SHORT CUT SAINTS
Computers have the provision of shortcut icons which help us reach the desired location by cutting short the usual procedure. These save both time and energy but sometimes it ends up with some problems.
Recently I drove my car from Tambaram to Egmore in Chennai. On the way there were several flyovers without proper signboards. I took one flyover and landed up in another lane which leading to Avadi (in a completely different direction). It took a few u-turns, some tensed moments and a lot of wasted time amid the confusion to get back to the correct lane.
So too in our spiritual life, we love to take shortcuts to accomplish certain tasks with our own ways. Sometimes, we do it and then go to God for ratification or end up facing the consequences. In just a few moments, we end up in the wrong lane and start cursing our own actions. .
In the Bible, there are a few examples of those who took shortcuts.
A. Asa the King: 2 Chr 14:2-6
Asa was the son of Abijah who ruled Judah for ten years. Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God. He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to obey His laws and commands. His nation enjoyed peace without any war as long as he relied on Lord for all his deeds. From 2 Chr 14:12, we see that Asa defeated Ehopian army by relying on God during that time.
In the thirty sixth year of Asa’s reign, Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent anyone from leaving or entering Asa’s territory. The economy came to a standstill and famine crept in due to the siege (2 Chron 16:1-6).
Asa immediately took silver and gold out the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and of his palace and sent it to Benhadad, king of Aram who sent his army to fight Israel. King Baaha heard of this and returned to his own country. God sent his seer to warn Asa for relying on the Lord’s treasure and the king of Aram to send king Baaha back. He rebuked him for taking a shortcut to complete the task without getting proper guidance from the Lord.
B. Saul the King: 1 Sam 13:9-12
The Israelites cried out before God for a king. God anointed Saul as the king through Samuel the prophet. One day, the Philistines assembled for war on one side while his own men scattered on the other side due to the late arrival of Samuel to give the burnt offering. Saul was in a hurry to get his people together and send his army to fight the Philistines. He began to play the role of the priest which was against God’s commandment. Samuel rebuked him and prophesied about the person who would come after him.
Even in our own lives, let us wait on the Lord, get His guidance and do everything in accordance to His will. We need not take shortcuts which will be unacceptable to the Lord. Let us always keep in mind that God’s will done in God’s way will never lack God’s resources!
J. Peter Daniel M.E., 76, Living Spring Avenue, Sanjeevipuram, Bagayam,
Vellore 632 – 002, Phone. 0416 2260066, 09443800395.
Ten divorce cases filed daily in each city court
29 Jul 2008, 0219 hrs IST,TNN
NEW DELHI: Every year, an estimated 1,36,000 marriages are registered in Delhi courts. And about 10,000 divorce cases are filed every year with 10 cases on an average being filed in each court in the capital every day. Studies have shown that the percentage of divorces has increased from about 5% in 1974 to 15% in 2000.
The figures were revealed on Monday during the inauguration of a 24-hour mobile van service and pre-marital counselling centre of the Delhi Commission for Women. The inauguration was done jointly by CM Sheila Dikshit and actor and Rajya Sabha member Shabana Azmi. Dikshit stressed on the fact that willingness to stay together is the key to a successful marriage, and when that withers, things go no where. But it was clear that the views of the two speakers were completely at variance with each other, with one insinuating that economic independence of women is contributing to the rising divorce figures, while the other blaming illiteracy of women for the same malaise.
Dikshit said: ‘‘Studies have shown that more and more couples are seeking divorce on flimsy grounds. The problem is once a couple has decided to quit, no amount of counselling can help. There are growing levels of intolerance and lack of will to adjust.”
Expressing concern over the disintegrating joint family system, she said that this has led to children feeling lonely and a complete break in the social fabric. And the fact that economic independence of a woman and her family life were not antithetical to each other. ‘‘The foundations of marriage lay in love, mutual trust and interdependence. If that is not there divorce happens,” the CM said, clearly in her elements in her new found role of a marriage counsellor.
