Can’t accidents during air shows be prevented?

Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi  |  Updated On:  1 March 2019 5:30 AM

Even before the inauguration of the Aero India-2019 in Bangalore, an in-flight collision of two Hawk trainer jets occurred during the practice session of the Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) of the Indian Air Force on February 19. This accident has resulted in the death of one of the four Surya Kiran pilots.

Following this accident, another ill-fated episode has taken place at the same display ground — a fire accident occurred on February 23, in which many cars were gutted in the fire at the parking lot. The prima facie reports held that the nearby piled up desiccated grass caught fire, which spread in no time. Also Read – Renamed fake accounts spreading political bias on FB A

Coincidentally, on the same date in the year 2015 i.e. on February 19, 2015, during Aero India show only, two planes belonging to Flying Bulls stunt team made mid-air clash, resulting in the damage of one plane.

Nonetheless, both planes landed safely, in spite of the damage of a wing of one of the aircraft. In another catastrophic air show, while performing at the opening ceremony of the India Aviation Show at Hyderabad on March 3, 2010, a HAL Kiran aircraft belonging to the Sagar Pawan aerobatic team of the Indian Navy crashed. It caused the death of two Indian Navy pilots. It is worth mentioning here that Sagar Pawan is one of the only two naval aerobatic teams in the world which are into aerobatics — Blue Angels of the US Navy turns out to be another naval aerobatic team. Going back in time, in one more fatal air show, two Indian Navy Ilyushin Il-38 (IN302 and IN304) aircraft hit mid-air while flying in formation on October 2, 2002, at Dabolim Naval Air Base in Goa. This happened during the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the base and resulted in the death of all twelve occupants.

Irrefutably, there is a veiled danger associated with an air show. This fact could be better understood by considering the number of air crashes that took place around the world during this 21st century — so far, 126 air crashes occurred during the air shows since 2000. The first ever public international air show was held in Reims from August 22, 1909, to August 29, 1909. Starting with this, the air shows have been transformed into a variety of aerobatic demonstrations.

In general, an air show, which is also referred to as air fair or air tattoo, is a public event wherein aircraft are displayed. They often take account of aerobatic demonstrations. Of course, there are a number of air shows that take place only with aircraft parked on the ground, which is free from all sorts of aerobatic demonstrations — called static air shows. There are numerous purposes behind conducting the air shows. They differ in their objectives — from a business venture to activity in support of local, national or military contributions.

As far as military organisations are concerned, they often organise air shows at military air bases. They are held merely as an exercise of public relations, intended to show gratitude to the local community, apart from promoting military careers and raising the standards of the military. Air shows, in general, are restricted by a number of factors that include weather conditions and visibility factors.

As a matter of safety, most aviation authorities have set standard rules. Also, the guidelines on the minimum display heights and criteria for differing conditions have been formulated. Of course, the pilots and organisers have additionally been imposed restrictions on local airspace.

Even after taking adequate precautions, air shows may present some risk to spectators and aviators. The 1988 disaster that happened at Ramstein Air Base in Germany has led to 70 deaths while the 2002 air show crash at Sknyliv in Ukraine has resulted in 77 deaths. These are the accidents of high intensity with a large loss of life that ever happened in the history of international air shows. Bowing to many accidents that are taking place during air shows, all aviation authorities around the world have set many rules and guidelines for those running and participating in air displays. For example, it is mandatory to uphold an adequate distance between display and spectators. Such rules govern the distance from the crowds that aircraft must fly.

Despite many display rules and guidelines that are in force, accidents have continued to happen. Unlike normal flying, the air shows involve flying with a precision. Timing is the crucial factor that governs the success of an air show — and for this to happen, so much of practice is required. Due to the increase in the number of accidents during air shows, organisations like the International Council of Air Shows must intensify deliberations to arrive at a concrete measure to prevent such accidents.

(The author is an Air Veteran, a mass communicator and an author of more than 10 mass media books)


The need for perpetual policy on counterterrorism

Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi  |  Updated On:  22 Feb 2019 5:30 AM

At this moment, there is no doubt that the blood of every true Indian is boiling after the recent terrorist attack. On February 14, a convoy of vehicles carrying CRPF personnel was attacked by a vehicle-borne suicide bomber at Lethpora in the Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on the National Highway. As many as 46 CRPF personnel were killed in this attack. Besides, many people sustained severe injuries. Beginning with the 2016 terrorist attack on Pathankot Air Base, which took place on January 02, 2016, India has lost as many as 169 soldiers in the terrorist attacks alone.

Whenever an untoward terrorist attack takes place, right from the political parties to the media agencies, everyone expresses a great matter of concern. However, it is a matter of jiffy affair. A number of military, police, and intelligence organisations within the country contribute to the exertions of counterterrorism in India. Such organisations include special security forces, police forces of respective states, and paramilitary forces.

