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Essay Writing


REPOSTED ON 12th JANUARY 2012

ESSAY WRITING –IMPORTANT POINTS

An essay is generally speaking, a written composition containing an expression of one’s personal opinions or ideas on a subject.

A good essay must hold its readers’ attention from the beginning to the end. For this it must possess certain qualities, which make a piece of writing readable and enjoyable. Here are some of these qualities for you to keep in mind:

First, a good essay shows its writer’s personality in the same way as good manners or pleasing behaviour does. So you have to learn how to write it and spend a lot of time to perfect your style in essay writing. If one wants to learn good manners, one must live with and learn from those who possess them. This is equally true of writing, essay writing in particular. One must study the best models and learn from them. And one must practice the art of writing with patience and great care.

Secondly, every essay depends on two things. These are (a) its subject matter, and (b) its language. To write an essay you require ‘material’—clear ideas based on experience, reading and observation. These ideas have to be put into words and these words must convey what the writer wishes to say. For this he should know the right words and the most appropriate ways to put them together. In other words, an essay calls for ideas that are based on your everyday life or experience or ideas that you have imagined. It next calls for a rich stock of words and of structures (the sentence of the language). Above all, it calls for the ability to put these thoughts and sentences together.

To say that an essay writer must put his thoughts together is to point to another main quality of a good essay—its structure. Every essay has a structure.

A) Part of An Essay

An essay is generally divided into three parts:
1. The Introduction.
2. The Body.
3. The Conclusion.
And each of these requires careful attention.

i) Introduction Paragraph

What is an introduction paragraph?
The Introduction paragraph is the first paragraph of your essay.

What does it do?
It introduces the main idea of your essay. A good opening paragraph captures the interest of your reader and tells why your topic is important.

How do I write one?
The introduction should be designed to attract the reader's attention and give the reader an idea of the essay’s focus. Begin with an attention grabber. The attention grabber you use is up to you, but here are some ideas:

Starting information
This information must be true and verifiable, and it doesn’t need to be totally new to your readers. It could simply be a pertinent fact that explicitly illustrates the point you wish to make. If you use a piece of startling information, follow it with a sentence or two of elaboration.


Anecdote
An anecdote is a story that illustrates a point.
Be sure your anecdote is short, to the point, and relevant to your topic. This can be a very effective opener for your essay, but use it carefully.

You can also provide some background information about your topic. You can use interesting facts, quotations, or definitions of important terms you will use later in the essay. The main idea of the essay is stated in a single sentence called the thesis statement. You must limit your entire essay to the topic you have introduced in your thesis statement. A few sentences explaining your topic in general terms can lead the reader gently to your thesis. Each sentence should become gradually more specific, until you reach your thesis. If the attention grabber was only a sentence or two, add one or two more sentences that will lead the reader from your opening to your thesis statement. Finish the paragraph with your thesis statement.

Topic: Peace in the Middle East
Thesis Statement: The centuries-old conflict in the Middle East goes so deep that any “peace” will probably be temporary.

Example:
“A dog is man’s best friend.” That common saying may contain some truth, but dogs are not the only animal friends whose companionship people enjoy. For many people, a cat is their best friend. Despite what dog lovers may believe, cats make excellent house pets.

ii) Supporting Paragraphs (Body)
What are supporting paragraphs?
Supporting paragraphs make up the main body of your essay.

What do they do?
They develop the main idea of your essay.

How do you write them?
1. List the points that develop the main idea of your essay.
2. Place each supporting point in its own paragraph.
3. Develop each supporting point with facts, details and examples.

To connect your supporting paragraphs, you should use special transition words. Transition words link your paragraphs together and make your essay easier to read. Use them at the beginning and end of your paragraphs.

Examples of transition words that can help you to link your paragraphs together.
a) For listing different points
First; Second; Third
Example:
In the first place, people enjoy the companionship of cats.
In the second place, cats are civilized members of the household.
Lastly, one of the most attractive features of cats as house pets is their ease of care.

b) For counter examples
However; Even though; On the other hand; Nevertheless

c) For additional idea
Another; In addition to; Related to; Furthermore; Also

d) To show cause and effect
Therefore; Thus; As a result of; Consequently

Example:
Cats are more particular about personal cleanliness than people are. In addition, cats can be left at home alone for a few hours without fear. Unlike some pets, most cats will not destroy the furnishings when left alone.

