You are aware an island journalist named Mr Zubair Ahmed has been taken into police custody yesterday night reportedly for a tweet that read as below :

Can someone explain why families are placed under home quarantine for speaking over phone with Covid patients?

In my wildest dreams, I can’t imagine Corona Virus could spread through phone calls. But when news of persons put on quarantine for speaking over phone with covid positive patient comes, what would anyone do? Seek clarity. This is exactly what the journalist did.

In fact he was not the only one. A local daily reported a family of four from Haddo, a town near Port Blair was put in home quarantine after a member from the family spoke over phone with a corona positive relative. Since physical movement is not allowed in lockdown, it is obvious for relatives and friends to call each other over phone. That is how one keeps in touch and motivates each other at the hour of crisis. Everyone does that.

Also protocol doesn’t allow identifying a Covid-19 patient, then how will anyone know the one he/she is calling is covid positive. It is logic defying insanity to make phone calls the basis for putting someone under quarantine. At the most it could be a tool for contact tracing, but to make phone calls the basis for putting someone under quarantine is unprecedented.

For the first time in this lockdown, I had sleepless night thinking if one can be arrested for putting out such a simple tweet in a civilized manner, what lies ahead?

In a free country, questions are asked for larger good, concerned authority answers them and issues are laid to rest. That is how democracy is known to function. But in this instant, without answering the question, the journalist has been arrested. It appears, an attempt is being made to trample democracy, muzzle citizen’s right to freedom of speech and create a chilling effect. I condemn such police action and demand all charges against Mr Zubair Ahmed be withdrawn.

(From someone who does not want to be identified.

No, not because he/she is covid positive, you know why?)

- Dr. N Francis Xavier

The sad news of the passing of Shri Ishwari Prasad Gupta, former Lt. Governor of the islands came to me this morning, and filled me with great sorrow. Having worked with him from the first day of his swearing in till the last I have many memories.  I have never seen a person of such humility, kindness and concern for fellow human beings. He was a most benevolent administrator who put the welfare of the people as his first priority. Many welfare measures he started in the islands are bearing fruit today.  He was a great patriot at heart.  He ensured that the sacrifices of the freedom fighters are chronicled properly and remembered by the posterity. Starting his career as a lecturer he had great attachment towards JNRM. He took personal interest to see that the college expanded, provided with a playground and introduced new courses. On a personal level he would always consult me in academic and literary matters. Preparation of the booklet on the visit of President K.R. Naryanan was one such task. He was a great penman, although he did not show any desire for publishing. Finally his autobiographical work came out a couple of years ago describing his journey as an IAS officer. Full of humour and written in a candid style it reflects the personality of Shri IP. Gupta. He is one of the last of the civil servants who took over after the departure of British and ran this country during the period of transition. For me it is a great personal loss. 

May his soul rest in eternal peace.

By Tahira

A school is the place where a child steps in to function without any special comforts, which are readily made available for him at home. This leads to expectations, excitement and anxiety in a child. A home is an environment where a child is provided with amenities like television, tablet pc, phone or any other sophisticated gadgets/ toys for his comfort. In today’s era, a child tends to look forward to school with the same kind of comfort in mind. The first impression is usually the last impression and if the school atmosphere fails to match his expectations, he withdraws himself from the teaching-learning process. Therefore it is a collective responsibility of both school and parents at this stage, to help the child strike a balance between his comforts and teaching-learning process of the school. Let us here try to analyze the psychology of a child surrounded with latest gadgets. Let us try to understand, what exactly is required for an overall development of a child. Is it the latest gadgets around, the best of the schools or the parents who play key role in shaping up of a child?

While, technology on the brighter side has eased our lives yet on the darker side, it has revolutionized our ancient lifestyle, which we have been leading since time immemorial. Children now-a-days rely more on technology for majority of their play, imagination and creativity. Latest gadgets sometimes are ready with answers for which the child had to think in his own way. And this kills the process of imagination and creativity in a child. This is also one of the reasons why children many at times end up with increasing physical, psychological and behavioral disorders. This does not mean that children should be restricted to learn the advancement around them but we need to ensure that whatever they learn at the initial stages are strictly under adult supervision, be it home or at school.

