It was a little boy living in Thumba, near Thiruvananthapuram, which houses India’s rocket base who told me he’d seen most members of the ruling party climbing into a Time Machine, which had taken them back in time. “They said, there was nothing they could do about the present, so they thought they’d go back into India’s past!” said the little boy, speaking to me in Malayalam.

“I wonder what they’re finding out!” I pondered loudly.

“There’s a black box, that tells you what they’re seeing now,” said the little fellow as he led me to the entrance of the Time Capsule and pressed a switch. I heard the voice of Mumbai’s former police chief who was now a junior minister, “This is marvelous!” he said in chaste Hindi, “Look at all those planes. I told you India had aircraft in those days! Our technology was the greatest, see that plane doesn’t even have an engine!”

Another voice piped in, “India had internet thousands of years ago. Look, I am whatsapping King Ashoka and see all the Chola rulers from the south have formed a whatsapp group!”

I heard a familiar voice, “Mitron, I can see Mrs Gandhi reading Hitler’s Mein Kampf!I told you she was a Hitler, not me!”

The door of the machine opened and all the members of the ruling party stepped out, big grinsacross their faces, what with having actually seen supersonic aircraft, internet and Hitler type dictators in India’s past. But the little boy was shaking his head and pointing to another machine standing next to this one. I suddenly understood what he was saying and rushed to the group “Sirs, I think there’s been a mistake!” I said humbly.

“Bah you journalists!” said the familiar voice, “Didn’t I tell you Indira Gandhi was Hitler?”

“Didn’t I tell you we had airplanes thousands of years ago!” said another.

“And I whatsapped King Ashoka!” sneered the other member of the ruling party.

“But sirs!” I said, pointing to the machine they had just stepped out from, and gesturing to the little boy who had actually found the mistake, “Sirs, you all entered the Dream Machine by mistake!”

There was pin drop silence as the little boy pointed to the other machine next to this one, “Sirs, he says that that is the Time Machine, this one you all have come from makes your favouritedreams and fantasies into reality while you are in it! Why don’t we all go into the Time Machine and see the truth?”

The little boy and I stood next to the Time Machine, as the group just walked away.

“Nobody wants to know the truth!” said the little boy from Thumba, near Thiruvananthapuram in Malayalam. 

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As I heard about the tragic plane crash a few miles from my home, my thoughts went back to another crash in which my uncle a fighter pilot was involved. He retired as a very senior officer in the Indian Air Force, but this happened when he was much younger, “His plane caught fire!” said my grandmother to six- year old me, “But angels lifted him out of the aircraft and brought him safely down!”

“Why?” I’d asked, “Many pilots die, why was only he rescued?”

“Because I prayed for him all the time!” said my grandmother, very matter of fact.

It was this same grandmother who taught me, that whatever I needed, to pray about it, and God would give it to me. “But always have a picture in your mind of God answering that prayer Bob!” she said.

Many years later when in my twenties, the Maruti 800 was making a big impact on Indian roads, I remembered my grandmother’s words,and with trembling hands cut a picture from a magazine of a gleaming red 800, placed it under a glass on my desk, looked at it, prayed for it everyday, and six months laterit happened, the only difference, I settled for white!

It was not just material things, I used this power of picturization and prayerisation everywhere. There were times one or other of my daughters would call me from school, “Dad my legs are hurting so badly, please come and pick me up!” I would get on my knees and pray and see my child with no ache, then get into my car, now a Tata Estate and drive breakneck to her school, and find her grinning at the gate, “Daddy, the pain just disappeared!”

Over two thousand years ago, a young Jesus who was healing the sick and bringing to life those who were dead told everybody, “Even if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May God uproot you and throw you into the sea, and it would obey you!’

Around two decades ago, another young man who wanted to start an orphanage would visit my home for donations, and while leaving would say, “Please pray for me!”

One day, I got impatient and asked him, “Pray for what?”

“For my orphanage to come up!” he said.

“How big do you want it to be?” I asked.

“I don’t know!” he whispered.

“Picture how big you want it to be, then pray that picture to God, and let’s watch it becoming possible!” I told him. “The three Ps, “Picturize, Prayerize and Possibilize!”

He listened, and it’s now a huge complex with buildings and guest houses, called Anand Ashram, houses over a hundred boys and an old folks home.

Yesterday’s tragic crash brought memories of another crash and reassuring thoughts of a faithful God..! 

