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By Nithin Sridhar
In a country that is rooted in the principles of dharma (righteousness), the incident of a 17-year- old Delhi girl who was allegedly lured to Jaipur on the pretext of helping her land a job but instead was sold and raped for two days, depicts a ground situation that is completely in contrast with the national ethos.
The National Crime Records Bureau in its 2013 report records a total of 3,940 incidents of human trafficking across India that were reported with the police. In 2009, such reported incidents were 2,848. That is, an increase of 38.3% can be noted between 2009 and 2013. Out of those 3,940 cases, 1,224 cases were those of trafficking minor girls.
Human trafficking basically refers to transportation of a person from one place to another, followed by his/her exploitation and commercialization. Such a transportation may be done using force, inducement, or coercion and the trafficked person may be pushed into prostitution, domestic labor, bonded labor, or sold to foreign customers.
Goa Children’s Act, 2003 defines child trafficking as, “Child trafficking means the procurement, recruitment, transportation, transfer,harboring or receipt of children legally or illegally, within or across borders, by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of giving orreceiving payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control overanother person, for monetary gain or otherwise.” Though this is a definition of child-trafficking, it can easily be applied to any form of trafficking.
In other words, human trafficking can be considered as a mother of crimes, as it involves elements of many other crimes like kidnapping, rape, prostitution, child labor, bonded labor etc.
Elaborating on this aspect of human trafficking, Dr PM Nair in his 2007 handbook on trafficking, writes: “Human trafficking is a crime of crimes. It is a basket of crimes. In this basket one can dig out the elements of abduction, kidnapping, illegal detainment, illegal confinement, criminal intimidation, hurt, grievous hurt, sexual assault, outraging modesty, rape, unnatural offences, selling and buying of human beings, servitude, criminal conspiracy, abetment etc. Therefore, multiple abuse and abusers located at different points of time and place together constitute the organized crime of trafficking. A host of human rights violations like denial of privacy, denial of justice, denial of access to justice, deprivation of basic rights and dignity etc. constitute other part of the exploitation. Therefore, there is no doubt that trafficking is an organized crime.”
Human trafficking is a very heinous crime and a blatant violation of human rights. It brings out a human mentality that has fallen so low as to exploit another human being and in many cases they are just small children. Human trafficking must not be looked in isolation but instead it should be considered as a source of supply that fulfills the demand put forward by other social ills like child labor, prostitution, and bonded labor.
Prostitution is the single important reason why women and children are trafficked. A large number of trafficked children are sold to brothels, escort agencies, or abroad. The unscrupulous factory and mill owners who purchase children and women labors for their factories and mills are also to be held responsible.
Similarly, many rich people purchase domestic labors. A large number of women and children are trafficked to foreign countries for domestic labor as well as for sexual slavery. The minor girls are also trafficked to supply brides to certain states wherein there is a scarcity of women. All these various other crimes provide the demand that is fulfilled by human trafficking. Trafficked people are also employed by the mafia that controls begging.
Though the cases of human trafficking that are registered with the police are low, a US “Trafficking in Persons Report,” 2015 states that millions of women and children are victims of sex-trafficking in India. It says the prime destinations for female trafficking victims are Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat, and the India-Nepal border.
In order to tackle this multi-dimensional organized crime of human trafficking, the measures that are adopted must be multi-dimensional as well. The US report recommends that India should stop penalizing the victims of trafficking and should increase the prosecution and conviction of perpetrators of all kinds of human trafficking including those of bonded labors. It further suggests that India should provide more manpower and resources to Anti-Human Trafficking Units. The state and central governments should effectively implement various protection programs for the victims and fast-track courts must be established to ensure speedy closure of the cases. The report also suggested the government to strictly penalize all official who are complicit in trafficking.
Other measures like spreading education and moral values will have long-term effect in reducing social ills. The government should also work with NGOs to prevent the trafficking at the source. Dr PM Nair suggests adoption of an integrated and comprehensive approach to deal with trafficking. He says trafficking should be dealt through persecution, protection, and prevention. With regard to prevention, he says the government should prevent trafficking not only at source but also at the place of demand as well as during transit. He states that those who are involved directly or indirectly in generating the demand i.e. customers, financers, abettors and others should all be prosecuted. He also adds that the government should take measures to prevent re-trafficking of the rescued victims.
Consequently, through a series of measures like proper monitoring, proper prosecution and others, India can go a long way in slowly reducing the rate of trafficking. It is a duty of every human to put best possible efforts towards weeding out this inhuman practice of trafficking from the society.
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.
At the heart of Bangalore city, a large 300-acre space of lush greenery and heritage stands as a symbol of the city's past, present, and future. Cubbon Park is every child's favourite park, every Bangalorean's haven of fresh air, and altogether, the city's pride.
It stands testament to the past, in terms of the diversity of flora it houses. Bangalore traffic in the recent past has grown into a menace, but the stretch between MG Road and Cubbon Park is always a pleasurable place to stop and wait for the signal to turn green. The gust of wind that blows here, and the smell of mud, coupled with floral scents instantly transports citizens to Old Bangalore, where the weather was fine, and the trees loomed over roads with thick canopies that did not even allow rainwater to penetrate. Cubbon Park is also a historical site, and one of the few remaining monuments of colonial heritage in Central Bangalore. It houses many statues and among them, the most famous is that of Queen Victoria, which faces the St. Mark's Square.
The stretch outside Cubbon Park is cool and well-shaded from the canopy of trees over it. Image source: wikimedia commons
At present, Cubbon Park is known for the cultural hub that it is. It houses Jawahar Bal Bhavan, which is a large theatre that hosts film festivals through the year. Festivals, poetry open mics, and other such shows are conducted on the lawns every Sunday. A small stream runs through the park, where boat rides are held occasionally when the water level is high enough. There is a children's park on one corner, and a government-maintained aquarium, two-storeys tall, with exotic fish.
The Park has been renamed many times in the past. It was originally named Meade's Park, after Sir John Meade, the acting commissioner of Mysore in 1870. It was later changed to Cubbon Park after Sir Mark Cubbon, who was the longest-serving commissioner of the Mysore state. In 1927, the park was renamed after the Mysore Maharaja Sri Krishna Wodeyar, to celebrate his silver jubilee, since the park was developed during the reign of his ancestors. Even though it is officially named Sri Chamrajendra Park, it is still known as Cubbon Park all over the city. In fact, Bangalore was alluded the sobriquet of 'Garden City' because of the rich botanical diversity of this park.
Art Installation at Cubbon Park Image source: wikimedia commons
In many parts of the country, governments have renamed structures, places, and cities to remove traces of colonialism. But, in a city like Bangalore, there is too much evidence of the British rule. Many of the most prominent attractions of the city are known by their British identities despite the change in name. Even the city's name continues to be Bangalore, despite having been changed to Bengaluru. Last year, the British era and its achievements were celebrated in Cubbon Park when Sir Mark Cubbon's statue was moved from the grounds of the Karnataka High Court and placed in the Park.
Keywords: Cubbon Park, Mark Cubbon, British Colonialism, Cultural hub, Garden City