How border wall affect wildlife?

Barriers of any kind affect movement and migration of animals. For instance, the wall could come in the way of an animal’s search for water and food nearby. It could also stop animals on their long-distance migratory paths.

When he was the U.S. President, Donald Trump set off the expansion of the border wall between the U.S. and its neighbouring country Mexico. While he's not the country's President any longer, the incomplete construction stretching miles on end stands today, silently bearing testimony to human prejudice. It divided people on both sides physically and emotionally. But it appears to have affected more than just humans as with barriers anywhere globally, it has affected wildlife too.

Wildlife has no concrete borders, created singularly by and for humans. When humans introduce these barriers, wildlife struggle, to put it mildly. It has come to light that the case is no different with the U.S.-Mexico barrier. According to Cuenca Los Ojos (CLO), a transfrontier wildlife organisation, "camera trap photos and the conservationists own observations have revealed deer, mountain lions and black bears pacing along the border wall, confused and unable to access their former ranges". "One family of boars spent five hours trying to get past the wall in search of water, according to CLO. Barriers of any kind affect movement and migration of animals. For instance, the wall could come in the way of an animal's search for water and food nearby. It could also stop animals on their long-distance migratory paths.

Apart from animals, such walls can harm birds too. When these barriers are lit up at night, it can disorient both nocturnal birds and those on their long migratory journeys. While it is easy to presume that birds can effortlessly cross such barriers in daylight, the reality is different. A few birds are low-fliers, and different types of interferences in a natural landscape can leave them trapped in one place due to their inability to fly from it. According to research conducted a few years ago on the U.S.-Mexico border, "not only large roadways but also big agricultural fields and other types of landscape disturbance and segregation" affected the movement of ferruginous pygmy owl, a low-flying bird.

Erecting walls or barriers is not new. However, with the natural world already under threat from climate change, these human structures, especially in places rich in biodiversity, are likely to put further pressure on wildlife.

Picture Credit : Google 

What are some ways a citizen can participate in the political process?

Children demonstrate an interest, but stay away from engaging in socio-political affairs. Here's how they can address the gaps, become active citizens and prepare to participate in future democratic processes...

Knowledge of politics

Education is the building block of a progressive society. Besides shaping your personality, it helps you bring about change in society. Wondering how? If you become aware of your rights and responsibilities, you will be better equipped to face society and take an active part in shaping it. Continue to follow politics in your state and country from a young age. An early awareness of politics is essential to awaken your sense of social responsibility in a democracy. To start with, familiarise yourself with local governance and democratic values. Get to know about political developments, leaders and their accomplishments. Are they good at their work? Are the policies framed by them effective? Find out from the newspapers and other media. Discuss themes ranging from fundamental rights to voting and elections. This will help you make informed choices when you turn 18, the age to exercise your right to franchise. What's more, if you are cut out for politics, you too can enter the field at the right time and make a difference.

Start small

Are you indifferent towards the pot holed road in your locality? Or uncleared dustbins in the neighbourhood? Have you ignored the govemment's call to end the use of certain plastic items? Well, if your answer is ‘Yes’, it's time to act. Change starts with you! You can be the change you would like to see in society. Find out how you can contribute to change in your community. You can start by volunteering with organisations working for civic issues during the weekends. As you commit yourself to such work, you will inspire others too to follow suit. Start small, start local, and then expand your areas of work.

Read autobiographies and biographies of leaders

Every leader had to overcome great obstacles during their lifetime. Today we may not even have an idea of the struggles they had to undergo to attain freedom for our country. Read up on the history of India and world, the wars, the biographies of great leaders and the works written by them. You will get to know about their qualities, what made them stand out, their credibility, statesmanship and their effective policies towards disadvantages sections of society. You will also learn about the futility of war. Books serve as great teachers and reading biographies will shape you into a better leader.