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Dr. S. Ganesan

 Joji K Simon

Standing in long queue for purchase of Application –cum-Prospectus from college sale counter has become old story now. The chance of visiting, re-visiting the college/university premises is also missing now-a-days for pre-admission and admission process. Admission is open for 24 x 7 due to online mode processing. Having made the admission process open for 24-hours, still both the student and parents find some hardships, bottle-necks in using online platforms. In Andaman & Nicobar Islands, the college admission has been made online for centralized admission in any college (Common Online Admission Portal for colleges-CCAP). IGNOU has also made its admission, re-registration, exam form, entrance test application form etc. through online mode. While using the online mode, certain precautions, Dos & Don’ts is to be kept in mind.

For instance, which are the documents to be kept ready for uploading? How to correct the mistakes in the form submitted? etc. In general, the online admission process can have 3-phases:

1.  Pre- Admission phase

 (Surfing, reading the instructions, information gathering, etc)

2.  Admission phase

 (filling-up, editing, upload documents, submission, fee payment etc.)

3.  Post-Admission phase

{confirmation of admission, collecting student I-card etc.).

The first phase is an activity for parents and students to survey various online admission sites; visit various university/ college website prospectus, placement possibilities etc. The more you read, you will be highly comfortable to apply online. The second phase needs technical support such as UPS/Inverter, good connection/speed for internet etc. Your computer knowledge and IT skills will help you to apply online. Here, your skilled friends, reliable internet café centre supports you. Arranging all the required documents as per site requirements is the pre-condition for preparation to apply online. The third phase is critical to remove your discrepancies in the form, uploading error-correction methods (edit), etc. will test your tolerance level.  After crossing all these 3-important phases, finally you will land at your college/university for academic session. For first timers, the following inputs will be highly useful for online admission.

Technical Requirements (Software / Hardware)

• Browser should be current version of Fire Fox, Chrome

• Resolution of screen should be 1024 x 768 pixels

• Online application will not work in Internet Explorer version 11 and above

• Computer system connected to UPS, Printer ( of course, papers in Printer tray)

• Documents to be uploaded only in JPG format. 

User Name & Password to Login

• First time applicants are advised to click the available programme tab on the homepage of the Online Admission System and select the desired programme and carefully read the details of programme including eligibility criteria, fee details, duration, etc.

a. You are also requested to download the Prospectus  and read carefully the Rules of the University. You may also read some sections more than once.

b. Click on the button "REGISTER YOURSELF" that appears in the applicant login area and fill the required registration details.

c. Remember, while choosing your User Name, it must be in between 8 to 16 characters.

d. While choosing your password it must be alphanumeric and between 8 to 16 characters long.

e. After filling the mandatory information click the "SUBMIT" button.

f. Your username will be instantly sent to you via e-mail and SMS.

• Remember your Username and Password for subsequent login.

• If you have already registered i.e., you are an existing user, click the "LOGIN" button.

• To choose more than one course, apply separately.

Documents required for Uploading

• Scanned Photograph (less than 100 KB)

• Scanned Signature (less than100 /500 KB)

• Scanned copy of Age Proof (less tha100/500 KB)

• Scanned copy of relevant Educational Qualification (less tha100/500 KB)

• Scanned Copy of Experience Certificate (if any) (100 /500KB)

• Scanned Copy of Category Certificate, if SC/ST/OBC (less tha100/500 KB)

• Scanned Copy of BPL Certificate, if Below Poverty Line (less than 100/500 KB)

• Scanned copy of Aadhar card (less tha100/500 KB)

• Scanned copy of Bank Pass Book (less tha100/500 KB)

• Scanned copy of NCC/NSS/Sports Certificate  etc. (less tha100/500 KB)

It is suggested to scan documents from your originals (clearly visible). Once you have uploaded the document, click the next button, you will get the Form preview option. Save/Print your form for future reference.  Hard copy of form need not be submitted to college/university, unless stated.

Fee payment

• Credit Card (Master/Visa)

• Debit Card (Master/Visa/Rupay)

• Net Banking

•The status of payment may be checked from bank statement also. For college admission, on receipt of seat confirmation, you may pay the fee.

Error-Correction Methods

o Whenever any discrepancy in the application form is found, it is usually intimated to the learner by SMS and email by the administrator.

o Error correction can be done by clicking on the “Change LSC/Upload Document” option available at IGNOU Online Dashboard or can also be done by visiting the Regional Centre office with the original documents.

o Editing/formatting in the form can only be done before the payment is made. Editing is not possible after form submission.

Possibilities for Rejection

• If you don’t fulfill the minimum age requirement prescribed for the programme.

• Your Degree certificate uploaded with the application form is not recognized as per AIU/UGC/NCTE/AICTE/COBSE notification.

• As per certificates uploaded by you, you do not fulfill the eligibility criteria for admission.

• Your experience was not considered appropriate as per requirement for admission to the programme.

• Discrepancy intimated to you (by SMS, email, over phone call) has not been removed.

