Christmas, the biggest feast of Catholics all over the world rejoice as the month of December begins. While everyone begin to put up their decorations at home, Goa comes alive as decorations go up in every nook and corner. It is the only state not only in the entire country but also in the whole world that celebrates Christmas to the tee. Being a tropical state with sun kissed beaches, the whites love to come down and get their tan while celebrating the biggest feast of the year. Hence December is known as the peak season and prices and packages are at an all time high. Hotels, beaches, resorts, vacation homes are super packed. Cathedrals and churches design the crib, ready to bring home the saviour. With over a hundred churches, it is in Goa that you will get the real feeling of Christmas.
Notwithstanding that in other parts of India it is a lesser Christmas. But as Goa is inhabited by maximum Roman Catholics, almost every home has the light of a star shinning. All over India Churches have family day and other get-togethers for their parishioners. This way families come together to celebrate their grand feast. Sometimes even games are arranged for children of different age groups with snacks, where Santa comes in to meet the kids. Kids love to meet the big red man with a sack full of gifts. Even more because he gives them toffees and gifts. This style of celebrations is carried out for Christmas in Goa and other parts of India. Moreover the advent season i.e. the period before Christmas is spent in prayer and thanksgiving. Sweetmeats are prepared at home for Boxing Day and for all the guests who are to come. Every home even makes a crib to put baby Jesus in on Christmas Day. New clothes are purchased, homes are refurbished and happiness is welcomed with arms outstretched.

It is an interesting fact to note that the celebration of Christmas in India is held in a different manner in the various parts of the country. The way Christmas is celebrated in the North East is completely different from the way Christmas is celebrated in the South West.
Let us take a look at what are the various way of celebrating Christmas in India. Generally the Christians who live in the plains decorate mango or banana trees at Christmas time. Some of them also decorate their houses with mango leaves. However in some of the other parts of India, a lot of people use small clay oil-burning lamps as Christmas decorations. These small clay lamps are placed on the edges of flat roofs and on the tops of walls.

During Christmas in India, most of the Churches are found decorated with poinsettias and lit with candles for the Christmas Eve service. One of the most famous locations for celebration of Christmas in India is Goa.
In fact not only people from different parts of India, but also people from all over the world throng to this seductive abode to be a part of exotic fiesta. If you happen to live in a good luxury hotel in Goa, then the mood for the fiesta will be altogether different.
In a luxury hotel you can expect that expensive Christmas trees will be decorated with stars and tinsels, toys, plastic fruits. In fact, the best time to explore any place in India during the festivals is the evenings. This is because all bulbs illuminates the dawn making it look more beautiful.
Interestingly, Hindus and Muslim population majorly occupy India, and yet, Christmas is celebrated with a large amount of fanfare in this secular country. Christmas in India is declared as a national holiday and people irrespective of their religion enjoy it along with the Christians.

Christmas article authored by Sakina Kadiwala~ copyright

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Teaching Children Virtues & Values

Children are the pillars of our tomorrow is a statement that is repeated time and again. And it is an axiom; they are our pillars of the coming time. But then do we nurture them into becoming healthy human beings?
By healthy human beings here is not meant the physical well being, but the good human being. And how do you define a good human being? One with virtues and values that keeps them in the realm of working towards the benefit of humanity.

How can children imbibe within themselves the virtues and values? Well, this is the primary responsibility of parents and other immediate family members, followed by school authorities. The values and virtues of an individual is sown in their childhood and nurtured as they grow up. After all nobody is born a criminal, it is what they become as result of what they gain from their surroundings.

Depending on the way we bring up our children, we decide our own future. It is vital that in the formative years we give them quality time and attention. We teach them to discriminate between the good, bad and the ugly. WE have to inculcate into them positive emotions like love and compassion and teach them actions of kindness and generosity. At the same time we have to help them do way with the negatives of hatred, anger, jealousy, selfishness, etc.

Your child is like a plant. You sow the seeds and also reap the benefits of its growth and development. First and foremost you as a parent have to realize your responsibility in nurturing a child to growing into a good human being. And it is just not upto anyone of the parents, but both together to inculcate the values and virtues into your child.

Children Virtues index

Teaching your child about honesty

Teaching your child trust

Teaching your child love

Teaching a child generosity

Teaching to respect elders

Other important values

Perseverance and inspiration often leads to privilege but without hard work and dedication they’ll be no success. The hardest profession to take in life is being a girl child. Discrimination and discrepancy are two most important factors that hamper the journey of every female from the earliest stage of life. Starting from her presence into her mother’s womb to infancy, childhood and finally to adulthood, she is outnumbered by the male dominating society of the country.
India is a country where social disadvantage outweighs natural biological advantage of being a girl. A whole range of discriminatory practices including female foeticide, female infanticide, female genital mutilation, son idolization, early marriage and dowry have buried the future of the nation. In India, discriminatory practices have greatly influenced the health and well-being of a girl child, resulting in a higher mortality rate.

It is believed that every year 12 million girls are born in the country but unfortunately only 1/3 of those survive. Some are killed in the womb, some at the time of birth, some die due to ill health and some due to poor nutritional status. Only a few numbers of girls are able to survive till their 15th birthday.
Female feticide and infanticide are the most popular social evils prevailing in the country. This evil is the outcome of poverty, illiteracy and gender discrimination. The country fails to understand, how a mother can be so ruthless and vulnerable.

It is said that God created mothers because He could not be present everywhere. Its unbelievable to realize that a God’s representative is continuously killing someone beautiful even before she can come out and see the beauty of nature.