Like all good paragraphs, each supporting paragraph should have a topic sentence, supporting sentences, and a summary sentence.

iii) Summary Paragraph
What is a summary paragraph?
The summary paragraph comes at the end of your essay after you have finished developing your ideas. The summary paragraph is often called a “conclusion”.

What does it do?
It summarises or restates the main idea of the essay. You want to leave the reader with a sense that your essay is complete.

How do you write one?
1. Restate the strongest points of your essay that support your main idea.
2. Conclude your essay by restating the main idea in different words.
3. Give your personal opinion or suggest a plan for action.

Use a summary statement rather than phrases like the following: “In summary…,” “To conclude…,” “To summarise…,” or “In closing….” These are too obvious and vague to be effective. Use a transitional phrase, which summarises a point in your essay instead.

Examples:
The benefits outweigh the dangers. Obviously. But are the numerically superior benefits worth the heavy price man has to pay? Reliance on the computer system is getting heavier by the minute in every field of activity or branch of knowledge. Is such seemingly innocuous reliance a healthy one? Wouldn’t man become a robot, losing his mental faculties gradually but surely, losing his individuality, losing his freedom? Only time can tell.

As we have seen, poverty is a known contributor to crime; therefore, it should not be discounted when considering ways to prevent crime.

B) Writing Essays

i) Prewriting Stage

The prewriting stage is when you prepare your ideas for your essay before you begin writing. Do not start writing at once. You will find it easier to write your essay if you build an outline first.

Six Prewriting Steps:

1. Think carefully about what you are going to write. Ask yourself: What question am I going to answer in this paragraph or essay? How can I best answer this question? What is the most important part of my answer? How can I make an introductory sentence (or thesis statement) from the most important part of my answer? What facts or ideas can I use to support my introductory sentence? How can I make this paragraph or essay interesting?

2. Write out your answers to the above questions. You do not need to spend a lot of time doing this; just write enough to help you remember why and how you are going to write your paragraph or essay. In a short essay, you can deal with a very few points only. It is of no use to write down a lot of things that have nothing to do with the subject. If you do so, the result will be a bad essay.

3. Write down facts that will help you to answer your question. (Make sure the facts you are writing are related to the exact question you are going to answer in your paragraph or essay.)

4. Write down your own ideas. Ask yourself: what else do I want to say about this topic? Why should people be interested in this topic? Why is this topic important?

5. Find the main idea of your paragraph or essay. Choose the most important point you are going to present. If you cannot decide which point is the most important, just choose one point and stick to it throughout your paragraph or essay.

6. Organise your facts and ideas in a way that develops your main idea. Once you have chosen the most important point of your paragraph or essay, you must find the best way to tell your reader about it. Look at the facts your have written. Look at your own ideas on the topic. Decide which facts and ideas will best support the main idea of your essay. Once you have chosen the facts and ideas you plan to use, ask yourself which order to put them in the essay.

ii) Writing Stage
The writing stage is when you turn your ideas into sentences.

Four Writing Steps:
1. For the introduction, write the thesis statement and give some background information.
2. Develop each supporting paragraph and make sure to follow the correct paragraph format.
3. Write simple sentences to express your meaning. Use simple words; be clear as well as brief.
4. Focus on the main idea of your essay.

iii) Editing Stage
The editing stage is when you check your essay for mistakes and correct them. Make sure that your handwriting is clear and legible. The examiner may not have enough time to take pains to read each and every word carefully. An illegible handwriting might only put off his interest in reading your essay even though it might be good.

Editing Steps:
a) Grammar and Spelling
1. Check your spelling
2. Check your grammar.
3. Read your essay again.
4. Make sure each sentence has a subject.
5. Make sure your subjects and verbs agree with each other.
6. Check the verb tenses of each sentence.
7. Make sure that each sentence makes sense.

b) Style and Organisation
1. Make sure your essay has an introduction, supporting paragraphs, and a summary paragraph.
2. Check that you have a thesis statement that identifies the main idea of the essay.
3. Check that all your paragraphs follow the proper paragraph format.
4. Ensure that your essay is interesting.

