Author: Dr. Shelly Ahmed

Why Sprouting Seeds, Beans And Grains Is Beneficial?

We have heard of many types of vegetarian diets like vegan, raw and pesco-vegetarian, but did you know that sproutarianism is also a thing? A person whose diet consists mainly of sprouted seeds, fruits and raw vegetables is called a sproutarian. Though sproutarianism is quite radical, we cannot ignore the curative properties of sprouts in itself. This mighty food choice is extremely versatile as sprouts can be added to just about anything – salads, cereals, soups, raw smoothies and meals-in-a-bowl. The comfort in consuming sprouts extends to the way they can be cooked too – parboiled, lightly toasted or well-done. Raw vegans and vegetarians eat them raw, though sprouts can get contaminated with mould if not grown with utmost hygiene at the correct temperature and moisture. 

In Indian cuisine, sprouts hold an almost revered place on the plate. Our ancestors understood the raw might of this tiny sprout and its curative properties, and now many studies and research prove their hypothesis. There is no doubt that a seed contains mega doses of nutrients to feed the seedling, but these nutrients in a dry seed are not as bioavailable to the human body as the nutrients in a germinated seed. 

So, let us get down to hailing the health benefits of sprouting seeds, beans and grains. 

Helps maintain weight 

The fibre content in sprouts makes them a filling food. It reduces the craving for other foods for a longer time and thus helps maintain weight while ensuring enough nutrition in smaller quantities. Fibre is excellent for weight loss as it binds to fats as soon as they metabolise and removes those fats from the body at a greater speed. 

A mega dose of enzymes 

Plant enzymes are protein catalysts, meaning, they make the nutrition in the food bioavailable by extracting more protein, vitamins and minerals from the food to nurture the body. According to research, these enzymes are found to be 100 times more in sprouted seeds, nuts and grains than in the same raw foods. 

Helps treat anaemia 

Some sprouts are touted to be rich in folate, and some may increase the haemoglobin in the blood. There are promising studies that show the benefits of sprouts to treat anaemic disorders. They are thus also a superfood for pregnant women, as they need a whole lot more folate during pregnancy to avoid structural deformities in the fetus. 

Great for male health 

Sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C which is responsible for healthy blood circulation to sex organs which could help erectile dysfunction in men. 

The selenium in sprouts is also known to help sperm production and motility, making it an excellent food for men. 

Anti-ageing properties 

Sprouts being rich in antioxidants makes it a super anti-ageing food. It combats free radicals that lead to premature ageing of the cells. The consumption of sprouts expedites the process of cell regeneration. They keep the skin hydrated and produce collagen, which reduces wrinkles and acne, thus keeping us more youthful. 

Aids digestion 

The insoluble fibre load in sprouts makes them easily digestible. Some enzymes in sprouts ease constipation and help keep the bowels clean. A clean digestive system is responsible for absorbing more nutrients into the body. 

Heart-healthy food 

Sprouts are a wonderful plant-based omega-3 source that helps increase the good cholesterol. High potassium levels in sprouts keep the blood pressure in a healthy range and reduce the chances of strokes due to its vitamin C content responsible for good blood circulation and levels of oxygen. This makes it an amazing heart-healthy food. 

How to sprout Mung beans: 

  1. Rinse the mung thoroughly under running water. 
  2. After the wash, add potable water to it and cover to soak for 8-10 hours. 
  3. Once they are well soaked, remove the water and rinse again thoroughly. 
  4. Drain all the water and transfer them into a container or a clean muslin cloth. 
  5. If you have used a container, cover it and keep for about 24 hours. If you are using a muslin cloth, tie a knot on top so that they are appropriately covered. 
  6. Leave the mung to sprout for about 24 hours, depending on the room temperature. 
  7. Once the mung has sprouted, wash them once again in potable water and use within a few days of refrigeration. You can also freeze them for later use. 

Let us make this mighty little food a part of our daily diet and make the most of its impressive nutritional benefits. 

How To Voice Your Opinion Without Sounding Offensive?

01/6Ways to voice your opinion without sounding offensive

Having the confidence and ability to speak up at work is quite a critical situation for a lot many reasons. It’s important on a personal level as it can directly impact your career in either a positive or a negative way. If you do it correctly, it can uplift your career and workplace happiness. But if you do it inappropriately, it can have negative effects not only on your career but also on people around you. Hence, we thought of sharing on ways you can speak up at work without being offensive.