The armed forces usually play a part in counterterrorism operations as the last resort. However, in Jammu and Kashmir, the Army has been involved in an unswerving role. Dating back to India’s independence and separation of Pakistan from India in 1947, Jammu and Kashmir, the northern tip of India’s territory, has been the hub of a territorial dispute. The history reveals the fact that the disagreement between India and Pakistan has resulted in a number of military confrontations. Palpably, beginning from the late 1980s, the region has been the home to a number of militant groups looking for the liberation for the region.

Taking the statistics of the last fifteen years or so into account, this unending fight has given rise to two-thirds of entire deaths from the terrorist attacks in India. According to many defence analysts, the government’s reaction to terrorist attacks has been episodic. It has been the case that the government seems to take temporary measures soon after a terroristic attack and forgets the issue, soon after.

There is no second opinion that India lacks a comprehensible strategic response to terrorism — there is a need to have an all-inclusive code to counterterrorism for the reason that most of our reactions are imprudent. For example, Operation Parakram, which was carried out in the wake of December 13, 2001, Parliament attack was concluded on October 16, 2002, without any major achievements.

Yes, it is high time that India should have a perpetual policy to overcome the terrorist attacks. If we clearly look into the matter, India does not have any antiterrorism legislation similar to that of the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001” (USA Patriot Act 2001). This act even takes into account potential money laundering and financing of terrorism — and seems to be all-inclusive in nature. India, in 2002, passed the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA), which replaced the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (POTO) of 2001, and the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA). This Act extended the government’s powers in combating terrorism.

However, within a short term, certain measures such as the power to detain terror suspects in custody without bringing them to trial, met with oppositions, resulting in the repealing of the Act. This point clearly indicates the political influences in the vital decision-making process in India. Attack after attack is being taken place in India, resulting in the fatalities of many soldiers.

The nation as a whole condemns such monstrous attacks. However, in actuality, the loss is experienced all the way through only by the families of martyrs. There will be no meaning to the sacrifices of the soldiers and their families if we don’t win over the terrorism. It looks as if the authorities are simply icing an injury without taking any serious action to curb terrorism, permanently. There is a great need that the sovereign authorities should grasp the hostile effect of the recent rise in terrorism. Due to terrorism, in addition to the direct losses, there will also be many indirect losses to the nation. For all these reasons, India needs to have a perpetual policy to curb terrorism, instead of considering the kneejerk actions — the impact of which is not seen over a period of time. For this to happen, keeping aside all the political interests, each and every political party has to join hands.

The nation as a whole is pacific and makes everybody enjoy their own lives. The diligent efforts put in by the Indian Armed Forces and Paramilitary Forces are the basis for such a wonderful life being enjoyed by the entire nation. They strive round the clock to safeguard our boundaries, our skies, and our oceans to ensure a peaceful life for all of us. Yes, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea to be a soldier! Nonetheless, we can all come together to support the families of the soldiers who laid down their lives for the sake of the nation. Jai Hind!!

The marvellous scientific bestowals of Galileo

Shattering many unsubstantiated beliefs into pieces, the 16th and 17th centuries have unparalleled the scientific way of learning, which was associated with many inventions and discoveries that led to the Scientific Revolution Shattering many unsubstantiated beliefs into pieces, the 16th and 17th centuries have unparalleled the scientific way of learning, which was associated with many inventions and discoveries that led to the Scientific Revolution.

It is accepted all over the world that the Scientific Revolution had begun with the Copernican Revolution and concluded with the grand synthesis of Isaac Newton’s Principia. No doubt that the world saw many pioneers during this period — of which — Galileo Galilei was one of the forerunners. Also Read – Renamed fake accounts spreading political bias on FB Advertise With Us Galileo was born on February 15, 1564, at Pisa in Italy. He turned into a gifted lutenist. As a youngster, he took up the priesthood.

Even though Galileo solemnly considered the priesthood, he had obliged his father’s request and got enrolled for a medical degree in 1580 at the University of Pisa. By chance, in 1581, Galileo noticed a swinging chandelier. He experienced that the air fluxes shifted about to swing in larger and smaller arcs, in accordance with the swinging chandelier. This resulted in him, comparing the oscillations of a chandelier with the heartbeats.

Galileo observed that the chandelier took the same time to swing hither and thither, irrespective of the distance it was swinging. This observation ignited him to work on pendulums. Nearly a century later, his experiments, further undertaken by Christiaan Huygens, yielded the results to create an accurate clock that used the tautochrone nature of oscillations of a pendulum.

