Sunday, 24 January 2016

Goan Feni Is Now A 'Heritage Spirit'

DraftCraft's year old campaign starting December 2014 to promote Goa's hidden treasures through its Goa Chapter through campaigns that include the controversial resumption of mining in the state, promotion of a 30,000-year-old petroglyphs at Usgalimal, projection of heritage zones like Fontainhas and the popularisation of quaint and fragile Goan Feni that risks extinction finally gets vindicated as the Goa government decides to promote Feni as a Heritage Drink.

On 24 January 2016, Goa's Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said Feni has a lot of useful qualities, especially its medicinal value due to which it can be used to cure a number of ailments, while speaking as chief guest at the first stakeholders’ meet for the development of Feni organised by department of excise in collaboration with The Goa Cashew Feni Distillers and Bottlers Association and All Goa Toddy Tappers Association at Taleigao.

“We have missed the bus in promoting Feni to outsiders and cashing in on its popularity with tourists. Both coconut and cashew Feni are not mere liquors and the cashew and coconut trees are part of our culture,” he added.

So, we could expect nature tourism to receive a fillip in the state which will soon have tourists dropping in to see cashew plucking and the process of making Feni. Mr. Parsekar seems to be leaving no stone unturned to promote Feni as an intrinsic part of Goa's culture.

Steps in the production of Feni - A Walk-Through!

Step 1 - Cashew fruit being loaded in a motor crusher for crushing

Step 2 - Cashew fruit pulp being collected for juicing

Step 3 - Cashew fruit pulp being squeezed in a mechanical juicer

Step 4 - Juice from cashew pulp being collected

Step 5 - Cashew fruit juice being stored in barrels for fermentation for 8 days

Step 6 - Fermented cashew fruit juice being transferred into pots for distillation

Step 7 - Fermented juice being brought to a boil in earthen pots

Step 8 - The vapours pass through pipes submerged in water tanks for cooling

Step 9 - Once cooled, the vapours condense into a distillate collected at the other end

Step 10 - The first distillate is called Urrack which is then added to fermented cashew juice in the subsequent rounds to form Feni

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Goa: Perception vs Reality

Despite a majority population in Goa and in Arambol, being Hindus, the temples and architectural marvels are hardly talked about or find mention in news, historical references or tourist itineraries. It is the skewed perspective of a pro-West media and a pseudo-liberal tourism industry that popularises fairly recent architectures during the Portuguese rule. There is an urgent need to change the perception.
Bharat’s smallest state has been in the news for a host of reasons, mostly for wrong reasons. However, and sadly too, the news has almost always revolved around beaches, churches, cheap alcohol and molestations. Why, look at Pan Nalin’s Angry Indian Goddesses which won the BNL People’s Choice Award at the 10th anniversary of the Rome Film Fest. The film also picked up the runner’s up Audience Award in Toronto. Plugged as the first Bharateeya ‘female buddy movie’, with, a rape in Goa thrown in for effect, it went on to win awards much like Masaan.
Most recently, mining and the associated issues of “growth and development being affected adversely,” created ripples in Goa till the Apex Court had to intervene. Incidentally, the economy of the state is driven mostly by tourism and mining. With mining under pressure from all quarters, the focus has shifted to tourism. The state’s economic dependence on Foreigners vis-à-vis Bharateeyas to bolster the sector has been debatable though. Statistically, only a fraction of foreign tourists contribute to Goa’s welfare as compared to a colossal majority of Bharateeyas. And, the scales continue to tip even further, year after year.
For decades, tourism in Goa has been synonymous with rave parties, drugs and more recently, a pseudo-dependence on Russian charters and Israeli travellers. Next on the mind of tourists are the churches and towns reminiscent of the Portuguese and their occupation of Goa. And, that’s it. There is nothing else about Goa that grabs the tourist’s fancy. A whopping 66 per cent of the state’s population bear allegiance to Hinduism. Goa houses thousands of temples built by Hindu dynasties ruling for centuries, long before the Portuguese even had a home state of their own, yet the structures never find mention in travel guides or tour packages.