It’s painful to confess that the trend still exists in various parts of the country. States like Maharashtra, Haryana, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Punjab are most popular for practicing female foeticide and infanticide.
Poverty, gender discrimination and son preference have also influenced the nutritional status of a girl child. There are almost 75 million malnourished children existing in the country. It is estimated that 75% of the total malnourished children are girls who show signs of chronic and acute malnutrition.
Girls who manage to cross this hard phase of life, gets trapped by the evil society during adolescence and teenage. These are the stages where more nutrition is required for normal growth and development. Unfortunately, nutritional needs are neglected for girls and they are often kept locked within the four walls.
Exacerbate discrimination against female for nutrition and education has led to an increase in child marriage, reduction in fertility rates and population growth, potentially, women’s participation in nurturing the future of every nation.
Improper nutrition during adolescence results in various reproductive health disorders. The effects of these disorders further exacerbates by early marriage, closely spaced pregnancies, poor access to information about family planning, traditional practices, etc.
Girl child is the future of every nation and India is no exception. A little amount of care, a handful of warmth and a heart full of love for a girl child can make a big difference. Close your eyes, free your thoughts and hear the voice of God, He is saying something to all of us, “Save Me”.

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All individuals are entitled to certain basic rights in every part of the world. Irrespective of the circumstances, no one is morally or ethically empowered to take away these basic rights from ordinary citizens. The rights are of different types like political and civil liberty rights. The most fundamental right available to a human being is of right to life and physical safety. Human rights are the expression of the need for human dignity, fairness, acceptance, tolerance and mutual respect. The idea of human rights coveys the scope of justice and morality. Though, many international organizations and country heads emphasize the need of human rights, its violation has always been a common phenomenon in different parts of the world.

No, we are not strangers to violation of human rights in certain countries. Incidents of inhuman acts keep occurring throughout the world. People are being deprived of basic human necessities. Despite the presence of international watchdogs, basic human rights have been taken away in the name of communal discrimination, fundamentalism and racial discrimination. The phenomenon is more rampant in third world countries. Women and children have suffered the most because of these violations.

Types of human rights violation include child trafficking, dowry, sexual harassment, early marriage, child labor, polygamy, genocide, slavery, medical experimentation, war crimes and rape are common. It would be premature to say that right kinds of efforts are not being made to improve the situation but the progress is quite slow. The magnitude of these violations demands drastic measures and some concrete actions. For instance, if we talk about child labor, it is a common social phenomenon in South Asia. These children do not get proper education, food, shelter and treatment. Many a times, their lives are in danger and yet the progress made on this front is far from satisfactory.

Similarly, dowry is a social curse which often leads to killing of the brides. Child trafficking is in existence since ages but do we really see any improvement in this regard? Sexual harassment and rape are barbaric acts of human rights violation taking place in many parts of the globe. Genocide and war crimes assault the fundamental and political rights of the victims.

We must come up with immediate execution of remedial measures to counter the menace of human right violation. They say, justice delayed is justice denied and sooner we realize this, better for the overall welfare of the public.

‘How sad, many girls missing from our country are found buried in some graveyard….

India is growing dynamically in every fields. Today, the boom in economy, innovative technologies and improved infrastructure has become nation’s pride. The country has witnessed advancements in all fields but bias against a girl child is still prevailing in the country.

This social evil is deep rooted in Indian ethos and the most shocking fact is that the innovative and hard high end technologies are brutally killing the Indian girl child. Innovative techniques, like biopsy, ultrasound, scan tests and amniocentesis, devised to detect genetic abnormalities, are highly misused by number of families to detect gender of the unborn child. These clinical tests are highly contributing to the rise in genocide of the unborn girl child.

In today’s day and age most couples prefer the process known as a planned pregnancy, because of various factors; prime amongst them being the financial well being to support the birth and nurturing of a child. In such cases, the first prenatal visit actually happens prior to actual pregnancy, to see whether one is ready to go off the contraception pills and conceive a baby.

However, in maximum conceptions, one is unaware of the pregnancy until actual realization dawns after one skips the first menstrual cycle. Normally doctors except ladies to pay their first visit anywhere between the sixth and twelfth week after conception.

Amniocentesis started in India in 1974 to detect fetal abnormalities. These tests were used to detect gender for the first time in 1979 in Amritsar, Punjab. Later the test was stopped by the Indian Council of Medical Research but it was too late. The benefits of these tests were leaked out and people started using it as an instrument for killing an innocent and unborn girl child.  Many of the traditional women organizations also took up cudgels to stop this illegal practice but all failed and with the passage of time these tests became a major contributor to bias against a girl child.

Female feticide and infanticide is not the only issues with a girl child in India. At every stage of life she is discriminated and neglected for basic nutrition, education and living standard. When she was in the womb, she was forced to miss the moment when she was supposed to enter the world. At the time of birth her relatives pulled her back and wrung her neck. After killing her she was thrown into a trash can.

During childhood, her brother was loaded with new shoes, dresses and books to learn while she was gifted a broom, a wiper and lots of tears. In her teenage, she missed tasty delicious food to eat and got only the crumbs. During her college days, she was forced to get married, a stage where illiteracy, lack of education resulted in high fertility rate, aggravating the condition of females in the country. Again if this female gives birth to a girl child, the journey begins once again. She missed all roses of life and was finally fitted to a graveyard. That’s where she got peace of mind.

The nation of mothers still follows a culture where people idolizes son and mourns daughters. UN figures out that about 750,000 girls are aborted every year in India. Abortion rates are increasing in almost 80% of the India states, mainly Punjab and Haryana. These two states have the highest number of abortions every year. If the practice continues, then no longer a day will come when Mother India will have no mothers, potentially, no life.

We all are proud citizens of India. The need of hour is to realize our responsibilities and give a halt to this evil crime. What can we do to curb the brutal and undesirable practice of mass killing girls? A determined drive can initiate a spark to light the lamp and show the world that we all are part of the great Mother India..