Accidentally, Galileo once happened to attend a lecture on geometry. This made him convince his disinclined father to allow him to study mathematics and natural philosophy in preference to medicine. During this period only, he created a thermoscope — a forerunner of the thermometer. Of course, using the expansion and contraction of air in a bulb to move water in an attached tube, Galileo fabricated a thermometer, somewhere around 1593. Additionally, Galileo studied disegno, a subject related to fine arts. In 1588, Galileo achieved the position of an instructor in the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno in Florence. Far along, he assumed various positions in numerous universities of that time. Of many original scientific contributions of Galileo, his contributions to the science of motion through an innovative combination of experiment and mathematics are commendable.

Galileo was ever ready to change his views in accordance with his observations. Thus, he was one of the first modern thinkers to evidently state that the laws of nature are mathematical. His mathematical analyses manifested a step ahead towards the ultimate separation of science from both philosophy and religion — this was rather a major development in human thought. Another significant contribution made by Galileo was — he exhibited a contemporary appreciation for the appropriate link between mathematics and both theoretical and experimental physics. In order to perform his experiments, standards of length and time were established by Galileo. This was intended to compare measurements made on different days and in different laboratories in a reproducible manner — reliability could thus be achieved in this way.

It is often believed that Galileo invented the telescope. However, it is not true. The most primitive works on telescope were evidently undertaken by German-Dutch lens maker Hans Lippershey. Though the original inventor is unknown, it is a historical fact that Hans Lippershey applied for the first patent. Nonetheless, Galileo was one of the pioneers to use the telescope for his astronomical observations. In 1609, Galileo made a telescope with approximately three times magnification. His further experiments resulted in the fabrication of improved versions of telescopes with about thirty times magnification.

The observer, using a Galilean telescope, could see magnified and straight images on the Earth. Apart from physics, Galileo made a number of contributions to various fields of engineering. He invented a geometric and the military compass — a very appropriate and useful device for gunners and surveyors. He also discovered something new and very significant concept — satellites of a satellite. This is about the celestial bodies orbiting a body orbiting another. According to this concept, the Earth is a satellite of the Sun; and the Moon is the Satellite of the Earth. In other words, here, the Moon is the satellite of a satellite.

Some other important contributions of Galileo to observational astronomy include the phases of Venus, the four largest satellites of Jupiter, the observation of Saturn and the analysis of sunspots — the interpretations made through a telescopic observation. Despite the fact that Galileo made many scientific contributions, he had also been controversial at that time over heliocentrism.

By 1615, it was proclaimed that Galileo and his followers were endeavouring to reinterpret the Bible. Galileo, the pioneer who is aptly known as the father of observational astronomy, the father of modern physics, the father of the scientific method, and the father of modern science, categorically deserves a commemoration on his birth anniversary for all his marvellous scientific bestowals.

Urgent need to replace ageing aircraft

By Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi | THE HANS INDIA |    Feb 07,2019 , 11:52 PM IST      

Urgent need to replace ageing aircraft

Urgent need to replace ageing aircraftNo sooner the Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft crashed on February 01, 2019 the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has started facing the bank of accountability cloud. The two pilots, Squadron Leader Samir Abrol and Squadron Leader Siddhartha Negi, who were part of Indian Air Force’s Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), were killed in an air crash on that fateful day. 
Over a period of time, the aircraft crash rate has surmounted in India. According to a report on air crashes in India, which took the statistics from 2011 to 2017 into account, the Armed Forces of India have recorded approximately 70 aircraft accidents that resulted in more than 80 causalities. All most all the Court of Inquiry reports identified two major reasons behind these crashes — technical defects and human error.
Soon after the recent fatal air crash, many reactions have inundated from eminent defence personalities. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has been blamed mostly for the abrupt fatal crash of Mirage-2000 fighter jet. Palpably, all the fingers have been pointing towards the HAL. Thus, the eminent Defence PSU (DPSU) has been fully enclosed by the accountability cloud. There is no doubt that based on the previous statistics the crash was likely a technical issue. Nonetheless, without having a comprehensive Court of Inquiry (CoI) report in hand, HAL cannot be blamed just like that.
If we look into the history and growth of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the company can be considered one and the same as the progression of Aeronautical industry in India. Hindustan Aircraft Limited was established on December 23, 1940, and has been into force for more than 78 years in the service of the nation. 
After India’s independence, Aeronautics India Limited (AIL) was established in August 1963 as a fully owned company of the Government of India. Its main aim was to undertake the manufacture of the MIG-21 aircraft under licence. Even before AIL was incorporated, there was an Aircraft Manufacturing Depot (AMD) which was set up in 1960. The purpose of this Air Force unit was to produce the Airframe for the HS-748 transport aircraft. This Air Force unit was transferred to AIL in June 1964. 
Subsequently, the Indian Government had decided to integrate Hindustan Aircraft Limited, with AIL with an idea to conserve resources in the field of aviation. The consolidation of the two companies i.e. Hindustan Aircraft Limited and Aeronautics India Limited was taken place on Oct 01, 1964, by an Amalgamation order issued by the Government of India. 
The resulting organisation was named Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). This historical merger supported the activities of all the aircraft manufacturing units to be planned and coordinated in the most efficient and economical manner.
Based on the aforesaid facts, HAL should be considered as an organisation of great stature. Most of the employees who work on aircraft at HAL are the ex-employees of Indian Air Force. So, for obvious reasons, the technicians working at HAL are ultra skilled with a vast experience of hand on the job. 
However, at a time when the aircraft crash rate is transcending, there arises an ill-omened need to analyse the two major reasons behind the crashes — technical defects and human error.
It is said rightly that nothing is eternal in this world. So, it should be very well agreed that every aircraft has to be out-dated when it cannot give its best. Normally, an airframe life for a fighter aircraft lies between 2500 to 8000 hours of flying. The airframe life varies between the cited values, depending upon the dissimilar design objectives and life expectancy objectives of each aircraft. 
Though the airframe life is fixed to a certain value, some aircraft would have to be obsolete even before their airframe life is touched. This could be due to the substantial and optimal use of the aircraft. If not taken seriously, failures may result in structural damage, which is beyond economical repair. 
Under certain circumstances, when the aircraft reaches its life expectancy, making the fretful aircraft obsolete and inducting a new aircraft in place of the obsolete aircraft is the one and the only option a country has. However, many countries opt to keep the obsolete aircraft in force through a life extension programme. Extending the life of an aircraft beyond the life expectancy should be the last option as evidently it results in air crashes. Many numbers of MIG-21 crashes has already proven the aforesaid fact.