 

Care for the environment

With a warming world staring us in the face, what can we do to minimise its impact on us and the future generations? Remember the 3Rs - Reduce, Recycle and Reuse. Conserve energy by unplugging appliances when not in use. Conserve water by fixing the leaky taps in the kitchen and around your house. Plant saplings, and remember to water them regularly. They will surely provide the much-needed green cover in a few years' time. Cycle or walk to places in the vicinity instead of taking out your fuel-guzzling two-wheelers to buy things needed for home or to visit friends. In this way, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thereby cut your carbon footprint. Instead of going on accumulating new things, try recycling what you already have and reuse. Cardboards can be converted into penholders and made attractive with a coat of vibrant paint, CD discs can be converted into adornments, and doormats can be fashioned out of old clothes. The options are many, if you only put your heart to it.

Be a responsible citizen

Do not wait for something big to happen. Start where you are with whatever you have, said People's President A.PJ. Abdul Kalam. He believed in the power of the young minds to bring about change. Youngsters are a dynamic force. These days they are often exposed to issues such as economic inequities, religious discrimination and environmental challenges. If young people aged below 20, who constitute over 40% of the country's population, develop skills such as empathy, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving, it will not only enable them to take responsibility for their actions but also help build a better future along with others.

Develop a mindset that will push you to question what is undesirable around you and resolve the problems efficiently and amicably. By being a responsible citizen, you can play an active part in society, be the changemaker and also inspire others to bring about change in various walks of life.

Think positive

A positive perception towards politics is essential as today's children are going to be tomorrow's leaders and policy makers. Many youngsters tend to get cynical about politics when they come across or read about corrupt leaders and those with criminal antecedents. But instead of losing heart, they can try to set good examples. Knowledge of and early exposure to politics lead to increased interest in politics. Try to participate in democratic processes such as elections in schools and colleges. This will eventually help evolve an avid interest in the country's electoral process, governance, development, etc. Gaining knowledge about economy, healthcare, social justice and the Constitution is essential. When you are well informed about the situations prevalent in the country and other countries, you will be able to bring about systemic change that will benefit society.

Picture Credit : Google 

What are some ways a citizen can participate in the political process?

Children demonstrate an interest, but stay away from engaging in socio-political affairs. Here's how they can address the gaps, become active citizens and prepare to participate in future democratic processes...

Knowledge of politics

Education is the building block of a progressive society. Besides shaping your personality, it helps you bring about change in society. Wondering how? If you become aware of your rights and responsibilities, you will be better equipped to face society and take an active part in shaping it. Continue to follow politics in your state and country from a young age. An early awareness of politics is essential to awaken your sense of social responsibility in a democracy. To start with, familiarise yourself with local governance and democratic values. Get to know about political developments, leaders and their accomplishments. Are they good at their work? Are the policies framed by them effective? Find out from the newspapers and other media. Discuss themes ranging from fundamental rights to voting and elections. This will help you make informed choices when you turn 18, the age to exercise your right to franchise. What's more, if you are cut out for politics, you too can enter the field at the right time and make a difference.

Start small

Are you indifferent towards the pot holed road in your locality? Or uncleared dustbins in the neighbourhood? Have you ignored the govemment's call to end the use of certain plastic items? Well, if your answer is ‘Yes’, it's time to act. Change starts with you! You can be the change you would like to see in society. Find out how you can contribute to change in your community. You can start by volunteering with organisations working for civic issues during the weekends. As you commit yourself to such work, you will inspire others too to follow suit. Start small, start local, and then expand your areas of work.

Read autobiographies and biographies of leaders

Every leader had to overcome great obstacles during their lifetime. Today we may not even have an idea of the struggles they had to undergo to attain freedom for our country. Read up on the history of India and world, the wars, the biographies of great leaders and the works written by them. You will get to know about their qualities, what made them stand out, their credibility, statesmanship and their effective policies towards disadvantages sections of society. You will also learn about the futility of war. Books serve as great teachers and reading biographies will shape you into a better leader.

