Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

First a quick word for a blog post after 9 months, lately I have been working on quite a lot of things which I will slowly try to bring into some story. The current commitments and time constraints might not allow me to do it very soon.

Today I was not planning to write anything either until it poured my heart out to hear that today was ‘International day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade”. So I decided to write few words before I again pick the biography of Olaudah Equiano from my collection of unfinished books. A quick word to those who don’t know, Olaudah Equiano was a slave who bought his own freedom and became one of the pioneer of abolition of slave trade in Britain. BUT This day is not day to remember one person or few people, it is the day that we pay our deepest respect and sincerest remembrance to those 18 million slaves who sacrificed their lives and went through hardships while paving a way to freedom. It is important to note that one third of those slaves were women. This year, in the Women’s History Month, we must give a particular tribute to the women who died and suffered during slave trade. 

Then we must remember and thank our heroes (men and women) who lead the movements of change and fought heroically on all intellectual and human rights front. Finally two cheers to all the heroes from all walks of lives who are still fighting against racism and slavery.

At the end I must say slavery IS worst crime against humanity whether in organized form or unorganized form. I don’t want  to put slavery in history by using word WAS because it exists and it is there in the worst form due to the fact that not many people really know about it. This modern day slavery exits in the form of human trafficking, sex trafficking, forced labour (general and debt bondage), child slavery, criminal exploitation and domestic servitude etc. I will quote only one line  from UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which might make us think.

“People trafficking is the fastest growing means by which people are enslaved, the fastest growing international crime, and one of the largest sources of income for organised crime.”

We must stand up together to put an end to the modern day slavery as well as to racism. It is only possible if we remember the suffering of 18 million slaves in slave trade. 

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why I don’t eat in restaurants

Three months ago, I made a pledge with myself for not to eat in restaurants whatsoever, today I feel happy to announce that I have successfully completed it and have extended this pledge to further six months. I have a simple thought to share with you.

It has been fairly easy experience without compromising my social interaction, most of the people have been supportive. Upon a typical invitation, my response include acceptance of invitation to gathering with an apology for not eating out. People then ask for my reason of not eating, giving me opportunity to speak against food wastage.

In past, I have not been eating in restaurants much but always felt guilty for two reasons. My pledge actually is due to second reason

1) The food customers waste as consumers

I always found it strange when people decide to waste left over food. It is very simple to get this food packed and take with you. I don’t want to look good on the expense of others but I feel disgusted by such consumerist act of wasting edible food.

2) The left over food wastage by restaurants

I had many depressing moment when restaurants and food courts threw away all the edible and untouched food. I used to dine in a food court as a student, I would watch all the food on the counter and in the kitchen going in the waste by the end of shift. I tried to flag up this issue but trust me nothing I could do, If you live in UK then probably it will be more easy to understand. Nevertheless, this is happening everywhere.

Even once I was eating in food court and I knew the food was about to be wasted, so I requested person over the counter to give me little extra food. She simply said she can’t because I had to pay for this extra food and after few minutes that food was in dust bin. This food could have been given for free to less fortunate or to homeless humans.

I actually made my pledge after one year of this incident when I was eating a buffet, near the closing time I witnessed the horrendous act of food wastage. At that day I made promise to myself not to be a part of this food wastage by restaurants.

How I maintained necessary social presence

Being a middle class social creature, I had to maintained my necessary social presence in these situations by having a tea, coffee, or a drink.

How I survive while travelling

Eating fruits, sandwiches from local stores, and eating from local take away and avoiding mega food chains where food wastage is likely to happen (lesser evil 😀 )

How I survive when I haven’t food with me 

Sandwiches from shop

 Will it change anything?

Probably not! this thing will keep happening everywhere. But I have lesser moral conviction as I try not to participate in this food wastage phenomenon and try to create awareness by this little act.

Pay it forward

I know several objections can be raised but lets look within ourselves. This little act can create little more social awareness about food wastage and related absurd practices. If you think I make sense, please tailor this pledge for yourself.

Please share this thought with your friends who might make such pledges and let me know if you have similar ideas.