In concluding words, it could be rightly said that the accident prevention programmes are giving additional thrust to find risk-prone areas specific to the aircraft fleets and operational environment to ensure safe practices and procedures. However, the lack of an intensive modernisation drive to replace ageing aircraft still remains a major problem.
(Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi – An Air Veteran & A Mass Communicator — Author of More than 10 Mass Media Books)

Bharat Ratna vs Param Vir Chakra

By Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi | THE HANS INDIA |    Jan 31,2019 , 11:37 PM IST      

Bharat Ratna vs Param Vir Chakra

Bharat Ratna vs Param Vir Chakra Bharat Ratna which literally means the Jewel of India is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India. It was instituted on January 2, 1954, with the very aim of conferring it in recognition of exceptional service or performance of the highest order, without any sort of distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex. 
The award was originally limited to achievements in the arts, literature, science and public services but the government expanded the criteria to include any field of human endeavour with a December 2011 amendment. Bharat Ratna recipients rank seventh in the Indian order of precedence but are constitutionally prohibited from using the award name as a title.
Though Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian honour of the state, it has been surrounded by some controversies too. In the past, when the news began making rounds that the government has decided to recommend the name of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, many views in various forms have started vacillating around.
While some people discoursed that Bharat Ratna has become a watered down decoration and it makes no meaning to confer the same upon the great freedom fighter like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, few others harangued that it was too late to consider Netaji for such an honour. In fact, in the year 1992 itself, the then union government decided to confer the award posthumously on Subhash Chandra Bose but met with controversy. 
Due to the debate surrounding Netaji’s death, the posthumous mention of Bose was much criticised, and also his family refused to accept the award. Following a 1997 Supreme Court decision, it was promulgated that Bose’s award was cancelled. In Indian history, it is the only time when the award was announced but hasn’t conferred.
Even in the recent episode, with the tittle-tattle around the proposal of Bharat Ratna to be conferred on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a majority of his family members censured of the idea and not accepted the proposal. Netaji’s grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose said that Netaji had been missing since 1945. If he has to be awarded Bharat Ratna posthumously, it should be said that he is dead. In this milieu, he insisted on the evidence for his death. He further said that the best way to honour Netaji was to declassify government files that could reveal the truth behind his disappearance. 
Many eminent people from all walks of life opined in the past that the value of Bharat Ratna has ebbed over a period of time, and also spoken out that it is just the political influence that fetches the highest honour and not the services or performance as aimed while instituting the award. Of course, conjointly there have also been many views supporting the apt selection of recipients. 
From the other end, Param Vir Chakra (PVC) which literally means Wheel of the Ultimate Brave is India’s highest military honour conferred for the highest degree of courage or altruism in the presence of the enemy. It can be and often has been awarded posthumously. It is equivalent to the Medal of Honour in the United States, and the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom. 
The PVC was instituted on  January 26, 1950, the Republic day of India, by the first President of India Dr Babu Rajendra Prasad, to be effective from August 15, 1947 — the Independence Day of India. Major Somnath Sharma was the first recipient of PVC. The PVC can be awarded to personnel of all ranks from all branches of the Indian military. Like other military honours, even PVC can be awarded for the second time. Nevertheless, there has not even been a single case of such kind, so far.
The Ashoka Chakra is the peacetime equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra and is awarded for the most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or altruism other than in the face of the enemy in a war. The decoration may be awarded either for military or civilian personnel and may be awarded posthumously.
Though Param Vir Chakra was instituted prior to the institution of Bharat Ratna, the number of awardees of PVC is far less than those conferred with the Bharat Ratna. The standards considered for awarding PVC is evident from the fact that in 87 years history of Indian Air Force (came into force on Oct 08, 1932), Flying Officer Nirmal Jit Singh Sekhon, stands to be the only person to get awarded the Param Vir Chakra, posthumously, in 1971.
At a time when some kind of denigration is attached to Bharat Ratna, there is a definite need to reinstate the significance of the honour as desired by the entire nation with the true purpose of instituting the award in the backdrop of the very purpose of instituting the award.   