02/6Be very clear

This is the key to speaking up without sounding offensive. You need to make your opinion known or ask for what you want in an extremely clear manner without demeaning the other person. Don’t play with your high and low pitches, keep your voice as normal as you can.

03/6Stay calm and collected

There are times when you state an opinion and the conversation starts to heat up. The difference of opinion is natural at work. But you need to focus on being very calm and collected in any and every situation. If you think the other person’s behaviour is getting in your way, continue the discussion only when you have calmed yourself down a little again.

04/6Prepare yourself

Everyone tends to feel a lot more confident when they are prepared. This works like a charm each time to want to make a serious conversation at work. Be it a new project idea or a raise that you want to talk about, always come prepared. It makes you sound firm and confident with what you want and you also know your choice of words.

05/6Use your body language to your advantage

When you have to state what you want at work, you need to make sure you are using positive body language. Keep your posture straight and use open body language. Look at the person right in the eyes and don’t clench your jaw or tighten your facial muscles. Smile from time to time and it will surely help you sound better.

06/6Be comfortable saying No

Having the ability to say no will actually help you speak up at work without meaning to be offensive. There are times when your immediate manager or boss keeps burdening you with more and more work. If you consistently keep getting more than a fair share of work, be comfortable saying no. #innlive

India Still Criminalises The Work Of Begging

The ongoing pandemic has brought misery in the most unimaginative ways.

Viral videos last week showed 450 Indians working in Saudi Arabia being put into detention centres in Shumaisi, Jeddah as they were found begging.

Stuffed inside detention centres, some of these people are literally seen crying, protesting against the callous attitude of the Indian government which has not bothered to get them back during the pandemic.

One of them is heard saying, “We have seen workers from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka being helped by the authorities of their countries and sent back to their respective countries. However, we are stuck here.”

Another said in a video appeal,“My brother passed away and my mother is critical. I want to be sent back to India.”

These are migrants from various parts of the country who had gone there to earn a living. But with covid-19 putting an end to most economic activity their work permits were cancelled.

Several countries consider begging a public nuisance. In England and Wales begging is illegal under the Vagrancy Act of 1824, but it does not carry a jail sentence and is not enforced in many cities. Most frequently it is enforced on public transport.

India is in a unique position on this vital issue where lakhs of impoverished and dishoused people are made to bear the tag of ‘beggars’. While no government has officially decriminalised beggary most pretends that the harsh and inhuman Anti-Beggary Act does not exist, leaving the issue in suspended animation.

In a country where bhik, bhiksha, bhikhha is a way of living for many, including kinnars and Buddhists and Jains, the matter has been left to the discretion of the states. Around 20 states have adopted the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act of 1959 which prescribes a penalty of 3 to 10 years’ imprisonment.

With activists arguing that the police applied the law arbitrarily with the power to detain or arrest the poor and homeless, including nomadic communities, street performers and migrant workers whose figures the government does not have, after a long fight led by former IAS officer Harsh Mander and argued by noted lawyer Colin Gonsalves, in 2017 the Delhi High Court ordered the decriminalisation of the act of beggary.

“The law against begging is one of the single most oppressive laws against poor and destitute people in a country that has no social protection net,” argued Harsh Mander.

In a landmark judgment the court held the government responsible for the presence of beggars saying it was proof of the failure of the state to provide basic amenities to citizens.

With underprovision of homeless shelters, thousands are forced to sleep under flyovers and on pavements, leaving them vulnerable to harassment by the police, said Mander.

“The state simply cannot fail to do its duty to provide a decent life to its citizens and add insult to injury by arresting, detaining and… imprisoning persons who beg in search for essentials of bare survival,” said the Delhi High Court.

“People beg on the streets not because they wish to, but because they need to. Begging is their last resort to subsistence… Criminalising begging is a wrong approach to deal with the underlying causes of the problem (and) violates the fundamental rights of some of the most vulnerable people,” it said in its order.

After the verdict the Centre promised the High Court that it would bring forth a Bill to decriminalise beggary aimed at rehabilitation. But within a year it backtracked on its promise. The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment which had drafted a bill to decriminalise begging and rehabilitate beggars said it had dropped the proposal to amend the law.

The bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar was not amused. “You (Centre) were taking one year time to produce this draft bill. It is very unfortunate.”

Then the Centre’s standing counsel Monika Arora and advocate Harsh Ahuja told the court, “We are not decriminalising it. The proposal is dropped. The central government has no Act on begging. The states are empowered to do on their own.”

