Positive Gossip: Measure Mind

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Jaipur, India – In Salt Lake City Utah, our driver Richard, an elderly gentleman with discovery channel style narration and visual portrayal of culture and history, had pearls of wisdom very first day for us, when we were in town as fellows of Indian Visitor’s Leadership Program of Department of State. He said “Like Bollywood is not all about India, Hollywood is not complete truth most of United States of America.’ Film Directors like Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra object to the term ‘Bollywood’ and in an interview asked me to refer to it as Indian Cinema instead, much before narrative of nationalism started building in India.

After all, it’s all how we relate to an idea. And in this idea of life, in India or any part of planet Earth, cities, towns, villages, homes, are real time celluloid with action, emotions, drama happening all the time and stories that take shape and await projection. The world is made up as much of stories as matter and energy. In my quest for new stories when I was looped in for an outsourced case studies collection work for Ministry of Culture, I also realized how much energy and vibrations touch you and make story casts so special, from ordinary to unique.

I vividly recall when we in a small group had a chance for freewheeling with former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Such opportunities could have been extreme learning experiences but a few fellow journalists couldn’t resist questions about China policy, relations with neighboring countries and more perhaps for a genuine peep into his thoughts made up of affairs seen from bird’s eye view. But he fiddled with each uncomfortable dart and dragged all into his vision about humanity, education, and science wherever he could. And that stayed with us all as happy moments. We could all feel his intent.

Most intriguing is the courage and compassion of common people, under most difficult circumstances. I sensed it while recording a TV show with a Mother of a boy with complicated set of disabilities. But, my knowledge about her was beyond the show, as an active participant on policy issues that pertain to people with disabilities as part of our social drive on the theme. She knew that her husband was the carrier of the gene responsible for this crippled state of their son. But father abandoned both and this young mother, till then unaware of the complexities and stigma of raising a child with disabilities all alone, not only carried on with grit but defied medical science by sheer love and care for her son named Nirbhay (meaning without fear), who she refers to as her Guru (preached) now. Highlight of my confab with her, “Nirbhay added purpose in my life, he guided me”.

Victor Frankl, a neurologist and psychiatrist, and a survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp, writes in his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning” that ‘those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with any ‘how’. Injustice and deprivation is an everyday reality for millions who face different levels of social and economic challenges and traumatic life experiences even in powerful and comparatively fair democracies. Even people with better socioeconomic backgrounds are sick of jobs and life as they find it meaningless but have no escape from this trap. Political environment and policy making ought to attend to mental or physical sufferings faced by the voiceless/less privileged/marginalized by engaging them into constructive dialogue and fast action solutions.

The Happiness index is a fancy idea for many but working toward it requires bigger spiral of positivity and spirited steps. India has a central state which had announced in previous regime a happiness ministry which has no achievement to its credit yet, and UN sustainable development solutions network report 2018 ranks India at 133rd among 156 countries on the parameters of equality, life expectancy, GDP per capita, social freedom, and trust (meaning lack of corruption and social support). While India has fallen from previous rank of 122nd, US has also slipped from 14th to 18th position.

We need to stir our systems to rise above the benumbing radicalism and appreciate what Roman king Marcus Aurelius writes in his work ‘Meditations’ – “Failure to observe what is in the mind of another has seldom made a man unhappy; but those who do not observe the movements of their own minds must of necessity be unhappy”. It’s a choice for us to have motives which define us and drive us toward happiness.

Dr Shipra Mathur
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Dr Shipra Mathur is the Consulting Editor.