Why this seasonal patriotism?

By Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi | THE HANS INDIA |    Jan 24,2019 , 11:54 PM IST      

Why this seasonal patriotism?

Why this seasonal patriotism?
On the eve of Republic Day celebrations, persistently, the only inquiry that has been disconcerting me is — why do most Indians become patriots during selected few occasions? The crux of patriotism is fully recognising and wilfully participating in that network of affinity, paying very close attention and constantly responding to a range of issues such as Swachh Bharat, corruption free India, and green India — the needs of the hour!
Patriotism is very rich in meaning. On the whole, it means enlightening attachment to one’s native soil that ultimately leads for devotion to one’s nation. It is not restricted just only to some extrinsic values but also to many intrinsic values — of course, such values should be gripped by each and every citizen. However, do we Indians actually have such a feeling within us? India proudly claims to be the nation with the plurality as her nature. Unity in diversity has been the slogan which we often find making circles in all nooks and corners of the world. Do we really maintain such a spirit at all times? Or is it seasonal?
Indubitably, every Indian exhibits patriotism on two occasions — on August 15 and January 26, each year. Songs like “Mere Desh Ki Dharti” reverberates almost every street in town, symbolically spilling seasonal patriotism. At this point, a few questions that arise in my mind are: whether patriotism has any peripheral limits? Does patriotism is a trait with a narrow role?
Truthfully, patriotism should come from ‘within’ and not ‘without’. Patriotism ensures the stability of the entirety in any given nation. I for myself consider patriotism as doing one’s duties in a manner of true letter and spirit. It is a matter of great concern that even after more than seven decades of independence, India is still categorised as a third world country — a nation that is still developing! 
Bestowing to John F. Kennedy’s thought on patriotism, one should ask only “what you can do for your country” — as if “country” were the master, and “you” and I and all of us merely servants. Most of the influential personalities of developed countries realise the importance of patriotism. Just for that matter, the former US President Barack Obama once said that loving one’s country means accepting one’s responsibility to do his part to change it. Therefore, patriotism is nothing but the grand inherent apostle that prompts a person to serve his nation — at any given time. 
Out of the numerous connotations arise ideals and institutions. Nevertheless, these ideals and institutions are valuable only insofar as they support the fulfilment of each and everything. The nation’s ideals and institutions exist merely to serve people. So, ideologically in any given nation, true patriots do not serve some imagined unchallengeable unit called nation or country; rather, they serve the needs and aspirations of every person. There is a need to self-examine whether we can be called factual patriots! 
Every year the Republic Day is celebrated most spectacularly in New Delhi, the capital of India. The main attraction of the Republic Day is an impressive and magnificent parade that puts forward the military powers and cultural affluence of the country apart from the patriotic vehemence of the Indians. An amazing fly-past by the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and Indian Navy, rounds off this majestic celebration. A similar thing happens every year on August 15 too.
It is a matter of fact that soldiers, the unsung heroes, are praised only in times of dire straits, in times of need, and in times of natural calamities like the most recent calamity of floods in Kerala. We all enjoy watching the spectacular parades of Indian Armed Forces; tableaus of various states and departments; cultural programs on these occasions. But, we never realise the pain behind those spectacular shows. The message conveyed through all these programmes is rather short-lived. Just peep into these shows with an intention to know what do they really convey. They all deliver just one message, “Patriotism”.
Had we been really patriotic, India could have accomplished laurels. It is superfluous to question who is responsible for such trounce. But, how should we overcome this trounce should be the question of the hour. The ultimate answer is — the true spirit of patriotism — doing one’s duty perfectly towards the nation! The true spirit of democracy lies in patriotism alone. It should be everyone’s responsibility to make Mahatma Gandhiji’s dream — after attaining Swaraj (independence), now it’s time to attain Suraj (good governance) — a reality. Let’s not forget the words of Elmer Davis, according to whom a nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. Jai Hind!! 

