Posted in Journalism, Social Issues, Uncategorized

Just another day for us, girls !

By Saloni Modi and Nandini Rao

With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increase in count of women’s presence in every aspect of life, we could think that women have gained true equality. Rather, the facts are contrasting.equality

The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, great improvements have been made. Undoubtedly, there has been a significant change in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality. But the complexity of patriarchy are deep-rooted in our society.

We have chauvinist males running our countries, businesses and making laws that are biased. For instance, women in Saudi are not issued driving licenses. Women are till date objectified.

Around 120 million girls worldwide (slightly more than 1 in 10) have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives. By far the most common perpetrators of sexual violence against girls are current or former husbands, partners or boyfriends.

In 2012, a study conducted in New Delhi found that 92 per cent of women reported having experienced some form of sexual violence in public spaces in their lifetime, and 88 per cent of women reported having experienced some form of verbal sexual harassment (including unwelcome comments of a sexual nature, whistling, leering or making obscene gestures) in their lifetime.

On February 17, 2017, a famous actor from South Indian film industry was allegedly molested inside her moving car while she was heading for Kochi from her home. This heinous event had seven men involved and out of which two men were her close associates. As being a part of tinsel town, stars are believed to share affable companionship with their make-up artists, hair stylists, drivers, body guards and fashion designers hence involvement of the drivers took everyone by surprise.

The Nirbhaya case has not been forgotten yet, when Delhi’s gang rape generated a nationwide outrage and stirred a billion people. The moment was described as one that would change Delhi’s attitude towards women’s safety. With time things change but India’s capital, Delhi, does not seem to have changed much. Four years since then, the number of rapes have only increased and situation has only worsened.

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Massive protests at India gate and across the country in 2012 sparked off gender sensitization classes for 40,792 for Delhi cops till date and launched operation Nirbheek, in which police visited  girls from more than 500 schools to speak to them about safety. Over 1.83 lakh girls were also trained in self-defense. But stories of sexual assault and rape continues to haunt Delhi. We have failed to label India as a women safe country.

Each one of us should question ourselves as to why such brutality is soaring. Why people of this country are shunning the rape victims? Indian government must take necessary steps to make India a rape free nation, immediately. China and India both have a surplus men, but only one country has an out of control rape epidemic and that is India.

The reason why country has failed to eradicate rape culture is a sheer negligence.

According to Amnesty International reports, authorities have not effectively implemented new laws on crimes against women. The majority of rape cases still go unreported. Currently the problem, instead of abating, has become worse. In India a women is reportedly raped after every 15 minutes. We often hear our Indian politicians complaining about the kind of dresses women wear, hence blaming women’s clothing for the raging rape in the country is so flimsy. All these have led to diminution of the social position of the women in India.

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Women coming from all background are facing the deep rooted rape culture in India. Let us all pledge to contribute our bit in the best possible way to get nation rid of devils (rapists) and lets leave no stone unturned to make the nation women friendly. We the citizen of India need to bring the much required change and law makers should ponder upon this scariest subject and strict law should be introduced to eradicate the demons living in the country and walking fearlessly and shamelessly. 

We must strive to make India the safest country for women, globally, only then we will become eligible to call our nation a proud nation.

Posted in Journalism, Social Issues, Uncategorized

Why this is the only chance to choose?

letusvoteAll major political parties are contesting the elections for the Mumbai’s civic body separately, for the first time in more than two decades. With the split between the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the absence of alliance between the Congress and the National Congress Party (NCP), Mumbai anxiously awaits in anticipation of who would make  it to the power corridors of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). What this could mean is many candidates may win with narrow margins, making it all the more important for you to cast your vote.

Casting a vote is not a choice but an indispensable responsibility. The only choice is to choose wisely and vote for a better tomorrow.  Apart for voting being a responsibility, it is our ability, ability to decide what is right or what is wrong for ourselves, the society and the city. Making this choice is our only chance to nurture change. As the election day is nearing, we have to bear this thought in our minds that this a chance to choose for change, the change we all want and are waiting for.

This reminds me of a quote from the fantasy novel series, Harry Potter, ” It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities”.

Following a massive voters induction drive in 2016, 2.39 lakh new voters registered themselves in Mumbai, taking the count to 91,80,635, out of a population of 1.24 crore. But while more than 70 per cent of the citizens are registered voters, turnouts in Mumbai have remained poor over the years, not crossing even the 50 per cent mark.

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The voter turnout is an important factor to decide who will run the BMC. The State Election Commission (SEC) and BMC are leaving no stone unturned to spread awareness.

The government has directed all private firms, IT companies, shops, shopping malls etc to declare election days as paid holidays for all employees, in an attempt to increase voter turnout for the upcoming elections.