Azmi on the other hand cited illiteracy and lack of education as the main reason behind domestic violence and divorce in India. ‘‘One chapter in a class I book shows mother cooking and father going to office which shows that age-old perceptions are yet to change. Moreover ego clashes are also a big reason for divorce, and this is why the counselling should not just be pre-marital but also post-marital,” she said.
The van would provide counseling at every doorstep for distressed women.
‘India’s poorest paid over Rs 800 cr as bribe in 2007’
30 Jun 2008, 1056 hrs IST,PTI
NEW DELHI: The level of corruption is “alarming” in the states of Assam, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, says a new survey based on experience of Below Poverty Line (BPL) households in availing various public services last year.
The ‘India Corruption Study 2007’, brought out by NGOs Transparency International India (TII) and Centre for Media Studies (CMS), found that about one-third of Below Poverty Line (BPL) households in the country bribed officials to avail a total of 11 services — from police to PDS.
According to the survey, which covered 22,728 households in all states and Union Territories, Rs 8,830 million (Rs 883 crore), in all, was estimated to be paid as bribe by BPL households last year.
The report grouped states into four levels on extent of corruption — alarming, very high, high and moderate.
While five states come into the “alarming” category, the corruption level is “moderate” in states like Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana and West Bengal, the survey found.
Karnataka, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu fall into the “very high” group, according to the report that took into account corruption experienced by poor families while availing basic services like PDS, hospital, electricity and water supply as also need-based services like land records and registration, housing, banking and police service.
Among the smaller states and UTs, in Nagaland and Goa, most of the 11 services had high or very high or alarming level of corruption whereas it was moderate in Chandigarh and Tripura.
India has 4.38mn broadband users
29 Jul 2008, 0028 hrs IST,TNN
CHENNAI: India has 4.38 million broadband internet users as of June 2008, a recent report from the country’s telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) said.
According to the report, the total broadband subscribers, internet users with download speeds in excess of 256 kilo bytes per second (kbps) has reached 4.38 million from 4.15 million it had at the end of May 2008.
The Trai statement also said that during April 2007 to June 2008 the country has almost doubled broadband users.
“We have only now reached a point where broadband is slowly entering the scheme of things of household users. The costs are still high. For instance, a household should shell out not less than Rs 500 a month for broadband connection and the costs only go up, depending on usage.
A further reduction in costs will only help grow the base,” an official with a telecom service provider said.
The data pertaining to broadband only shows how India is still a pygmy in the internet users space.
Only a few days back, China became the capital of cyberia with The China Internet Network Information Centre (CINIC) revealed that its netizens reached 253 million by end of June, which is the highest in the world. It also said that it has the highest population, (80% of the internet users), of broadband users while the rest used low speed internet services.
The Trai statement said, the country added 8.81 million telephone connections (both wire and wireless) during June 2008 as compared to 8.46 million it added during May 2008. In the wireless segment, which includes GSM, CDMA and WLL, there was an addition of 8.94 million as against 8.62 million during May 2008.
This means that there has been a fall in the wireline users in the country, which decreased to 38.92 million from 39.05 million in May.
With this, the total telephone connections has reached 325.78 million (316.97 million at the end of May 2008). The overall tele-density now stands at 28.33% as against 27.59% in May.
‘Indian food market set to double by 2025’
29 Jul 2008, 0105 hrs IST,PTI
NEW DELHI: The Indian food market is set to more than double by 2025 on the back of growing economy and changing lifestyles of people, says a US report. Citing a study by McKinsey&Co, a report by the US Department of Agriculture says: “The market size for the food consumption category in India is expected to grow from $155 billion in 2005 to $344 billion in 2025 at a compound annual growth rate of 4.1%.”
The market holds enormous potential for snackfood. The urban India consumes commercial savoury snacks 10 times more than its rural counterpart, with people in the western parts topping the chart of snack lovers followed by the northern region, the report said. Around 1,000 snack items and 300 types of savouries are sold in India.
Potato chips and potato-based products are the largest product category with over 85% share of the salty snack market, it pointed out. Pepsi and Haldiram’s are some of the major players in the organised potato chips market.
India’s snacks market is estimated to be worth $3 billion, with the organised segment accounting for half the market share and growing at a rate of 15-20% a year. The unorganised snack food market is worth $1.56 billion and is growing at 7-8%, the report said.