The enduring relevance of retail politics

By Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi | THE HANS INDIA |    Jan 17,2019 , 10:57 PM IST      

The enduring relevance of retail politics

The enduring relevance of retail politics
Even in this era of unregulated campaign sorties and mass media ad campaigns worth million dollars, it is worth noticing that some of the candidates are still making the struggle to convey their message to all fragments of their constituencies, in person. Of course, it is worth noting the value of first-hand meetings with voters.
Yes, indubitably, politics is the decisive game of sales — selling an idea to the public while the politician makes an attempt to sell oneself. In this process, there arises a need for what is called retail politics. It is a style of political campaigning in which the candidate attends local events in order to target voters on a small-scale or individual basis.
According to Judith Trent and Robert Friedenberg, the two political communication scholars of America in Political Campaign Communication, retail politics is all about direct contact — meeting and talking to electorates to request their part for the candidature support.
Such an acquiescent method of retail politics has two major compensations. Firstly, upon meeting a political candidate who could convince them more through a face-to-face conversation, the electorates would definitely feel more affianced and they are more likely to be expected to support the candidate. Besides, as the retail politics sanctions more interaction, there would be a chance to the voters to get their doubts cleared up. It results in mutual engagement — as a result, the voters are made to feel that their concerns do matter.
The present-day politics demands careful targeting of voters in marginal seats. The rise of the mass media and the integrated, proficient election campaigns are now vibrant as they are appealing to the majority of the electorate. In this scenario, retail politics may seem like an element of a golden age of political campaigning, which could be kept off the record as antediluvian. 
However, the impact of retail politics cannot be just shelved. At its heart, retail politics is all about visibility and availability. In actual fact, most voters will never have a chance to meet their local MLA or MP candidates. When they meet, the voters get a chance to form an opinion about the candidates. All such estimations about the personality and values of candidates would grow into the carrots of their electoral choice.
Additionally, the personal engagement privileged by retail politics has continuously worked for a two-fold drive. There is always a secondary onlooker while connecting the candidate with a distinct voter. Those bystanders could be other voters who are present in the scene, those who hear about the meeting through word of mouth, and, more and more, the wide-ranging media audience.
The unwitting disclosure of retail politics is that contender politicians speak directly to voters. They also retort the questions posed by the masses in ways that make sense to them. This has an advantage. The success mantra for any politicians is — he should know how to sell himself up on the doorstep of each and every voter. There is no doubt that the results obtained through retail politics are immense. The best example for this is of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s current Hard Choices book tour.  Another example for retail politics in the local set-up is — YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s 341-day walkathon called Praja Sankalpa Yatra. It could be seen as a long-drawn-out retail political campaign.
Retail politics, the art of selling oneself, customarily takes many forms — rapid campaigns through road shows, speeches at local community centres and political pitches at religious places, universities, etc. This also includes door-to-door campaigning. John F Kennedy is known as the King of Retail Politics. According to the Times-Tribune, Kennedy visited Pennsylvania as many as five times for campaigning when he was trying to win the state in the 1960 presidential elections. Besides, he made manifold stops in 25 distinct counties — many of those stops were at local shopping malls.
By motive, a political campaign is a systematised exertion that attempts to power the decision-making process inside a definite crowd. The political campaigns every so often symbolise electoral campaigns in democracies. Perceptibly, the representatives are chosen or plebiscites are decided in this process. 
It is the message that motivates the voter. Customarily, the message of the campaign contains the ideas that the contender wants to deliver to the voters. The inkling behind this is to get the support of those who agree with these ideas, thereby, getting sustenance to run for a political position. The message being conveyed often consists of several talking points about their future plans — the policy issues. Besides, the points abridge the main ideas of the campaign. For this entire process, retail politics could also become an ideal platform. 

Understanding Nomophobia

By Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi | THE HANS INDIA |    Jan 11,2019 , 10:49 PM IST      