 

Care for the environment

With a warming world staring us in the face, what can we do to minimise its impact on us and the future generations? Remember the 3Rs - Reduce, Recycle and Reuse. Conserve energy by unplugging appliances when not in use. Conserve water by fixing the leaky taps in the kitchen and around your house. Plant saplings, and remember to water them regularly. They will surely provide the much-needed green cover in a few years' time. Cycle or walk to places in the vicinity instead of taking out your fuel-guzzling two-wheelers to buy things needed for home or to visit friends. In this way, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thereby cut your carbon footprint. Instead of going on accumulating new things, try recycling what you already have and reuse. Cardboards can be converted into penholders and made attractive with a coat of vibrant paint, CD discs can be converted into adornments, and doormats can be fashioned out of old clothes. The options are many, if you only put your heart to it.

Be a responsible citizen

Do not wait for something big to happen. Start where you are with whatever you have, said People's President A.PJ. Abdul Kalam. He believed in the power of the young minds to bring about change. Youngsters are a dynamic force. These days they are often exposed to issues such as economic inequities, religious discrimination and environmental challenges. If young people aged below 20, who constitute over 40% of the country's population, develop skills such as empathy, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving, it will not only enable them to take responsibility for their actions but also help build a better future along with others.

Develop a mindset that will push you to question what is undesirable around you and resolve the problems efficiently and amicably. By being a responsible citizen, you can play an active part in society, be the changemaker and also inspire others to bring about change in various walks of life.

Think positive

A positive perception towards politics is essential as today's children are going to be tomorrow's leaders and policy makers. Many youngsters tend to get cynical about politics when they come across or read about corrupt leaders and those with criminal antecedents. But instead of losing heart, they can try to set good examples. Knowledge of and early exposure to politics lead to increased interest in politics. Try to participate in democratic processes such as elections in schools and colleges. This will eventually help evolve an avid interest in the country's electoral process, governance, development, etc. Gaining knowledge about economy, healthcare, social justice and the Constitution is essential. When you are well informed about the situations prevalent in the country and other countries, you will be able to bring about systemic change that will benefit society.

Picture Credit : Google 

Who was Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay ?

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was the first woman in India to run for political office, when she competed for a seat in the Madras Legislative Assembly in 1926, losing by a mere 55 votes. A freedom fighter, actor, writer and social reformer, she was the driving force behind the renaissance of Indian theatre, handicrafts and handlooms in independent India. She is known as "Hathkargha Maa' for her work in the handloom sector to uplift the socio economic status of Indian women. Making it fashionable to wear handspun sarees and adorn homes with traditional handicrafts, the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awardee set up iconic institutions like the National School of Drama, Sangeet Natak Akademi, Central Cottage Industries Emporium and the Crafts Council of India.

Kamaladevi was also a key figure in the international socialist feminist movement. From the late 1920s to the 1940s and beyond, Kamaladevi became an emissary for Indian women and political independence. She also advocated transnational causes – such as racism and political and economic equity between nations. She also attended the International Alliance of Women in Berlin in 1929.

Born in a Saraswat Brahmin community of Mangalore, Kamaladevi was greatly inspired by Gandhian ideas and the concept of non-violence. Much of it can be attributed to her upbringing. Her parents were progressive thinkers and involved in the freedom struggle of the era. Her mother was chiefly responsible for her scholarly upbringing after Kamaladevi lost her father at an early age. Her grandmother was known to have challenged the limitations placed on widows and continued her pursuit of knowledge and independent living.

Her first chance with politics came at the home of her maternal uncle. A notable social reformer, his house was throged by eminent lawyers, political luminaries, and public figures, among them Gopalkrishna Gokhale, Srinivasa Sastri, Pandita Ramabai, and Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru. By 1923, Kamaladevi, following the footsteps of Gandhi, enrolled herself in the nationalist struggle as a member of the Congress party. Three years later, she had the unique distinction of being the first woman in India to run for political office. Kamaladevi competed for a seat in the Madras Legislative Assembly and lost by a mere 55 votes.

