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Spotting Fireflies On A Dark Night: Where Has All The Good News Gone?

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By Anuva Kulkarni:

It is a glorious morning, the sun is shining, the birds are a-chirpin’, and the flowers are a-bloomin’ in the garden. There is the thud of the newspaper hitting the door and you hear the newspaper boy cycling away, whistling merrily. Your cheerfulness deflates like a balloon when you open the newspaper and the headlines are about a gruesome accident not far from your town. You turn the pages. There are stories about murder, terrorism, the war in the Middle East, children being killed in Syria, not to mention the various exploits of our own politicians. Then there are the ever-increasing petrol prices and consequent bandhs.

The government is out to rob us!” everyone seems to mutter.

And suddenly, the sunny morning dissolves and it is a very bad world indeed.

Our newspapers, with their 72-size font headlines hardly ever leave us feeling happy about our country, the environment, or the world. They relish in publishing all the details of a heinous crime or a kidnapping, but spare only a tiny column for the poor girl who, in spite of her sickness, topped the medical exams. The first page is devoid of stories about hard working activists trying to bring education and electricity to villages, or groundbreaking technical progress in India or around the world, or courageous citizens endeavouring to make the world a better place to live in. No, the first page leaves you believing that you are going to be murdered in your bed, blown up by a bomb on your way to work, or poisoned by the pesticides on the apples you bought at the supermarket. Come on now, that’s never a healthy way to start your day!

So I am going to highlight a few positive stories that ideally should get more publicity, but sadly, don’t. These are the stories that prove to us as to who we are, who we can be and make us proud.

In September 2012, the Indian Space Research Organization launched their PSLV C21 rocket, their 100th space mission, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The Prime Minister was present to witness the successful and spectacular launch, and a great amount of credit goes to ISRO for their success at implementing world class technology in our country in spite of all technical challenges. This has made India a leader in the remote sensing field, with twelve satellites in space. Here is a timeline of India’s space odyssey

To top it off, our own IIT Bombay has a student satellite project, which aims at launching five satellites in the next few years. ‘Pratham’ is their first such microsatellite, which will be launched by ISRO after its successful development.

Continuing in the same vein, the Indian Institute of Science is the only Indian institution which figures in the Global Employability List 2012. The 103-year-old institution first made it to the list in 2011 and has moved up from rank 134 to rank 35. This means that the IISc graduates are among the best of employable people in the world. The top ten in the list are Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, Oxford, Stanford, MIT, Columbia, Princeton, Imperial College of London and Goethe-University Frankfurt.

Going international, here is an adorable story: “One Hat One Heart” is a project by CoreLight, an international non-profit organization practicing “love-in-action”. The program provides handmade, warm winter hats to orphans and vulnerable children in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Although it is a small gesture and doesn’t help the policies in all of Africa, it is comforting to know that children will be warm and happy in their homes on New Year’s Day.

India is immensely proud of her athletes, CEOs, scientists, activists and students who are out there, dedicating their lives to their work. Their stories let us know that the world isn’t always full of violence and anguish and that there are silver linings if you look for them. So give yourself a boost of positive energy every morning and seek out all that is good in the world — it is like spotting fireflies on a very dark night. Not that hard, is it?

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  1. priyanka vaid

    this is a much needed reminder…with ‘sad’ news occupying most of the front page, no wonder the youth today likes going through the entertainment supplement more than getting updated about the latest crime or price rise right before leaving for college/office.

    1. Anuva Kulkarni

      Glad you agree, Priyanka 🙂 Gossip columns shouldn’t be the reason people read newspapers. We need NEWS and information, not tragedy splashed across our front pages.

  2. Amarpreet Kaur

    Newspapers are actually a reflection of what is happening in our society. With the advent of information technology, news is something that is accessible to us 24×7. We no longer need to wait for the morning newspaper to actually get to know what is happening in the world we live in. Whether it is the television or the internet, we can get live updates on everything under the sun. No doubt whenever something negative happens, the media tends to sensationalize and over hype such news. Instead of feeling bad about it and turning skeptical about things, we must come forward and think together as a society on how we can combat issues that confront us. The fact stands that there are positive developments taking place in our society that the media reports as well. It is a matter of how we choose to look at things.

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        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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        Find out more about her campaign here.

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        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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