Understanding Nomophobia

Understanding Nomophobia
The advent of smartphones has not only strewn the social media but also popularised relative new blend of words. Nomophobia is one such new word made up of syllables “no mobile phone phobia”. The term was coined in 2010 in the course of a study by the UK Post Office, which appointed YouGov, a research organisation. The study was envisioned to look at the anxieties haunted by mobile phone users. 
There is an alarming rate of increase in people suffering from nomophobia — especially the youth. The people are not even aware of the fact that they are the victims of such an obsession. In simple words, nomophobia is nothing but a growing irrational fear among the people — the fear of being without a mobile phone, or beyond mobile phone interaction. 
Nomophobia exposes two essential features — first: the feelings of anxiety or distress that people experience when they do not have mobile phones; second: the degree of dependence on smartphones to complete even simple tasks and needs such as staying connected with people to get informed. 
Without a doubt, nomophobia is far afield in both developed and third-world nations for the reason that smartphones have increasingly become the tool being used to steer and systematise our daily lives. For each and everything i.e. from scheduling tasks to getting directions while driving; and from communicating with people to getting assistance that we need, we have become pure dependents of the smartphone. 
This dependence has important psychological concerns. The captioned study by the UK Post Office found that about 58 per cent of men and 47 per cent of women suffer from nomophobia.  Furthermore, 9 per cent of people feel stressed when their mobile phones are off. This fact has been reiterated by the Psychology Today magazine.
In the recent times, on September 14, 2018, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshall B.S. Dhanoa, has berated that everybody appears to be spending long hours on social media, late in the nights. According to him most flight briefings, sometimes, are held as early as 6 am and pilots who attend the briefings haven’t had enough sleep. In this background, he said that spending long hours in the night on social media is leading to IAF pilots being sleep deprived.
The impact of smartphones on sleep patterns is a topic of great attention, given the adverse effects of sleep deprivation on health that adds to many workplace calamities. If certain calamities are limited to self, many others would affect others. The smartphone effect resulting in sleep deprivation is not only limited to professionals but also teenagers. The youngsters are losing sleep because of the long hours of spending on a smartphone during the nights.

In a sense, nomophobia and sleep disorders are interrelated. The recent development of smartphone applications seems to unavoidably increase the users’ attachment. It has become so — because — the technology and related services have become progressively customised and made to order. Both, nomophobia and the resulting sleep disorders, suggests the very fact that users should be mindful — not to become excessively dependent on smartphones while benefiting from the elegance of the technology.
According to a senior author Dr Jean-Philippe Chaput of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, sleep is an essential component of healthy development and an important contributor to physical and mental health. Even so, insufficient sleep has become prevalent among adolescents over the last few decades. 
While there have been many reasons for insufficient sleep among young people, the recent observation reveals the fact that smartphone use was associated with greater odds of short sleep duration in a dose-response manner. Importantly, significant associations were found when smartphone use exceeded the approved duration of usage, suggesting that even this level of smartphone use may be deleteriously associated with sleep duration. 
They say, “Too much of anything is good for nothing!” For this, smartphone access for longer hours is not an exception. The contemporary world situation is changing the way smartphones are being used. A recent study exposes the fact that 65 per cent of people sleep with their handsets next to them on the bed. Furthermore, more than 50 per cent of people admitted that they never switch off their phones. These results clearly indicate that people are ready to skip a meal but cannot stay without a smartphone in their hands, even for a while.
A range of studies has explored links between high mobile phone dependency and diminished sleep quality, depression, lower rates of socialisation in teenagers. Besides, there is an irrational fear, within the people, of being without a mobile phone — nomophobia! This problem, of course, has self-discipline as the only remedy!

The trailblazer of communication for visually-impaired

By Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi | THE HANS INDIA |    Jan 03,2019 , 11:41 PM IST      

“Access to communication in the widest sense is access to knowledge.” —Louis Braille

The Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual.” The phrase social animal justly conveys the very meaning that human beings cannot live in isolation. For being social, human beings need to enter into some or other kind of relationship with their fellow beings. It is the ability of humans to communicate with each other that makes humans different from other creatures of the earth. 
Communication is the act of passing on information from one individual or group to another through the use of conjointly agreed signs, symbols, and semiotic rules. There is no second thought that without the ability to communicate, a person drops access to the information across-the-board. The five sense organs — eyes, ear, nose, tongue, and skin — play a crucial role in the entire process of human communication, of which eyes are most vital. The situation of the loss of Sense of Sight amounts to the nearly complete beating of access to non-verbal communication.
While the printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid of 15th century, the visually impaired people had no access to the printed form of communication for almost four decades. As a 12-year-old boy, Louis Braille, who was born on January 4, 1809, has changed the world of reading and writing for the sightless. Of course, he too was visionless. For being the architect of Braille system and as an aide-mémoire of the prominence of accessibility and liberation for those who are unsighted, every year January 4th is celebrated as World Braille Day.
Louis Braille was not visionless by birth. However, he became blind after a childhood accident. Unlike many people, he got to grips with his own way of living. Based on a system of writing developed by Charles Barbier, Braille created the system which is popularly known as Braille system, when he was barely 15 years old. Thus, by developing a system for the blind, Braille became the pioneer of communication for the visually-impaired. He had drawn inspiration from an unsuccessful military night writing code developed by Charles Barbier. The Braille system enabled blind people to read independently for the first time, and it was extensively adopted. 
As a very long phase over and done, as a whole, over the years Braille was tweaked to make it serene to read — now it is used all over the world. In a similar vein, the media through which communication takes place has transformed in many ways. Accordingly, the communication channels for the visually-impaired have also been transforming. Right now, the Braille system has been adopted in many ways. For example, on June 06, 2018, easing of challenges faced by the visually challenged in using Indian Banknotes, the Reserve Bank of India has opened up new panoramas for making Indian banknotes more perceptible for the visually challenged.  
In this technology-driven world, with the help of a Braille keypad, computer keying in Braille is also made possible. Alternatively, the same thing can be done using the regular computer keyboard where specific keys are defined for Braille use — this is known as direct entry of Braille. A different way of achieving Braille on a computer is to input text into the computer using the regular computer keyboard. The text is then translated into Braille through the use of translation software. In order to assist the unsighted users to read the text on the computer screen with a speech synthesiser or Braille display, there are a few software programs called screen readers — the interface between the operating system of a computer and the user. 
All the above-mentioned communication advances have Braille system as their base. It is widely believed that Braille literateness is an important factor for achieving equal opportunities for the visually-impaired. Despite the fact that the sightless people can read and write, provisions are not made at many of the everyday establishments like railway stations, banks, hospitals, etc — they aren’t equipped with any signboards for the assistance of visually challenged. 
It evidently indicates that the visionless are not offered equal prospects. The precise objective of World Braille Day is to spread awareness about Braille and other accessible forms of communication. On World Braille Day, let’s hope all the everyday establishments would strive and make things accessible for everyone — including the visually-impaired. 