Now On Fast Track

Mangalyaan ensured that the admiration for Credible Bharat should grow, particularly at a time when the nation’s Prime Minister spoke with distinct pride about (MOM ) Mars Obiter Mission. Out of the 51 missions made across the world to Mars, only 21 had succeeded. And, Bharat got it right at the very first shot. And now Bharat has signed a MoU with Japan for Bullet Train.
So, Bharat is going to get its first bullet train and predictably, everyone is upset about it since the simmering bears an uncanny resemblance to the upsurge that followed Bharat’s maiden trip to Mars at a record cost of Rs 4.5 billion rupees (Rs 7 per kilometre) a fraction of what NASA’s own Maven cost the USA.
The cost mattered because it, in a way, muffled the cacophony a mission of this nature would elicit from “critics” anywhere in the world. Critics feel that “What was the need to spend money on going to Mars when there is so much poverty, lack of education, lack of good roads, lack of power and so on and forth…”
Mangalyaan ensured that the admiration for Credible Bharat should grow, particularly at a time when the nation’s Prime Minister spoke with distinct pride about (MOM ) Mars Orbiter Mission. Out of the  51 missions made across the world to Mars, only 21 had succeeded. And, Bharat got it right at the very first shot.
But that would never impress those whose agenda was, has and will be to thrive by showcasing Bharat’s misery to the world. Lobbies across minority communities spoke, and patronisingly too, about how Bharat managed to make the Mangalyaan Mission possible without the intervention of IITians . And how, the scientists responsible for MOM were, in fact, those from smaller institutions in towns across the nation and so forth.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Gandhi vs Gandhi

On December 9th 2015, when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi proudly proclaimed that he would rather go to jail than apply for bail or sign a personal bond when he appears in court in the National Herald case ten days later, the mainstream media was swift to drew parallels between him and Indira Gandhi.
‘Like grandma, like grandson: Rahul prefers jail over bail’ screamed a Hindustan Times article. A Telegraph story too followed suit as it quoted Congress party sources as saying that Rahul would not seek bail as he is ‘convinced’ that the Narendra Modi-led government “plotted” the legal trouble for his mother and himself.
He tried hard to draw parallel with his grandmother, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who was jailed in 1977 by the Janata government of the time. Indira Gandhi’s arrest, then, helped bolster public sympathy as she defied arrest by Delhi policemen in what was alleged to be “vendetta,” by the Janata government. The Congress hoped that, in a similar repeat of sorts, Rahul’s move would fetch favour. That, however, didn’t quite happen as Rahul swiftly ate humble pie, paid up the bail of Rs 50,000 and walked. Announcing a resolve and living up to it are two very different things.
While bail is the prerogative of an accused in any democracy, as bail is preferred to jail, it doesn’t absolve the accused of guilt as is commonly and wrongly perceived. Yet, that didn’t stop Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi from walking out of court grinning at people and the media, claiming a victory of sorts. The symbiotic media, on its part, went on to report, of all things, that “bail was granted in five minutes”!!!
Now, the time in which bail is granted has little to do with the merits of the case. It is a preliminary procedure and has to satisfy a few tests to hold good. That bail would be granted was a given. Headings such as ‘The Congress turn legal setback into political victory in just three minutes’ leading to stories that elaborate a Congress stand and absolve it of implications seem like a parallel trial of sorts and qualify as ‘contempt.’ The issue is sub-judice and has to be treated in a manner such.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Tolerance is a Misnomer, Ahimsa More Apt

Bharat is credible because that’s the truth. Despite the world beyond its borders pitted against the largest democracy and a sea of dissidents within, threatening to derail the process, Bharat continues to surge ahead in the myriad indices that matter to the ‘developed’ world. Today, armed with a 5,000-year-old culture, five times older than the English language, Bharat is the world’s third largest when it comes to purchasing power parity and has the world’s third largest army. Bharat possesses the oldest mantra of all times i.e.the Middle Path that was evolved by Gautam Buddha 2,500 years ago and the Ram Rajya concept symbolic of the softening of a king’s otherwise-unrelenting stand.
The inevitable induction of Narendra Modi as Bharat’s leader with an overwhelming never-before-registered majority was fought tooth and nail by a parallel force that works with stealth and speed through non-Governmental networks professing to “address” issues as seemingly innocuous “yet crucial” as “climate change”; an “unbiased media” powered by politicians yet run by “Journalists” now being flayed as presstitutes and “paid media”; and Sections across the world whose interests are directly subverted by the ‘Make In India’ campaign.
The tolerance tattle was inevitable. With the Bharat’s economy picking up in the second quarter ending September 2015 and growing at 7.4 per cent during the quarter on the back of strong growth in manufacturing, trade, hotels, transport and communication services, there had to be a hurdle. So, on September 28th 2015, when a mob attacked and killed 52-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq Saifi, it was turned into an issue of national importance that had direct and dire relevance to the surge of “Intolerance” in Bharat. Bharat’s scholar, academician and former vice-chancellor of Kannada University in Hampi, Malleshappa Madivalappa Kalburgi’s murder on August 30th 2015 triggered a spurt of protests among nondescript writers across Bharat, returning their Sahitya Akademi awards.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