Academic Background: PhD (Journalism), First candidate in Rajasthan to clear UGC - NET in Journalism year 1997, MJMC (Gold Medal), BJMC - President University Dept Student Union, MA (English Lit), BSc (Bio) – Vice President College Student Union, Diploma (Violin)

Fellowships/Scholarships: IVLP (3 weeks International Visitor’s Leadership Programme invite, US State Department, 2017); Media Strategies for Social Change (3 weeks programme invite Israel Agency for International Development Cooperation – MASHAV, 2013); Sacred Groves (2 year fellow Ministry of Cultural Affairs, 2010)

Action Campaign Editor (National): A unique designation which she chose for herself with role in decision making and breaking glass ceiling. With 20 years in Journalism (half in academia half in active journalism), she is now leading innovative - collaborative solution driven Journalism. Her key role is to plan News Campaigns, innovate for new approaches, take up issues; build linkages for Action and Impact. She has always followed unbeaten track with beginning phase as reporter then founding media departments in university affiliate colleges, later taking crucial role for launching evening newspaper, founding journalist training division of a media house, and now in her most crucial role since 2009 as founder of a division called Media Action Group (MAG) (www.mediaactiongroup.in) in the newspaper group embedded into core editorial. Her focus remains voiceless people, inspirational work, collaborative approach and people engagement to lead with passion and compassion. She has also been reaching out to grassroots people through speeches and her media programmes/platforms to help each of them become Changemaker. She is recipient of Women Icon Award – 2015 and recently Sriphal Award – 2016 for Public Service Journalism and Innovation Award - NIF, 2014. On the board of Amity University (JMC School), SWARAJ grassroots organization and many more.

Consulting Editor: India America Today www.indiaamericatoday.com

TV Show (Weekly) conceptualized, named and presented by her #SOULgers for Patrika Rajasthan TV. This is with a purpose to cover work and philosophy of people who listen to their soul, walk on unbeaten path and work like a soldier.

As resource person had opportunity to share experiences on invitation of FICCI, CII, UN Women, UNFPA, UNICEF, IIM-A, RMP, ISKON, Artha, Skoll, CSO/VO consultations/ trainings, UNESCO, PLAN International, Govt of India platforms, Print Media Houses (esp Regional Language newspapers) and other discussion forum to propagate the idea of Public Service Journalism and to share about Empathy, Importance of Meaningful Work, Public Education, Collaboration and Change.

She founded PEN media foundation to build dialogue for better ways of People’s Engagement with News world. She is also Founder Secretary www.krishnalimb.com deeply involved with a cause to support Disabled (amputee animals) by installing Prosthetic (Artificial Limb – KRISHNA Limb) as service (non - profit). www.facebook.com/krishnalimb

Area of Work She has done major work for the benefit of the underprivileged, voiceless, marginalized or deprived community. Her major achievements have been in the areas of Right to Education; Democracy Drives during assembly and general elections (won National Media Award by President of India); Civic Engagement for Expression of Development ideas and Initiatives; Street Vendor Policy; Camel Trafficking, Gender Issues including female foeticide (won Gender Media awards for Teams at different editions), Sex Selection (she represented her state before Prime Minister of India’s dialogue with Women Sarpanch (8th March 2017 showcasing remarkable improvement in sex ratio), Child Marriage, Female Voices; Inclusion, Empathy and Accessibility for People with Disability, Environment Conservation; Awareness and Access to Ayurveda; Hindu Refugees (Religious Persecution) and Govt Schools among others. Govt School and Gender campaign (engaging more than 200 civil society groups) is closest to her heart with huge impact – policies, mind sets and practices. All these issues have been taken in campaign mode with critical engagement of all the stakeholders. It was always an ecosystem which operated underneath with experts, development sector, social workers, social jurists, active citizens and sometime the actual sufferers or beneficiaries also, which added desired direction and force to all what she undertook. She always took driver’s seat and designed ways, decided nomenclature, planned steps, facilitated engagements, offered slant and edited stories and fanned public movement keeping her teams in the fore front. Now writes only when it boils within and if it at all supports the cause, else invisible force is what she prefers to remain as.

In past 2 years she has built a dialogue forum called KEYNOTE Idea Fest for Patrika mentoring and curating it for different editions and suggesting/inviting people who have worked with profound sense of commitment and who inspire with their work or thoughts.

Impact Campaigns (her brain child) in past years: Neenv, Ahsaas, Laado, Tabran ro Byaav, Bitiya Bachao, Vision – 2025, Vajood, Bitiya Padhao, Vanshalika Betiyan, Aao Padhayen Sabko Badhayen, Feri Walon par Fanda, Doob Raha Jahaaz, Ayushmaan, Live Park, Gamechangers

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