C) Assessment/Evaluation Criteria

One key reason for students not achieving the marks that they are aiming for when writing essays is that they do not really understand quite what their examiner is expecting them to do. Content is the main criterion for assessment, but note can also be taken of presentation.

Content is concerned with issues such as:

● Relevance of the answer to the question.
● Breadth of the essay
● Extent of background reading/knowledge.
● Understanding, structure and organization of material.
● Details of the information contained within the essay.
● Use of evidence and quality of argument.
● Critical analysis of material.
● Evidence of imagination, insight and synthesis.
● Appropriateness and accuracy of references.

Presentation is concerned with issues such as:
spelling, punctuation, grammar, writing style and legibility.

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SELECTED TOPICS—SECTION ONE
Note: A few essays are given here. Candidates may present the answer in the examination in their own words within the prescribed number of words.



1. POVERTY ALLEVIATION

BACKGROUND

Eradication of poverty has long been the overarching objective of Indian economic development. But even after fifty years of planning, more than a fourth of our population is still living below extremely modest poverty line.

Looking back at the Plans, we see that except for the first Five Year Plan, every other Five Year Plans have envisaged more than 5 percent growth in national income per year. But none of these goals have been reached. Till 1980-81, our average rate of growth moved around 3.5 percent per annum. It is this massive failure to achieve rapid growth that is the root cause of our failure to eliminate poverty.

Besides relying on the strategy of rapid growth, we also adopted other poverty alleviation policies like transfers of various kinds that were supposed to augment the earned income of poor households. The two main transfer programmes in India are the Public Distribution System (PDS) and the provision of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS).

There are several income augmenting programmes as well. The Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP), Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA), Training of Youth and Self-Employment Programmes (now merged into Swarn Jayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojna) and two public works programmes for employment generation, namely Jawahar Rozgar Yojna (JRY) and the Employment Assurance Scheme (EAS), Area based programmes include Drought Prone Areas Programme (DPAP) and Watershed Programmes. Some of these programmes overlap with each other.

On these programmes, spending by the Central government account for around 8.5 per cent of the Central plan budgetary expenditure or a modest 1.45 percent of the GDP (1997-2002), which is inadequate as compared to the magnitude of the problem.

STRATEGY TO ALLEVIATE POVERTY

1. Adopt pro-poor growth strategy, which create rapidly expanding job opportunities in the rural areas.
2. Address the inefficiency and inequity in the health and education sector by involving NGOs.
3. Empower panchayats in decision – making.
4. Promote faster agricultural growth by expanding irrigation watershed management and land reforms.
5. Expand employment programme such as EGS, FAS, JRY etc all over the country so that poor get income support.
6. Expand the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) for the reduction of mortality and poverty.
7. Adopt midday meals programme all over the country to reduce poverty and encourage school attendance.
8. Expand group-based micro – credit - scheme to cover the entire country.


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2. Sex Education--Relevance and Challenges


The term ‘sex education’ has a positive connotation, projecting a mature society reflecting a modern, healthy mind open to discussion and awareness of sex as a boon and bane in an individual’s life.

The long-prevalent myopic attitude of society towards sex needs to be shunned in the changing times. Today sex education is gaining ground among all sections and age groups with the realisation that with the dynamic transformation of our surroundings and its effect on our mentality and attitude.

The underlying cause of this awareness is the import of new ideas, tastes and habits through the media and cultural interaction, leading to perceptible changes in our values and attitudes. The modern outlook has changed our perception to a large extent.

The one important ingredient for developing modernity is ‘freedom’. No doubt, freedom makes an individual mature, rational and bold, fulfilling one’s most cherished desire to be happy by doing things the way one wishes. But freedom and modernity require a balanced approach. Growing minds especially fail to channelise freedom in the right direction and their immature decisions run the risk of mentally and physically destroying them. Their immaturity and half-knowledge breeds social problems of unmarried mothers, sexually transmitted diseases, child abuse, rape etc. This increasing malaise in society has drawn everybody’s attention and must be remedied.

This is where sex education steps in to enlighten young minds and people at large, the root cause of their problems being ignorance or half-knowledge about sex. Sex has never been a comfortable subject of discussion in our society, but the completely of our present-day life demands maturity in thinking and action from every citizen, especially our budding flowers, children. Children are the nation’s greatest assets and their care is the greatest investment in the future of society.