Offering ‘ethical incentives’, the SEC is also roping in hotels, restaurants and shopping malls to offer discounts to those who cast their vote. Apart from engaging with more than 100 colleges, the SEC, is running campaigns on social media and reaching out to housing societies. Various NGOs are also running campaigns to increase voter awareness.

A total of 2,275 candidates, which include 1,190 males, 1,084 females and one transgender, are to fight for the 227 seats of the BMC. The elections are to be held on February 21, 2017. And the results will be announced on February 23, 2017.

Shiv Sena is the only party which has fielded candidates on all the 227 seats across the metropolis, while Congress on 221, BJP will fight it out on 195 (leaving 32 seats for its allies), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) on 201, NCP on 171, BSP on 109, Samajwadi Party on 76 followed by first-timers Hyderabad-based All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) on 56 seats. There are 13 political parties that will compete to administer the country’s richest civic body, according to the final list released by the electoral department of the BMC.

Posted in Journalism

Bridging gap between Teachers and Students.

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The Institute of Harkisan Mehta is one that reduces the gap between teachers and students. Teachers think of students as their colleagues and come into direct contact with the students by helping them to discover themselves.

Teachers put up a challenging question and assignments for students.  For example, can trees fart like humans do? Students actually enjoy this type of challenging questions. It makes them think and brain storm more out of their heads. Answers are right or wrong, it doesn’t matter much, but the interest to think and learn more, reduces the gap between teachers and students. The faculty members of Harkisan Mehta are well trained professionals and help students to learn well and understand his or her weak and good points too. The students get respect when they give respect to their teachers. Teachers at this institute open up their past experiences to students and tell students about what they did, like when they were in tight scheduled situations & when they were even looked down upon or fired & what they learned from those experiences. This too has reduced the gap between teachers and students and has made a friendly study environment at Harkisan Mehta institute. Also, fun chats and jokes between teachers and students and institute assistants and members have lead to a friendly environment to learn in. Teachers at The Institute of Harkisan Mehta try their best to exchange shyness and students’ weaknesses with building confidence in students. During study time there is seriousness and during fun time there is fun. Teachers do their best to make teaching secessions light-hearted and interesting for students to learn well and grasp the concept easily. The access to internet to has been another way where we see teachers and students both use internet for information or knowledge or news and updates. They also use internet to download and send music and movies to each other and upload pictures and chat with each other on social websites like facebook and twitter. At our institute teachers teaching courses like Journalism, Creative Writing, Ad and Pr and Film Appreciation, show the students how to work in the real world when students are pursuing their futures in these courses. Teachers prepare students for future challenges by the method of practical studies.  There’s no doubt journalism has few students, but to work in this field for our futures is quite challenging and awesome. Because more than anyone, you would get to know what’s happening in the entire universe in 10 seconds or in a minute, or in an hour. Our future journalists who deliver any kind of tickers, interviews or news would be called ‘‘Hermes, The God of Messengers’’. 11892140_997954023561041_249401201862843713_n

Our teachers at Harkisan Mehta are those people who take lots of efforts to develop the next generation for the world’s coming challenges. Most students in the world today are thankful to their teacher for teaching them and helping them to become better people. Even old students till today are in good contact with the teachers of Harkisan Mehta. At one point of time, our teachers were students too; so they understand students much better than parents.