In other words the Union government has once more washed its hands of this crucial matter.

Delhi alone has around 50,000 homeless people officially, though activists say it could be three times that number, who can be put behind bars by high handed cops with impunity and no redress, wherever a major crime occurs, or if there is a VIP in town, to show their alertness.

In normal times they are unseen, unheard and unwanted. #innlive

The Definition And Politics Of ‘Surgical Strikes’

The term “surgical strike” has now truly entered our lexicon, with an entirely different connotation. Now even the Bengal BJP president wants to do a surgical strike on Jadavpur University.

This misuse of terms is quite typically Indian. We call loudly dressed police guards with carbines commandos when commandos are special warfare troops capable of operating behind enemy lines. We use the term trouble-shooter to describe a trouble-maker, when it actually means a person who gets rid of a problem or trouble.

The Modi regime celebrates the “surgical strike” as one of its high points. The dictionary describes a surgical strike as an attack (usually without prior warning) intended to deal only with a specific target. In other words it is an attack that is intended to seize or inflict serious damage on or destroy an objective. It is a swift and targeted attack with the aim of minimum collateral damage to the nearby areas and civilians.

The neutralization of targets with surgical strikes also prevents escalation to a full-blown war. Surgical strike attacks can be carried out via air strikes, airdropping special operations teams or by swift ground operations by sending in commandos or even regular troops.

The great strategist Sir Basil Liddell Hart described a surgical strike as being akin to a single arrow shot by Paris (the fellow who seduced Helen that caused the war.) at Achilles’ heel, which was the only vulnerable spot.

In modern times a surgical strike is a single action that decapitates or significantly reduces the enemy’s capability. The 1967 Israeli surprise air attack that destroyed most of the Egyptian air force on the ground was a surgical strike.

On the morning of December 14, Indian intelligence intercepted a message about a high-level meeting of the Pakistani civilian administration at the Governors House in Dacca. Within 15 minutes an IAFs 28 Squadron launched a strike with four MiG21 fighters. No sooner the meeting started the MiGs blasted the Governors House with 57 mm. rockets, ripping the massive roof off the main hall and turning the building into a smoldering wreck.

The Governor of East Pakistan, A. H. Malik, was so shocked after the incident that he resigned on the spot and renounced all ties with the West Pakistan and fled to take refuge at the InterContinental Hotel under UN flag as a designated safe haven. Now that was a surgical strike.

At another place on the spectrum was the slaying of Osama bin Laden by US SEALs in a helicopter borne attack. The June 2006 US attack that killed Abu Musab-el- Zarqawi was by a single F-16C dropping two 500 lb guided bombs on a safe house in the village of Hibhib near Baqubah in Iraq’s Diyala province on very specific information; and the single Hellfire missile launched by a CIA drone that killed Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the 5000 fighters strong Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in August 2009 were classic surgical strikes to decapitate enemy leadership to demoralize his forces.

Surgical strikes are also undertaken on a larger scale. The bombing of Baghdad in the initial stages of the first Gulf War, Operation Shock and Awe, was a well coordinated set of surgical strikes on government offices and military and communication installations to cripple the Baathist regime. It clearly had a very specific objective and succeeded.

On the other hand the carpet-bombing of Dresden that set that historic city on fire was clearly not a surgical strike.

A successful surgical strike has a devastating effect. By these measures what happened post Uri doesn’t qualify. Instead the Pakistan backed terrorists struck back three days later at Baramulla. The Pakistan Army too has resorted to firing at several places. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi of Pakistani Punjab and Syed Salahuddin (Mohammed Yusuf Shah of Sohibug in Kashmir) still sleep soundly and safely every night with their many wives. They still give press conferences. To pin them to a place and time is not very difficult. Even the IAFs Mirage 2000 attack on a terrorist training camp in Balakot did not have a salutary effect. The terrorists attack in Kashmir with the same regularity and the Pakistan Army quite openly covers their infiltration with artillery fire.

I have always advocated raising the ante with Pakistan by undertaking deep strikes at terrorist leadership centre’s to make their activity costly. It is not required that we send men across to do this job. The IAF and even the Indian Navy have missiles of great precision. The fear always cited by many military men is that Pakistan will react with strikes of their own as they did in the aftermath of Balakot.

The PAF put up a big air show with over a dozen fighters and lured an IAF MiG21 Bison into close combat, after its Su30MKIs were unable to close in due to a serious missile ranges mismatch. This had been gamed many times but yet the IAF was caught unprepared as the file for approving new long range air-to-air missiles rested in the MoD.