Children by nature are very inquisitive and their intelligence and curiosity have shot up due to the increasing exposure to different mediums of communication. To substantiate a child and adolescent’s knowledge for sex, one needs to delve into a growing child’s psychology. A developing mind is confronted with environmental images which encompass a range of human life activities and problems faced in parental, family, societal and peer relations. An ignorant mind at the growing state is unable to grapple with the transformation taking place within himself and the attitudinal changes in society. Biological change is accompanied by a growing mental faculty which tries to reason out everything under the sun.

This psychology is now new; in fact, it has been ever-present. But it is now being studied as an important stage in personality development for the simple reason that the complex nature of societal relations demands awareness and maturity for our healthy survival and happiness.

The new sexual ethos has inherent problems. Indulgence in sexual activity in the absence of full knowledge results in ugly consequences, be it untimely pregnancy leading to mental distress or deadly sexually transmitted disease.

Sex education helps to build a sound and well developed personality both in adults and children. Currently there is a highly prejudiced opinion about AIDS and TB in India. While the curiosity of young minds regarding various things is satiated to an appreciable degree by our elders and parents, the issue of biological changes resulting in different behaviour, attitudes and desires is covered up unconvincingly or ignored with a hush-hush attitude. Raising such questions is considered a digression of decent limits. The silence and false replies of parent’s results in making the child feel guilty of such queries.

A questioning mouth can be quietened, but not the mind which can flee unchecked in any direction. Thus a growing child tries to satisfy his queries through friends, media, the Internet, etc. All this leads to inadequate knowledge which is far more dangerous, than ignorance. The inhibitions regarding sex need to be done away with for the benefit of society because it will empower minds to take steps judiciously.

Because sex education is new to our society, it is beset with challenges, the toughest being its very non-tangible nature. The underlying challenge to the new approach is the thinking of human beings. Many adults still find it unacceptable and are unable to come out of their rigid mental construct regarding sex. The hurdles are usually parents themselves. Their attitude towards their ward should be one of friendship, making the child feel at ease and not like a stranger during the growing stage, left to fend for himself.

The positive aspect is that these hurdles of sex education are not insurmountable. While its non-tangible nature cannot be fought with laws and weapons, the skilled persistent effort of public spirited citizens, organizations and academic institutions can go a long way in giving results.

Certainly there is hope and conviction that enlightenment regarding this subject can save children and the masses at large from deviation. Efforts in this direction are increasing with perceptible results. But the positive results are confined mostly to the metros. It is incessant effort by all sections that will help spread knowledge into every nook and corner of the country. The avenues of sex education will play a significant role in keeping our values and culture intact, without which we stand the risk of losing our identity as a morally strong nation.

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3. TV – An Addiction


Television is one of the major miracles of Science and has revolutionalised small human outlook. But TV, which was once meant for education as well as entertainment, has become an addiction today. With cable TV beaming 24-hour programmes through different channels, it has become an addiction for most.

The educational content is sorely missing from TV programmes today. The young and the old alike are glued to their TV sets day in and day out. Social intercourse, outdoor activities and children’s studies have all taken a back seat to TV programmes. Guests are not welcome when one’s favourite serial is on; telephones are often kept off the hook when one is engrossed in the trials and tribulations of one’s favourite characters in a soap opera. All this has truly turned TV viewers into couch potatoes. We have no time for ourselves as well as for others. We plan our work schedules and outings keeping in view our favourite TV programmes. For children, students back home from the school, TV is a must – they would like to take lunch with only TV on. The reading habit has virtually disappeared from the lives of school-going children as well as adults. Flickering images have become our window to the world of information and entertainment today, thus proving the truth underlying the statement that viewing TV programmes has made us all couch potatoes. We are paying a very heavy price for this idiot box.

The programmes include exaggerated and meaningless advertisements meant for promoting the sales of consumer goods, most of which could be termed as luxuries in a developing country like ours. In the name of comedy, vulgar serials are telecast. Nearly 80 percent of the programmes are cinema-oriented and of no practical value to the viewers. Infidelity, adultery, cheating, womanizing, drinking, indulging in anti-social activities, corrupt police and government servants, terrorists, black marketers, hoarders, drug peddlers, etc., are the main characters of these serials. Contract killing, murders, rape scenes, offering and accepting of bribes for leaking out state secrets, etc., are shown in an explicit manner to the viewers, most of whom are children in their formative stage. In every episode, hardly 10 minutes are devoted for the story of the serial. The rest of the slotted time is lapped up by advertisers who are called the sponsors, and pay crores of rupees for the time that they get. The advertisements are forced on the viewers, and the same ads are repeated so many times during the day that one gets fed up. Even the contents of these advertisements are highly objectionable.