   If the document is not visible, the admission form will be rejected.

• Furnishing of correct in information/ suppression of information would lead to rejection of application.


• Before typing the name and other details in the online form, write those details on paper so as to avoid typing mistakes.

• Note your login user name and password on a paper and keep it safely.

• If you have any doubt about your documents, eligibility etc, try to contact the administrative office or online site manager for help and assistance.

• Visit the authorized Common Service Centre (CSC) where the online application forms are submitted every day as a routine activity. It will avoid unnecessary huge payment to private internet café. IGNOU also has made tie-up with CSC across the country.

• Whenever you require any screen shot, please don’t hesitate to take screen shot of the desktop screen by your mobile camera, save it for your reference.

• Read refund of fee procedure.

After the last date of online submission, few day times may be given for off-line mode also. To discourage such ‘beyond cut date’ submission, the university/college may charge late fee on higher side. Every one of us experience and enjoy the flexibility and facility of easy admission process due to modern digital online process. At the same time, one need not under estimate the olden method of paper based admission application form method. The present technology driven world has made the admission easy to meet the heavy rush in college admission.

(The authors are Dr. S. Ganesan, Regional Director and Joji K. Simon, Assistant Executive (Data Processing) of IGNOU, Regional Centre, Port Blair and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (M-8900936718}.

After my morning walk, I sit for an hour on my terrace garden, savoring my pot of delicious coffee. All around me I hear the sounds of birds and squirrels, as the peepul tree towering over me provides a home to them and peace for me. As I sip away, different smells start drifting up to me; that of breakfasts being prepared by loving hands. There’s the aroma of aloo paratha, the whiff of an omelette, the crisp smell of a dosa, there’s bacon and eggs rising somewhere, and all the pleasant odours drift upto me, and enhance the beautiful mood I am in.I feel a stillness.

And as I drift into this time of sheer tranquility, I wonder whether I’ve ever heard one smell cry to another, “Hey, you’re intruding into my space!”

“You’re smelly please tone down!”

“Stop crackling while you’re frying! You stink. You’re too noisy!”

No, all these different smells from different kitchens, go through their many chimneys, then joining together in friendly harmony float to the sky as one perfumed fragranceof love!

But then come people; leaders who feelsome particular smells are not needed: They look at loving hands that make the dosa, fry theomeletteor place the potato in the paratha, then scowl as in another kitchen a different smell, tells of another breakfast being made?

“Hey!” say the different aromas sadly as they drift up into the sky the next day, “One of us is missing?”

“He’s been banned!” says the dosa and the others drift up in silence.

Time goes by and same leaders ban one or the othertill only two remain. Slowly all the chimneys start giving out the same smell, as loving hands make the same food, till one day, the same aromasdrifting up from different kitchens see something amiss, “Looks like two chimneys have no smells coming from them?”

“They’ve been banned!” say the others sadly.


“Because they used an inferior oil!”

And the next day only one smell remains, the otherbanned as it came from food cooked by hands from the south. But even that one smell remaining shivers, as it sees same leaders coming with a ban notice, and then it sadly sings:

First they bannedBeef And I did not speak out Because I was not Beef,

Then they came for the Omelettes And I did not speak out Because I was not an Omelette.

Then they banned the Dosa And I did not speak out Because I was not aDosa

Then they came for the Aloo Parathas And I did not speak out Because I was not anAloo Paratha,

Now they’re coming for me And there is no one left to speak out for me!

There are no birds, no squirrels, nothing but the stench of fear from the chimneys..! 

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By Ambika Pradhan S

Marine ecosystems throughout the world are under severe pressures, with threats like trawling, pollution, and ocean acidification looming large. These ecosystems house a diverse range of species ranging from complex coral reef communities and coral dependant fish to sea turtles. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are increasingly becoming a conservation strategy for countries worldwide to protect the ecosystems from anthropogenic pressures. As of 2017, MPAs cover 1.17 per cent of the world’s ocean. (Wikipedia)

India too has contributed its own share to conserving coral reefs and marine landscapes by setting up MPAs in different geographic locations. Based on their design and conservation priority, MPAs can either be no-take zones, where fishing and other extraction is completely prohibited or can be allowed partially. So far, 31 MPAs including 4 Marine National Parks have been established. Gulf of Kutch was the first Marine National Park that was established in 1982. Following which, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park (MGMNP) was established in Wandoor, South Andaman in 1983; Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park and Rani Jhansi Marine National Park were established in Gulf of Mannar and South Andaman respectively.

There are 15 islands falling under MGMNP, covering an area of 281.5 sq. km. Of the 15 islands, only 2 islands, Red Skin and Jolly Buoy are open for tourists. While the forest department has been managing the park, and has been responsible for conserving the coral reefs for over 2 decades, it is also important to identify the other stakeholders of the park like the fisher community dependent on the coral reef fishes and the tour and boat operators, who benefit from the park.