Posted in Journalism, Uncategorized

Creating Minds that Question! #HappyTeacher’sDay

05.09.2016.jpgWhat makes a good student great? Perseverance, the will to prove oneself or plain old burning the midnight oil? A student needs to persevere when the going gets tough. The will to prove oneself makes perseverance possible and burning the midnight oil is the process that makes it all possible. In a world of million aspirations and dreams along with countless opportunities it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. Who then is the component or catalyst that creates a student who can tough it out in the real world and be ready to face its challenges head on? It’s a teacher who determines the true worth of a student. They do so by making the students self – sufficient enough to realize their own worth. Being a student is not easy, being a teacher is harder. There’s a lot our teacher’s contribute when they shape us from imperfect clay to a perfect work of art. How they do it is what decides what shape the student takes. First day for a student at HMMRA is like first day at any institute or university. We’re all hopeful eyed, optimistic and enthusiastic minds ready to explore the new environment and make it our own. It’s what happens after that point is what sets HMMRA apart from the rest, once you meet the teachers. Right from the first lecture it’s pretty clear that none of us are here to learn the subject, we’re here to experience the subject so that we may apply it in the real world everyday for the rest of our lives. Our teachers don’t sell optimism to us neither do they tell us we’re going to rule the world. They teach us to understand the world before we may aspire to rule it. They show us the path to being real and give us the tools and favours in form of skill that they impart from their own experience and learning. They don’t call themselves teachers when teaching, they’re students who know better. Now a days even internet can teach you a subject and its application. Google your queries and questions and out comes volumes of information beyond your comprehension. A patient mind can sift its way through that and figure out the essence of the subject. Which is what we need our teachers for, right from childhood, so that we grasp what the subject is trying to tell us. To make a curious young mind question the subject beyond what it’s all about creates minds that cannot be caged by the rules set by the world. It creates not leaders but pioneers, who look at the world from an angle that simplifies it rather than overwhelm. In HMMRA we students learn this lesson right from the very first interaction with our teachers. It not only changes the way we view the world but makes us wonder what more could we do with it. “Be me or better than me”, says Mrs Runa Bhutra, a faculty member. Maybe it’s time the world views academics with such attitude that not only requires a teacher to be generous when imparting knowledge and wisdom but also inspires a student to be generous when trying to take in the core essence of what a subject tries to tell us. They teach us not how to view the world around us, but how we view ourselves in it. When we look at ourselves differently the world automatically looks and feels different. The teachers in HMMRA don’t distinguish themselves from learners, they believe in honing their learning skills each and everday. There hardly may have been any faculty who did not tell us on our first day that they’re here to learn from us as much as they’re here to guide us. They learn while they guide us and we learn as we grow under their guidance. A new and real world awaits us as students. It beckons us, challenges us, calls out to us. To explore it, revel in it, learn from it and change it. To do all that and to be all that we need people who’ve done it and been it. HMMRA offers us its teachers who in their time as a student and newbie out in the real world have made it come true. It is true for every student in the present as it is for the one’s in the past and for the one’s to come in the future, to prove to be tougher than the challenge you face. To be wiser each time you come out of it, no matter what the outcome.

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Posted in Journalism, Uncategorized

An afternoon with Aaj Tak!

IMG_2877As a student of journalism, one thing I find particularly testing is to stand in front of a camera. On the face of it, one would wonder what all the fuss is about. However, there is more to it than what meets the eye. Broadcasting, for me, transcends mere news reporting. Today’s times warrant drama. There is so much more that is, or can, be conveyed on camera. Your eyes, body language, voice modulation, confidence, and alertness, have the potential to leverage a news story. The crux is that it all has to come together in that one moment.

At Harkisan Mehta Institute of Media Research and Analysis, we have regular sessions of practicing reporting on lens. Interviewing people and speaking in front of an audience is an ongoing process. However, operating in a simulated environment, where we have the luxury of time, is a far cry from the pressures of the real world.

Keeping that in mind, on April 29, 2016, our college organised a special session for us. A visit to the prestigious Aaj Tak office/studio. Amongst Hindi news broadcasting channels in India, Aaj Tak is arguably the biggest. Be it excellence in news reporting, or viewership, it is hard to name a channel that can trump it.

All of us, along with our faculty member, Mrs Sonika Tewari, assembled outside the Aaj Tak office in Andheri, East, sharp at 1 pm. Once inside, we were greeted by an amicable man, Mr Manish Shirishkar, their Head Director of Photography, Mumbai.

IMG_2867Straight away, we were guided into the recording studio. Standing at the centre, with a huge green screen in the backdrop, multiple cameras staring, along with blinding lights, was a real eye-opener. It felt like stepping into a Test match arena after having played gully cricket all our lives!

We then shifted our base to the Picture Control Room, a place where there are multiple screens, along with a director who synchronises the frames being shot inside the studio. The next hour or so was truly captivating. In the recording studio now, popular entertainment show Saas Bahu Aur Betiyaan was being shot. As it was International Dance Day, a special programme was planned. Both the anchors, dressed in traditional attire, were performing Spanish dance forms as an opening act. “These days we look at dancing as a prerequisite while hiring anchors,” said Manish nonchalantly.

It was about 1.30 pm at that time and the show was to air at 2.30 pm. The shoot was a race against time. Having read the script just once, and with the clock ticking away, it was fascinating to watch the anchors as they put on an act. Witnessing their presence, clarity of thought, flawless diction, spontaneity, and showmanship, was a massive learning for all of us.

IMG_2889Later, we were given a masterclass on how to record a voice-over. The entire meaning of a story can be lost if not spoken in the correct tone. Only after hearing the recording in person did we understand the extent to which our voice needs to be modulated. Hearing the anchor pour so much emotion into words was stirring.

What followed was an interactive session with Manish. He shared with us anecdotes of his wonderful journey with Aaj Tak. He had joined the channel in 1998, when it was hardly the name it is today. He threw light on his struggles, on how he made his way up from the very bottom. Manish’s passion for his craft struck a chord with each one of us. We were motivated to face the grind that lay ahead.

At the end of it all, I can say for sure that our visit to Aaj Tak was an enriching experience. It gave us a first-hand lesson of what it takes to be a top professional. Personally, I know that the visit will hold me in good stead in the future. Hopefully, I’ll do a much better job the next time that lens zooms in on me.

-Aditya Chaturvedi