There is no doubt that the Indian Army sent forces across the LoC and hit several places where terrorist foot soldiers were gathered. But they have done this several times in the past without any accompanying fanfare. As a matter of fact the decision to do this was delegated to the Corps level. It was the government’s policy. There is no doubt that this time too they drew blood and took no prisoners as has been happening for several years now.

By misusing a nomenclature to describe the action to be something bigger and major is sheer charlatanism. Maybe it was Ajit Doval’s vivid imagination formed after “several years as an undercover agent in Pakistan”, as his many hagiographers claim? If they had gone in and took out Salahuddin or brought him back it would have qualified to be called a surgical strike.

If Ram Madhav said it was a surgical strike and an achievement of the Modi government then we might all loudly applaud it. But why the then DGMO described it as that when it is not that is something I am unable to fathom?

I have known several DGMO’s and they were all distinguished soldiers with great integrity and very precise in their speech. A DGMO has always got to be that. The job demands that they are clinically accurate in making an assessment and surgically precise in determining an action. I have no doubt that this DGMO too is of that lineage. But sometimes they have to act out a script. However one retired DGMO loudly exclaimed it was a brilliant surgical strike to be rewarded with a paid sinecure as head of a military think-tank.

Calling what happened as surgical strikes is clearly political. How a bunch of cross border raids became surgical strikes is still a story waiting to be told? But the term surgical strike has gained a currency, like counterfeit notes often do. #innlive

What NDA Stands For, About The Rajya Sabha Rule Book And Reality Of ‘Achhe Din’ Promise

The selected cartoons appeared first in other publications, either in print or online, or on social media, and are credited appropriately.

In today’s featured cartoon, Remy Fernandes takes a jab at the acronym of the National Democratic Alliance.

R. Prasad | Economic Times

R. Prasad on the chaos that erupted in the Rajya Sabha Sunday during the passage of farm bills, with the Opposition MPs protesting and tearing up the rule book.

Kirtish Bhatt| BBC Hindi

Kirtish Bhatt takes a swipe at the manner in which farm bills were passed in Parliament without debate.

Alok Nirantar | Twitter

Alok Nirantar muses on the essential ingredient missing from all the bills being passed for the welfare of farmers.

Here’s Sandeep Adhwaryu’s take on Prime Minister Modi’s promise of ‘achche din’ (good days) that now haunts everyone, from the unemployed to the farmers. #innlive

ASKfm Launched ‘Paid Subscription’ On 10th Anniversary

ASKfm, a social network for anonymous questions and answers, celebrated its 10th birthday in June. The app and its users have both changed a lot over the years. The network introduced shoutouts that let you send questions to people in your area. The launch of an internal currency significantly increased the level of communication between users. In 2019 the app also launched a VIP program to reward its most active users.

“One year is just the beginning for the VIP program. It marked the start of a new era of development for ASKfm. Thanks to the new incentives for active users we managed to bring the users’ engagement and loyalty to a new level. Higher activity of the experienced users also helped us attract new ones and improve the platform’s image among young people. Because of the program, users started to communicate more actively, thus expanding their social circles much further than just friends and classmates. Our most active askers now chat with each other literally all day and night” – shared the VIP program director Maryna Skuratovska. 

During this year VIP users got access to a few exclusive features such as secret answers and a personal progress bar that shows your weekly statistics in the app. The VIP program has already been joined by 147,5 thousand askers from more than 50 countries. A special motivation system in the app let the VIP askers earn over 378 million coins, while the algorithms that promoted VIP-profiles got the users 2.4 million followers and 890,5 million likes.

Besides, askers in Russia, Germany, and Italy got a chance to convert the coins they earned into real money. In the first year alone they managed to earn more than 4000 dollars by answering questions just like they did before.

To commemorate its 10th birthday, the app launched a paid subscription for users who want to use the exclusive features, but aren’t ready to meet the conditions of the VIP program. The subscription package includes a VIP badge, bonus coins, secret answers feature, and a chance to use ASKfm without ads. The app’s team shared the results of the first month of the program: more than 75% of subscribed users have already renewed their monthly subscriptions.

ASKfm is the only global social network for anonymous questions and answers that connects more than 215 million people in over 150 countries.

The social network was created in 2010 for anonymous questions and answers from your friends, influencers, and celebrities. #innlive