Apart from studies, sports have been a big casualty due to TV addiction of the children and the youth. In small sized rooms, constant TV viewing causes permanent damage to the eyes. Late night TV viewing adversely affects the health. This is a national loss. Social and community life is another casualty. People are driven to pigeon holes called homes with no outside link. People today accept anything and everything in the name of entertainment, because TV brings it home to them inexpensively.

In our country there are few prime time programmes produced for students. Informative programmes like the UGC’s special newscasts and bulletins appear in the afternoon or at late nights and students find themselves either at schools, colleges or in bed during these programmes. Channels like Discovery and National Geographic are few and far between. However, television is not a bad medium which creates only a negative impact on children, for this right programmes have to be telecast at the right time and in the right way. This has not been realized in our country and we can hold the electronic media responsible for this because of its deterioration in programme planning and objectives in recent years.

Our lives are centred round the various TV programmes that have made as dull and listless. Undoubtedly TV has become an addiction in modern times and the sooner we get out of this habit, the better it will be for all of us. It is high time that the intelligentsia; social workers, parents and other responsible citizens, rose in protest against the manner in which the powerful medium is being misused. Unless this trend is arrested, the country would be ruined one day, as the children and youth would have knowledge only about films and nothing else.

To conclude, TV viewing is not that bad. This scientific infotainment invention is just like a knife, which can be used for cutting fruit and vegetables as also for stabbing a person. Much depends on the viewers. If they fall in love with it head long, TV is not to be blamed. Man has to reform himself. Excess of everything is bad. Keeping late hours at night no: only affects the punctuality of students but elders too don’t leave their bed till 8 in the morning with their heads heavy due to constant exposure to serials and eye lids still heavy.

TV has become a handy instrument for westerners to impose their culture on us through invisible and slow doses. The Indian culture will be the biggest victim of western onslaught on our culture via the 245-hour TV viewing with the help of cable network. We have to be wary of this danger which will surely emigrate our cultural values making us western satellites culturally. And then where would India be?


4. Dowry System : A Curse


The practice of giving dowry to girls has been prevalent in our society since times immemorial. Kings used to give territorial rights to the groom, horses, elephants and precious gems and jewellery, etc., to their daughters as dowry. In the times of our grandfathers and fathers, the dowry would consist of some articles of daily use like a bicycle for the groom, sewing machine, portable radio set and other such paraphernalia. And today, in modern times, we have refrigerators, cars, air conditioners and Swiss watches along with cash running into lakhs of rupees being given as dowry.

The kings indulged in the practice of giving dowry because they considered it a matter of prestige for themselves. The more one gave, the more powerful he was considered in regal circles. There hardly used to be any demand from the groom’s side because while deciding whom to marry, they used to give paramount importance to the strategic relations accruing with the marriage. Political, not monetary, considerations used to be important for them. During these times, though women had little rights and weren’t allowed any role outside the four walls of the house, but within the home they were highly respected. This trend stayed put till the early 20th century (before the advent of feminism). A woman was called “Grihalakshmi”. In marriages, dowry was given by the practice was merely considered a custom without which our orthodox ancestors considered the marriage ceremony somewhat incomplete. From the groom’s side, there used to be no specific demand as people were not as money – minded and materialistic as they are now. Moreover, the orthodox people desisted from equating the “Grihalakshmi” with money. There was general respect for fellow people and hence, no one would think of torturing anyone (and that too a girl) for the sake of money.

But, with the advent of industrialization and commercialization, everything began to be weighed in terms of money. Human emotions, values and social inhibitions withered away as money took the centre stage. Humans became a saleable commodity. Just as you can ‘purchase’ a politician for the no-confidence motion, you can ‘auction’ your son for marriage. Since, human hearts have dried up of emotions (the hearts are just like empty pitchers) we witness inhuman torturing, both physical and mental, of the present day daughter-in-law by her in-laws. How inhuman and savage it is when we set someone afire just for insufficient dowry. Today also the girl’s prospective in-laws want her to be a ‘Grihalakshmi’ (Goddess of wealth) but the difference is that they even indulge in beating their Goddess up if she doesn’t satisfy their lust for money.

