NEW DELHI

Inside delhi

Making a difference

Police officer Ashok Kumar’s story provides a great deal of food for thought.

Mr. Kumar who hails from rural Haryana not only gained admission to the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, without coaching but also successfully pursued B. Tech and M. Tech degrees from the Institute.

What prompted him to choose a career in the Indian Police Service over the life of an engineer with excellent prospects?

Mr. Kumar discusses all this and more in his first book “Human in Khaki” which is in the form of 16 short stories spanning 163 pages. The book, which has written with Lokesh Ohri, has been published by Book World, Dehra Dun.

The book was released at IIT-Delhi this past week by Dr. Kiran Bedi.

On his career shift, Mr. Kumar remarks: “I wondered how much difference I could make to the lives of people as an engineer. Maybe in an indirect manner it would have been possible, but I desired more direct involvement. Moreover I did not want to go out of the country unlike my classmates. Those who have gone abroad are obviously boosting India’s image but I wanted to work within the country. Hence I resolved to sit for the Civil Services examination.”

Regarding his book, Mr. Kumar says: “The book tries to show that with a change in approach and attitude, a difference can be made in the lives of people. A humanitarian approach to policing has been taken in the book. It is easy to find faults with the system, but it is the people who run the system who are at fault.”

Urvashi Sarkar



Hard nuts to crack

Buses have it written in paint, scribbled sometimes in ink, the metro trains have bright colourful stickers announcing it too, but the message that some seats are reserved for ladies, differently-abled people and senior citizens seems hard to convey.

Young men occupying the reserved seats come up with all sorts of excuses from sudden and selective hearing impairment to serious aches and pains just so to avoid vacating the seats. There are others who are more belligerent and resort to brazen comments.

Travelling in a crowded bus on a late evening recently, a friend politely asked a man to allow her to sit. The man pretended to be engrossed in a very engaging conversation on his mobile phone. When the conductor intervened, he proceeded to give a speech on why women should either opt for private transport or learn to adapt. Even as the monologue continued, an old man on crutches occupying a seat reserved for the handicapped not only offered his seat to the girl but refused to sit when the other passengers sheepishly offered him their seats.

Smriti Kak Ramachandran



Unique food festival

To mark Republic Day, Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Foreign Students’ Association is hosting an international food festival on the campus today. Cuisine from 23 countries such as France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Syria, Iran and Afghanistan will be on offer.

Foreign Students’ Association adviser Dr. Arun Mohanty said on the eve of the festival: “Such festivals strengthen mutual harmony and understanding and are a reflection of JNU’s multi-culturalism and diversity. Besides it is a rare opportunity to sample the food of several countries at one place.”

The food festival, which took off nearly ten years ago, has grown in popularity over the years. “Last year some 8,000-10,000 people came for the festival,” Dr. Mohanty said.

In its initial years, attendance and participation was limited to JNU students. But over the years students from Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia and other educational institutions have been flocking to the festival for a taste of global cuisine.

Held on the Jhelum lawns near the Ganga Dhaba till last year, this year’s venue is K. V. Grounds on the campus.

Foreign students at JNU are organising the festival and students will prepare the food themselves. Some help will be extended by various embassies. “The University is providing Rs.25,000 for the festival. The rest of the money will be chipped in by the students who will recover the cost through sale of their cooked items. But all items will be nominally priced as the aim is certainly not to make profit,” Prof Mohanty said.

The festival hours will be 6 p.m. to 11p.m.

Urvashi Sarkar



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