Empathy in human connection

I have  been thinking to write about ’empathy’ for many months. Finally while reading Prof. Simon Baron Cohen’s book ‘Zero Degrees of Empathy’ I decided to write on this simple yet most overlooked word ’empathy’ from very basic to bit advance level. In the end of the video I’ll make reference to book ‘Zero Degree of Empathy’ and a relevant video.

To start, I must say we often sympathize with people without really understanding their real emotions, situations and responding accordingly. This is the point where we actually confuse sympathy with empathy. I would start with a simple video from Sesame Street where Mark Ruffalo explains ’empathy’. Although it is meant to be for children but I have realized as a adult we often overlook empathy too.

Now lets take step further to understand difference between empathy and sympathy. How empathy is much powerful while sympathy is not really that helpful.

From above video we have seen empathy has four main elements (shown in following figure).

Now lets take conversation to bit advance level where Professor Simon Baron speaks about empathy while dividing empathy between two components ‘cognitive’ and ‘affective’. He further explains how psychopaths are different than rest of the populations. In addition to following video you might find his book ‘zero degree of empathy’ interesting to read.

The simple thought follow of the blog is that we have to realize the power of empathy in human connection while realizing other’ emotions (cognitive part) and should act accordingly (affective part). Without any of these two components we cannot really be empathetic.

Charity degrades and demoralises

Before you get angry over the title, let me clarify I did not say it, it was Oscar Wilde who said this. Through this post you will see what exactly Oscar Wilde meant by this.

I will start with a video “First as Tragedy, Then as Farce”, it talks about what is wrong with the whole business of charity or in other words why charity is no longer solving world’s problem. I encourage my readers to watch this video and also read the following excerpt from Oscar Wilde’s book “The Soul of Man under Socialism“.

My purpose of the blog post it is to give a different perspective which we mostly do not hear from mainstream media. My readers may agree or disagree but  I leave it to you to think over it and make your own judgment.

Now lets see what what Oscar Wilde exactly said.

“The majority of people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated altruism – are forced, indeed, so to spoil them. They find themselves surrounded by hideous poverty, by hideous ugliness, by hideous starvation. It is inevitable that they should be strongly moved by all this. The emotions of man are stirred more quickly than man’s intelligence; and, as I pointed out some time ago in an article on the function of criticism, it is much more easy to have sympathy with suffering than it is to have sympathy with thought. Accordingly, with admirable, though misdirected intentions, they very seriously and very sentimentally set themselves to the task of remedying the evils that they see. But their remedies do not cure the disease: they merely prolong it. Indeed, their remedies are part of the disease.

They try to solve the problem of poverty, for instance, by keeping the poor alive; or, in the case of a very advanced school, by amusing the poor.

But this is not a solution: it is an aggravation of the difficulty. The proper aim is to try and reconstruct society on such a basis that poverty will be impossible. And the altruistic virtues have really prevented the carrying out of this aim. Just as the worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realised by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it, so, in the present state of things in England, the people who do most harm are the people who try to do most good; and at last we have had the spectacle of men who have really studied the problem and know the life – educated men who live in the East End – coming forward and imploring the community to restrain its altruistic impulses of charity, benevolence, and the like. They do so on the ground that such charity degrades and demoralises. They are perfectly right. Charity creates a multitude of sins.

There is also this to be said. It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property. It is both immoral and unfair.

The Soul of Man under Socialism” by Oscar Wilde

Life without Toilet, World Toilet Day

Earlier this year WHO declared 19th November as World Toilet Day. This blog post is to create awareness regarding this issue.

When I was about 6 years old, I moved from a Metropolitan to my native village for sometime due to some family business. At that time, there was no electricity available. Having toilet facility was considered as a luxury. Majority people were deprived of basic sanitation facilities and would go to fields to defecate.

People would normally urinate in house or fields. However for men it was bit easier because they could even do it in some lonesome corner of street too. Female would be very careful about their whereabouts, they would relieve themselves either in house or in fields. Normally a secluded place in house was allocated for this purpose.

For defecating, people would go to fields very early morning or night time, normally night time was preferred. However anyone can pop in any time in the fields but you would not feel comfortable carrying a vessel of water for washing up later. This process was also done by using a clean lump of mud in absence of water.

