembered in tribal Valsad, was not only appreciated by the key Government functionaries for celebrating a local hero, it also made them notice the potential of the dairy cooperative model as a harbinger for social change.

Following this story, the Government of Gujarat seriously started exploring possibilities of engaging with the dairy cooperatives as an alternative partnership model at the community level. If the Government of Gujarat is convinced about the model, it would mean a dedicated budget from the Government to these village cooperatives.

Needless to say, it would be a huge boost to their humble efforts of 10,400 women working in Dairy cooperatives and more resources would mean more women like Pushpa Ben who continue to battle adversity in rural Gujarat will get benefited.

Pushpa Ben is now a local hero. The local cooperative as recognition to the efforts of women like Pushpa Ben has put up her huge poster on the walls of community hall where the Dairy Cooperative has regular meetings. They are proud that her picture and also the work of Dairy Cooperatives has been showcased on many a national and international social media pages and websites.

Kudos Prashanth for such a lovely picture. And huge kudos to Facebook Developers. We love you all…

Here is the link to the complete story

Thank Your Hero – Pushpa Ben

Pushpa Ben outside her house in Valsad Gujarat.

Pushpa Ben outside her house in Valsad Gujarat.

Meet Pushpa Ben Basra. Pushpa Ben Basra is an ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist), an entrepreneur and member of the self-help group of Vasudhara Dairy Cooperatives.

Pushpa Ben’s commitment and efforts are helping tribal women and children in the remote village of Ozharaifaliya in Kaprada block in Gujarat to live healthier lives.

Along with 10,400 other female members of self-help groups of the Cooperative, Pushpa has promoted institutional delivery, colostrum feeding, exclusive breast feeding, and hand-washing among women in the community.

With the help of colourful posters, booklets, songs and films in Kaprada, she managed to reach out to her community in one of the most under-developed, predominantly tribal, Valsad district in Southern Gujarat.

“I did not complete my schooling and feel much less educated compared to other women in my family and neighbourhood. But I feel very proud because of the work I do which makes difference to lives of women and children in our village. My job helps me to reach out to people and help them,’ says Pushpa. Continue reading

Curtain Raiser: NASSCOM India Leadership Forum 2009

NEW DELHI, INDIA: The 17th edition of NASSCOM India Leadership Forum, the flagship event of NASSCOM, is being held at a very critical juncture in the short yet exciting history of Indian IT/BPO industry.

Recession in US and downturn in India is exerting lot of pressure on Indian IT/BPO industry, to devise a calibrated strategy to come out of the uncertain times unscathed.

Continue reading

SOA adoption is not function of pricing alone

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Intelligroup, a global provider of business consulting, technology, and outsourcing services has been consistently included in the in the ‘Strong Performers’ category and received high client satisfaction scores by leading industry research firms.

The company has operations in the Americas, Japan, AsiaPacific, and Europe and is present in India in Hyderabad and Bangalore and has plans to setup a new centre in Pune. Continue reading

Headstrong acquires US based BPO firm

Lydian Data Services is now Headstrong Business Services

Idhries Ahmad

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Global financial services consulting firm, Headstrong has acquired the Lydian Data services, a privately owned diversified financial services firm.

Lydian Data Services provides Business Process Outsourcing, business connectivity and transaction management solutions to mortgage originators, secondary market conduits and investors. The company specialises in mortgage data connectivity solutions, mortgage data management, core banking data integration and loan transfer systems. Continue reading

Steria to tap Indian market this year

Steria’s solutions for credit card fraud management, Airport management system and command and control solutions for police makes sense for Indian markets

Idhries Ahmad

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Europe based IT services company, Steria will be aggressively targeting the opportunity thrown by domestic Indian market in 2009. The formerly Xansa, is also giving final touches to its center of excellence in retail in India, which will start soon. The company will also be doubling its head count in India by 2011.

Speaking to CIOL, Mukesh Aghi, chairman and chief executive officer, Steria, said going forward, Indian domestic market will throw up huge opportunities and as company, Steria cannot afford to ignore those opportunities. Continue reading

Destination Europe

The low hanging fruit in US is almost gone and it is time Indian IT companies re iron their European strategy, for the journey is going to be difficult

Idhries Ahmad

NEW DELHI, INDIA: The uncertainties in US market coupled with the not so comfortable noises from new US president about off shoring, means Europe for time being finds itself finally perched atop the agenda for many Indian service providers, who hitherto hadn’t worried to fish in troubled waters.

However, outsourcing market in Europe, is not going to be low hanging fruit like it was in US and Indian service providers have to work hard to capture market. Continue reading