Even though she was a strong advocate of Salt Satyagraha, she differed with Gandhi’s decision to exclude women in the march. Though Kamaladevi was charged with violation of the salt laws and sentenced to a prison term, she captured the nation’s attention when, in a scuffle over the Congress flag, she clung to it tenaciously. At the same time, Kamaladevi was establishing political links outside India too. In 1926, she met the Irish-Indian suffragette Margaret Cousins, who founded the All India Women’s Conference and remained its president until Kamaladevi assumed that role in 1936. She was a great author too and her first writings on the rights of women in India date to 1929. One of her last books, Indian Women’s Battle for Freedom, was published in 1982.

An interesting fact that many are unaware of is the role Kamaladevi played in giving birth to present Faridabad. As the founding leader of the Indian Cooperative Union (ICU), she took upon the job to resettle nearly 50,000 Pathans from the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) in the wake of the post-Partition migrations. Apart from her contribution in handicrafts, she also set up the Indian National Theatre (INT) in 1944, what we today know as National School of Drama. It was a movement to recognise and celebrate indigenous modes of performance like dance, folklore, and mushairas and help the freedom struggle.

Credit : Indian express

Picture Credit : Google 

A HARBINGER OF CHANGE

Dr BR Ambedkar is one of the most luminous figures of modern Indian history and the principal architect of our constitution. He endeavoured to build a new social order based on the democratic ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. Let us look back at one of his most iconic speeches at the Constituent Assembly.

On November 24, 1949, B. R. Ambedkar presented his concluding remarks on the adoption of the Constitution in the Constituent Assembly. His address recalled the detailed discussions and deliberations on fundamental rights, union powers, and upliftment of minorities that laid the foundation of our Constitution's legal framework. But what makes this speech significant in present-day's political environment is its orators prophetic predictions of the factors that threaten India's political identity as a socialist democracy.

The quest of the hour Even at the helm of liberty, what crippled Ambedkars mind with anxiety was the thought of the stronghold ideals of caste and creed had on the average citizen. Recalling past incidents like the invasion of Sind by Mahommed-Bin-Kasim, he elaborated on how India had once before lost its independence to the treachery of its people and the rise of new political parties that possess diverse and opposing political standing can cause history to repeat itself.

He declared that the day politicians choose creed over the country, the purpose of democracy will be defeated.

Therefore, the quest of the hour was to ensure that proper measures are taken to enforce and safeguard equality, liberty and fraternity as a nascent nation moved forward

Abandon the grammar of anarchy

In his address to the constituent assembly, Ambedkar implored to hold fast to constitutional methods of achieving social and economic objectives and abandon methods of rebellion like civil disobedience, non-cooperation and satyagraha. According to him, in a society that is built on good well and justice and is governed by leaders elected by the people there is no valid justification to employ unsanctioned methods of rebellion.

Dangers of hero-worship Calling Bhakti culture or Hero-worship a sure road to degradation and eventual dictatorship, he said "There is nothing wrong in being grateful to great men who have rendered lifelong services to the country. But there are limits to gratefulness... With independence, we have lost the excuse of blaming the British for anything going wrong. If hereafter things go wrong, we will have nobody to blame. Except ourselves...If we wish to preserve the Constitution...let us resolve not to be tardy in the recognition of the evils that lie across our path...nor to be weak in our initiative to remove them. That is the only way to serve the country. I know of no better." (excerpt from the speech)

Key takeaways from the speech

1. Equality, liberty and fraternity are the foundations of our constitution.

2. Blind faith in any entity or individual is an enemy of the truth.

3. A good citizen understands the responsibility that comes with freedom.

DID YOU KNOW?

  1. Dr Ambedkar was the first law minister of Independent India
  2. Ambedkar's 20-page autobiography titled "Waiting for a Visa" is part of Columbia University's curriculum.
  3. Ambedkar was the first member of the backward classes to become a lawyer.
  4. Ambedkar was the first and only Satyagrahi to conduct "Satyagraha for drinking water”. Ambedkar had master's degrees in around 64 subjects and was the first Indian to obtain a doctorate in Economics from a foreign university.

Picture Credit : Google