Technology today has restricted the movements of children. They do not get a chance to learn and be corrected by Mother Nature. The child is either not allowed to, or sometimes it is our monotonous lifestyle, which does not allow the child to seek first hand information that we as children were able to. Restricting a child from interacting with Mother Nature hinders his learning process. Owing to our monotonous lifestyle, for convenience we try to fetch for an alternative of Mother Nature. And technology becomes that immediate alternative. In such a situation, if the school takes a lead to help strike a balance between learning and experiencing Mother Nature, it will ensure, we are able to bring the change in our children.

In a way technology does help to explore, learn and memorize easily with visual aids like Television, Computers etc. But today when parents remain busy in their lives, these technological advancements tend to build up an imaginary world in a child, thus limiting the very scope of parental guidance. This also leads to technological advancements becoming a bane rather than a boon. 

A child when left alone with gadgets tends to get addicted to them. The gadgets around him become his world, where he starts feeling at home. The child picks up unintelligible speech, which shocks us many a times. Overuse of technology also leads to sleep disorder, anxiety and later depression. The child loses his own shine and ultimately it is the creativity of the child, which gets tarnished. The child lives in an imaginary world, where no scope for sentiments and emotions remain. Sentiments and emotions are nurtured by parents, which the child misses as a sapling. It is thus said, ‘what you sow, you reap’.     

Technology is as addictive as alcohol or any other addictions in the matter. At a very tender age, children today get addicted to these gadgets. The more they are into it, the more they become moody, socially less interactive and nurture an introvert in themselves. Gadgets today have replaced the dolls and footballs of a child as their playground has been confined to their palms. Emotions and creativity have been locked in a chip; the soothing sound of chanting prayers is never heard around and the child ultimately gets pushed in a world of harmful radiations. With this, an important milestone in his phase of development is stuck.  

Today technology is also a cause for altering the parent-child relationship. The bond between a parent and child is getting degraded, the reason being growing bond between the child and his latest gadgets. Children are seen becoming lethargic as they are deprived of good and sound sleep. This also leads to violent behavior among children.

A child needs love, affection, care and most important, time from parents. Children construct an understanding of the world around them. For children, it is personal interaction, which is their primary source of knowledge and gaining life experience. As children grow, they do need technology to keep abreast with technological advancements. While there are many advantages of technology, there are also endless hazards associated with it, if not dealt with wisely.      

The parent-child relationship is one of the longest lasting tie human beings establish. This relationship is tested when the child reaches adolescence. This is the stage when there is a tug of war between a parent and a child, between personality differences, thoughts, lifestyle and vision. Parents, here, should remember that avoidance does not work as a healthy strategy for dealing with conflicts. It rather makes things worse as goes the saying – ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’.

Parents naturally expect more as they are the ones who have invested more in this relationship. They dream of launching their children into successful adulthood, without accepting the true capacity and capability of their children. This is a prime reason for low esteem in a child, thus tarnishing his creativity. He refuses to believe in himself and fails to recognize his strengths. Rather than imposing our beliefs on children, parents should try and explore their minds first.  

As parents we need to respect our children and try to be friends with them. We need to be alert enough to judge if there is anything bothering them. We should try to seek their opinion in domestic matters as well and also ensure that we are able to spend some quality time with them.

As children reach adolescence, we need make them comfortable by discussing the physical changes they undergo. We also need to encourage them to take risks. Remember, no entertainment/ gadgets can replace the time a child needs from his parents.

“A stitch in time saves nine” –Technological advancements today are turning us into robots without human emotions. And unknowingly, this is what we pass on to our children. Technological advancements are also altering the parent-child relationship. Gadgets are becoming friends and parents, mute spectators. It’s high time for us to think about this growing change that has created a void in parent – child relationship. If a non-living thing like a gadget can become an important part of child’s life, why can’t we as humans earn that importance, which a child really deserves?  The reason is our ‘Attitude’.

Technological advancements have led to a situation wherein a child is able to dictate to the gadgets. The gadgets in turn give commands and instructions, which he is happy to follow. This makes the child feel that more than his parents it is his gadgets, which are available to support his emotional needs.

School and parents thus shoulder an equal responsibility in shaping up the personality of a child. The time a child spends at school is similar to the time we as adults devote for earning our bread and butter. A child while in school gains knowledge and learns skills, which are required to shape his personality. If we try to understand this, we can ensure that the child is well equipped to cope up with real life in future.

Development around us can never be paused or stopped. But it is totally upto us to decide on whether we want our children to become emotionless intelligent robots or good human beings.