The stifling effect of alternate banking on bank strikes

By Dr Suman Kumar Kasturi | THE HANS INDIA |    Dec 28,2018 , 11:43 PM IST      


In an attempt to gain a concession or two from their employer, in general, as a matter of course, the employees protest in the form of a strike — a refusal to work organised by a body of employees. As far as India is concerned, unlike the U.S., the right to strike is not recognised principally by the law. Just by legalising certain activities of a registered trade union in the continuance of a trade dispute which otherwise a breach of common economic law, the Trade Union Act 1926, for the first time, delivered limited right to strike. 
It entails — in line with the Constitution of the Republic of India — the right to strike is not an absolute right. Still, it streams from the fundamental right to form a union. Just like all other fundamental rights are subject to some reasonable restrictions, the case of trade unions giving a call to the workers to go on strike is also subjected to some sensible restrictions.
Bowing to all such utilitarian precincts, usually, the bank unions give a call of the strike, well in advance. A million Indian bank employees have been going on strike to get their legitimate rights achieved, at regular intervals of time. Nonetheless, the effectuality of these strikes has been a question of concern in the framework of the availability of alternate banking channels to the customers of the demonstrating banks. 
Analysing the customer base of Indian Banks, in accordance with the Avaya Banking Survey of 2017 that covered 5,004 panellists in some countries including India, it becomes evident that 51 per cent of Indians use online banking channels while 26 per cent of Indian customers prefer to access services through their bank’s website. These figures denote that reasonably a good number of customers prefer to use online banking channels.
Likewise, as revealed by a study on alternative services in promoting cashless economy after demonetisation in India, a majority of the people agree that e-wallet service offered by many agencies has an inflated potential space in India. Indubitably, many e-wallet service providers have turned the worse demonetisation situation to their advantage — it is evident all the way through. For example: in Hyderabad, almost all wayside tea vending stalls have a display board stating, “Paytm Accepted Here”.  
The promotion of digital banking channels like UPI, which has been undertaken by the Indian Banks, has also been proven successful in India. To the degree that the NCPI statistics on UPI in November 2018 are taken into account, there are 128 banks that were live on UPI with a volume of 524.94 million users, who have done business transactions worth Rs 82,232.21cr during the month. 
Apart from the net banking, e-wallet services, and other digital banking services, the customers have plentiful other options like Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Bunch Note Acceptors (BNAs), Passbook Printers, Credit/Debit Cards, etc. All these facilities would nearly serve the bank customers during the strike period.
Then again, if we examine the behaviour of the customers of the Indian Banks, excluding the business class, most of the customers visit the banks hardly once in a fortnight. A timely call given for the strike by the unions would definitely alert the customers to get their impending jobs done well before the strike day. 
Beyond doubt, together, all these alternative banking channels have been making the strike undertaken by the bank employees, ineffectual to a convinced extent. Categorically, this issue turns out to be a major concern for the banks in achieving their demands.
It is a matter of point that the bankers go on strike while sacrificing their wages for the period of the strike, without engendering a greater impact due to the availability of alternate banking channels. Just by considering a mediocre forego of one day’s salary by all the one million Indian bank employees @ Rs 2000 (a rough average salary of a bank employee) per day, it is implicit that the bank employees have been fighting for their genuine demands by sacrificing Rs 20 crore per each day of the strike. 
In conclusion, it should be agreed that the banks support all financial welfare schemes undertaken by the government. Of course, the banks play a crucial role in monetary missions like demonetisation too. The role played by the banks in achieving targets set by the government is ever commendable. However, the bankers are becoming squashed in both by the customers and the competent authorities. In such a situation, there is no doubt that the bankers go on strike to achieve their genuine demands.