In a recent report submitted to Andaman Nicobar Environmental Team and Dakshin foundation, Madhuri Mondal of Tata Institute of Social Sciences recorded the perception of the locals towards the park. Titled ‘Factors influencing the perception of the communities towards Mahatma Gandhi National Park’, the study also identifies the direct and indirect dependence of the community, on the park, for livelihood. The survey was conducted along the villages bordering the national park, which includes Wandoor, Guptapara, Manjery, Indira Nagar and Rutland. Through the study, Madhuri came across various perceptions with regarding MGMNP.

Resource dependence is the most important factor which influences the perception of the community towards the park. There was a huge contrast in the views of respondents who were directly benefiting from the park and the respondents whose livelihoods got impacted due to the creation of the park. The study states that people from the community at Wandoor are more directly dependant on the park for their livelihood than the other villages bordering it. Direct dependants like tourist boats, souvenir shops and hotels near the park, which cater to the tourists have a positive perception of the park. It also includes Daily Rate Mazdoors, who are employed in jobs like monitoring the turtle nests during the nesting season, mangrove plantations and patrolling.

People who depend on the park’s resources, but do not earn livelihood from it were categorized under indirect dependency. These respondents, who were either historically dependent on the park or dependent for navigation like the fishers, complained about the park.

The communities living on the fringes of the park rely extensively on fishing for livelihood. The export market dictates the fishing pattern in most of the villages around MGMNP. The fishers have had a long history of fishing and harvesting patterns ranging from shell and sea cucumber harvesting to fishing for groupers. Since the MGMNP is a no-take zone, fishers travel 4 to 6 hours a day to get to their fishing grounds.

Unlike terrestrial Protected Areas, the boundaries of marine protected areas can be very ambiguous in nature. Many fishers mentioned about the friction with the management of the park, since the boundaries are not clearly demarcated. The forest department placed buoys to mark the boundaries of the park. But, few fishers from Guptapada and Manjery mentioned that there was confusion prevailing in the community about the boundaries of the park. During the study, few fishers also highlighted the improper construction of the New Wandoor jetty, which cannot be used during low tide. The findings of the study state that due to increasing restrictions, the fishermen cannot park their boats in the park in case of extreme cases like cyclone or breakdown of the engine. All these reasons have contributed to a perception that the local community is alienated from the park.  The crocodile attack that took place at New Wandoor beach in December 2017, despite of safety nets being installed by the forest department further adds to the discontent among the community.

Coral Reefs And Communities

Coral reefs are complex ecosystems that house several reef associated fish, which are very important to community’s livelihood and food security (Garcia and Rosenberg, 2010). Globally, 25 per cent of the marine fish catch comes from corals reefs (UNEP 2006). But the health of corals in Andaman Islands has been declining noticeably. “The main cause for reef degradation inside MGMNP is a series of natural catastrophes, including the infamous tsunami and bleaching events. In addition, the excess sedimentation has also affected the health of coral reefs inside the park, says Vardhan Patankar, a marine biologist working with Andaman Nicobar Environmental Team (ANET). To reduce this stress, it is important that the community living near the park is aware of the importance of the corals. 

“During the course of my study, I noticed that the people employed in tourism and the fishers who have been fishing for over a decade value corals more than others and they acknowledge that the corals are degrading. The others who do not depend on corals for their livelihood are indifferent to its degradation, Madhuri says.

“The forest department is very active in the park and has been conducting awareness programmes about coral reefs and their importance for communities around the park. At the same time, they need to scale up their efforts in order to make the communities aware of the different species of corals” Vardhan adds.

Since MGMNP has been set up with a top-down approach, where the decision making of the park does not involve the community, they feel alienated from the park. “Communities living around the park see it as a hurdle, as it restricts their resource use as well as their free movement to the sea. This impacts their livelihood. In order to meet the long term conservation objectives of MGMNP, the park authorities need to understand the issues faced by the communities and involve them in the management of the park. Only by including people and sharing benefits of conservation can we ensure the long term security of the corals and marine eco systems, Madhuri opines.

The study also mentions the detailed Eco-Development Committee (EDC) plan created by scientists from Salim Ali Institute of Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) in 2013, which was submitted to the forest department. Few meetings were held for the creation of EDC in Loha Barrack Sanctuary, but they were not successful. The Eco Development Committee was formed on paper, but nothing has been done on ground to involve the community. To ensure the maximum benefits from the MPA, it is important that consultations are held with the communities and initiatives like sustainable fishing practices and alternate livelihood generation are taken into consideration.