DraftCraft endeavours to take Mahatma Gandhi’s simple yet powerful talisman on ‘change’ forward by ‘Being The Change’. The movement initiated by DraftCraft aims to fetch a change first in the mind-set and attitude of the common man by providing the right platform and requisite tools and, concurrently, at the grass-root itself.

Every passing day, scores of issues bother us: Shopkeepers demand prices higher than printed MRP; The affluent bully and bribe authorities to concede to unlawful demands; The authorities insist on cumbersome paperwork to meet requirement for legal basics; The administration misuses discretionary powers to beyond legal limits; Doctors literally loot patients by forcing unsafe and unnecessary procedures that risk lives and cost a fortune; Women face abuse in public and within the safe confines of their home and more. These and more affect the public on a regular basis and, worse still, are ignored daily. The media, official and social, continue to curse ‘the law’ and ‘the system’ on their part. Fact is: We refuse to take charge or responsibility for our situation and neither have the inclination nor intent to address issues.

Here is where ‘Being The Change’ comes in: To educate and empower people to fight for their own cause and rights.

The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to its citizens, right from the Right to Life to the Freedoms that include those of Expression, Movement, Speech and the Right to Religion. A ‘Freedom’ means nothing if you can’t avail it without fear and a ‘Right’ loses meaning if, in the process, you trample upon someone else’s ‘Right’. ‘Being The Change’ aims to educate the citizen of ‘Freedom’ and sensitise him of the ‘limits’ of his ‘Rights’ while, at the same time, underline the ‘legal limits’ of ‘discretionary powers’ of authority and need for administrative entities to steer clear of ‘arbitrary action’.

How can you join in ‘Being The Change’?
To be a part of this movement all you need is the intent to see a change by being that change. The movement calls out to everyone to join and pool in their collective resources. Students, youth, children, elderly, men and women.

‘Being The Change’ focuses on the youth by giving them a platform to interact and initiate discussion on amending the law, the system and public mind-set. Through its networks - DraftCraft Volunteer Network, DraftCraft Law Network, DraftCraft Media Network, DraftCraft Social Work Network and DraftCraft Travel Network – ‘Being The Change’ movement aims to bring together students, professionals, academicians and institutions of law, media, social work and various other streams to discuss prevalent issues and dynamic solutions to constantly evolving needs. By way of qualifications, all you need is: The Will. Your academic qualifications are indicative of your inclination and not the only deciding factor. Drop in an email complete with contact details, Skype us, or call us on 08080441593 to join in.

The elderly are a trove of knowledge, experience and advice. Unfortunately, they are ignored by their family, the youth, society and the state machinery alike. DraftCraft’s ‘Sun Suna’ campaign aims to draw upon this wealth of knowledge throughHear-A-Tale sessions where the elderly share their stories and experiences to inspire and motivate the youth in ‘Being the Change’.

At the other end of the spectrum, are the underprivileged homeless young living on the streets who cannot read and write and are deprived of the joys of having a story read out to them by an educated parent. A story can go a long way in shaping young minds. Even the most innocuous fairy tale, a jungle story or an inspiring anecdote has a moral at the end. The 'Sun Suna' campaign reaches out to these children through ‘Tell-A-Tale’ sessions where 'DraftCraft Didis' read out interesting and inspiring stories to these children. Come…join!

If you feel you've got a flair for poetry or prose, send in your bit to us and get published on our 'The Write Change' venture. It could be a piece of prose or poetry, a lengthier essay, a short story or a serious commentary on an issue in the news. The only qualification here should be that your creative work should involve 'change' in some way or the other. It could call for a change in life or in a sad state of affairs or, simply, a change in mood. If you get lucky, you could be called for an internship with DraftCraft where your skills could be honed for a career in the media.