Men would go alone in fields, as safety wasn’t much of concern to them. Female from a house would gather in groups due to safety concern. They would normally accompany very young boys and girls with them to develop this habit in them. People would carry a vessel of water with them called ‘Lota’. In field they would separate themselves and make themselves at ease. But to me this whole situation was very funny as I came from a city.

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                Lota

Sometime it would involve cleaning yourself with lump of mud than later on with water, but some people preferred washing with water directly. Anyways in case of absence of water, lump of mud was always the only option.

For children, it was bit easier. They would go outside the house during day time and will relieve themselves and then there was a particular thing ‘sliding their bum on the cleaner ground’ to clean. Majority of them would not bother to get washed.

In my village things changed after arrival of electricity as people started making toilets but this practice is still going on in poor families where they either cannot afford to build toilet or are not much concerned with hygiene and safety etc. People, in my village, were lucky as they lived in a peaceful and safer community. But later in my life, I would often read news in papers, women being raped or abused while making trip to defecate.

According to few recent tweets by World Health Organization (WHO), “Poor sanitation creates conditions for serious health probs such as diarrhoea, typhoid fever, malnutrition, polio.” Regarding safety it says “Women, girls particularly are risking their lives looking for a place that offers privacy to defecate, risking rape and abuse”.

The sadder fact is that “Of the world’s 7b population, 6b have mobile phones. Only 4.5b have access to toilets or latrine” and “More than 2b people in the world have no access to a toilet, half of these live in the WHO South-East Asia Region.” But things have got little better, “In the WHO South-East Asia Region 60% of the pop defecated in the open in 1990. This had come down to 39% by 2010”

It’s a good step from WHO to declare a World Toilet Day and to discuss this issue on international level but still “UN Millennium Development Goals: of all 2015 targets sanitation target is most behind. 1 in 3 people do not have a basic toilet”.

We have to work together to do humanitarian measures and to create awareness to make healthier and safer societies.

Contract with the Christians of Jerusalem (The Second Caliph, Umar)

“This is the protection which the servant of God, ‘Umar, the Ruler of the Believers has granted to the people of Eiliya [Jerusalem]. The protection is for their lives and properties, their churches and crosses, their sick and healthy and for all their coreligionists. Their churches shall not be used for habitation, nor shall they be demolished, nor shall any injury be done to them or to their compounds, or to their crosses, nor shall their properties be injured in any way. There shall be no compulsion for these people in the matter of religion, nor shall any of them suffer any injury on account of religion… Whatever is written herein is under the covenant of God and the responsibility of His Messenger, of the Caliphs and of the believers, and shall hold good as long as they pay Jizya (the tax for their defense) imposed on them.”

 Source: 

Six Religions in the twenty-first century by Stanley Thornes

How not to get judged by others

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

In this article I’ll write few tips on how not to get judged by others. Actually you cannot control thinking of others but you can make following changes in yourself to avoid getting judged.

1) Over-thinking
Remember that you are not the most important person in the world. No one should have the time to make judgement about you, It is more likely that only your “friends” will make judgement about you the other times you are stuck into over-thinking about what others think.

2) Think who matters and who don’t
If you still think that people make judgement about you then think of the people who matters and who don’t. You should only think of people who matters and don’t let the people who do not matter, ruin “who you are”.

3) Put things into perspective
If you are too anxious about being judged then put yourself into others shoes and see why do you think others would think of you in certain way. If you find doing something odd which is not acceptable according to certain norms of society then re consider you actions. If you find yourself moral and right then do whatever you want to do. Don’t let others ruin a certain aspects of your personality and actions. Giving up and opting certain things is upto you.

5) Be confident in yourself
If you think your certain speech or actions are right then be confident in yourself. When people will find you confident in yourself they will be ready to give up their judgement. Become confident for who you are.

4) Like certain aspect of you
Sometime we can use certain aspect of our personality to make others like us even with being judgemental. If you are compassionate you can use this skill to working in favour of you. Communication skills can also work in your favour.

6) Control your emotions

If you let other give an authority to change your emotions then you are giving them authority to make you feel you are weak and they can take over your nerves. Nothing more pisses off your critics being looking calm and easy-going.

7) Don’t speak or act submissively
People will ride your nerves when they will find you submissive. Try to be assertive in your words and actions, don’t give others authority to tell you what to do when you don’t want them what to do.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Gospel of Matthew)