“Consumers are willing to pay a premium for both value-added private and branded products, creating immense opportunities for manufacturers and retailers, it said, adding “there is a widespread recognition in India that consumers are likely to replace light meals with snacks”.
Maintenance for live-in partner?
30 Jun 2008, 0003 hrs IST, Himanshi Dhawan,TNN
NEW DELHI: A woman in a live-in relationship should be entitled to maintenance if she is deserted by her man, the National Commission for Women has said.
In far-reaching recommendations to the ministry of women and child development, the commission has sought a change in the definition of “wife” — as described in Section 125 of CrPC, which deals with maintenance — and suggested that it include women involved in a live-in relationships.
The move aims to harmonize other sections of the law with the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act that treats a live-in couple’s relationship on a par with that between a legally married husband and wife.
NCW also sought another significant amendment to Section 125, saying that said adultery should no longer be a ground for denying maintenance to a woman.
“We have found in 70% of divorce cases, adultery is used to discredit the woman. Not only is she thrown out of the house, but is also disgraced and denied her rights,” NCW chairperson Girija Vyas said.
Section 125 provides for maintenance of wife, children and parents, who cannot maintain themselves. Maintenance can only be claimed by a woman who is a wife, has either been divorced or has obtained divorce, or is legally separated and is not remarried.
Pointing to the need for broad-basing the definition of wife in the section, commission officials said there had been many cases where the man led the woman to believe that he was unmarried or was divorced or widowed and went through the formalities required by the Hindu Marriage Act or the custom governing him.
‘Long-term relationship valid to claim alimony’
The move by National Commission for Women to seek a change in the definition of “wife” is aimed at harmonizing other sections of law with the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act that treats a live-in couple’s relationship on a par with that between a legally married husband and wife.
‘Most UK kids born outside wedlock’
12 Jul 2008, 0200 hrs IST,PTI
LONDON: Most of the children of UK-born mothers are being born outside wedlock, a development that threatens to disrupt the lives of youths who grow up in unmarried households.
Latest figures published by the British Government’s Office for National Statistics suggest that only a minority of children of long-standing British parents will grow up with a married mother and father.
Figures for babies of British-born mothers born outside marriage went up from 38.7% in 1996 to 49.4% by 2006. Analysts now believe that births outside marriage rate is certain to have gone up by around a percentage point. It means the landmark 50% point for births outside marriage to non-immigrant mothers has now been passed, the Mail online of Britain said.
In contrast, the report said only one in 50 children of mothers who were born in India before they came to the UK had unmarried parents.
Showing high levels of fertility among immigrant families, the ONS figures suggests that nearly one in four of all babies was born to a mother from abroad. Experts fear disruption to UK’s social life as researchers have suggested that youngsters born outside wedlock face a greater risk of poor performance at school, ill health and problems of unemployment, the report said.
1 in 5 UK MPs mentally ill: Survey
LONDON: One in five parliamentarians in Britain suffers from mental illness caused by the stress of their public lives, a confidential survey of MPs and peers has found. Those questioned said they feared disclosing their struggles because of stigma and discrimination.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health questionnaire was completed by 94 parliamentarians, 100 lords and 151 parliamentary staff. According to the survey, more than a quarter had a mental health issue, while 86 per cent of MPs said their job was stressful.
The group’s report is critical of the law forcing MPs to give up their seat for life if they are sectioned under the Mental Health Act for six months. Liberal Democrat parliamentarian Mark Oaten said he was treated with anti-depressants after his private life was exposed in the press.
“The truth is many politicians, myself included, have found the job enormously stressful,” he told The Independent” I was regularly taking Prozac.” He said he had now “got back his life” and was looking for other career opportunities after the next election.
One of those serving MPs surveyed, speaking told the paper: “I would love as an established MP to talk openly of the serious depressive illness I endured long before I became or even thought of being a MP”.
Labour MP Howard Stoate said he had advised MPs to seek help. “A lot of people underestimate how much pressure their MPs are under but it is no more stressful than some other jobs,” he said.