And unless the ‘Lakshmi’ raises her voice against her tormentors and transforms herself into a Durga / Kali, she is doomed. In a nutshell, what I want to say is that the girls themselves will have to lead the fight against dowry. They should have the courage to walk out of a marriage if it suffocates them like Nisha Sharma and other brave anti-dowry girls. They should have the courage and guts to says an emphatic ‘no’ to a marriage if the prospective in-laws demand dowry. And such courage and self-confidence comes very easy to you if you are financially independent. Hence, girls should not live under the smug satisfaction of being a master in household work. Parents too need to encourage their daughters to venture out into the outside world. They should not be ‘over protective. Some other steps that should be taken to tackle the menace of dowry are as follows :-

(1) Making the existing anti-dowry laws more stringent.
(2) More thrust to the education of the girl child. Some seats in professional colleges may be reserved for girls (on the lines of reservation for SCs and STs).
(3) Creating anti-dowry awareness in children from quite early on, so that they get thoroughly brainwashed against dowry by the time they reach adulthood. The awareness campaign may include essay and poster-making contests, declamation contests and debates, etc. The media should also contribute more in the awareness drive since it is the television that the children listen to the most these days.
(4) The girl’s parents should desist from forcibly giving dowry to their daughter if the prospective in-laws don’t demand it. By indulging in this practice, they work against their own daughter as it may ignite the greed factor in the in-laws.
(5) The grooms too should come forward to play an active role for bringing about social change in this sector. They shouldn’t simply follow their parents meekly. Instead of flaunting their manliness by indulging in beating up their wives, for their failure to bring desired dowry they should instead give proof of it at the time of marriage by standing against their own parents in case they demand dowry from the girl’s side. If need be, they should have the courage to do some plain talk with their parents.


5. Man and Environment


“We human beings can thrive in the future as we did in the past by living in harmony with out natural environment”. - Kofi A. Annan

Opening of eyes in a beautiful morning, visualizing sun’s first rays in the melodious background music of chirping of birds enriches oneself with a great pleasure. God has endowed man with a beautiful gift “environment” where he lives, interacts and spends his lifetime.

“Environment” comprises “all physical, social and cultural factors and conditions influencing the existence and development of an individual.” Air, water, land, plants, trees, flowers, hills, mountains, vegetation, climate, natural resources, and whatever is ostensible in nature is a “part and parcel” of environment. Whether it is water of food, shelter or life-pillar oxygen, medicines or other myriad of necessities, man’s sustainability on earth ultimately remains a “slave” of environment which facilitates him with all his requirements, without asking for anything in return.

But plunging into “reality bites”, man in his ventures and “haste for development” failed to respect nature and tampered with it. Endowed with an intellect, man exploited the environment by a conscious process of ideas due to opacity of vision. In an attempt to sustain the “biotic world”, “abiotic world” was ignored. But, stop there human! Beware! Let your steps be risk! Let your steps fall on right soil!

It is a billion dollar question that when we race ahead on a civilized track, aren’t we losing something in the bargain? The unpalatable truth sustains that today, we are compelled to live in an “endangered environment” caused by our own folly – a world, we thought it just belonged to us and none else and we are paying a dear price with nature reacting violently around us. The sword of “environmental pollution” hanging on our heads has become the order of the day, which may push human beings into “dire straits”.

Greatest truths are the simplest. We feel the pinch of the problem with every breath, no matter, who we are or where we are! The most evil consequences of environmental deterioration can be identified as physical deformation of earth’s crust, a sea change in climatic conditions, alteration of hydraulic regime such as drought, loss of soil fertility and deleting water level.

It is really depressing to know how man is meddling with his “life-mask” – environment. It is poignant to observe that most of the sources of potable water have been contaminated. The “holy Ganga” is no longer “holy”. Yamuna, when it leaves Delhi, projects itself, as a black, coagulated mixture of dirt, sewage and industrial waste. Even the sea has become a “marine slum”. What a poor sketch we have drawn of our environment.

You cannot obviously rape nature and get away with it. Escalating “air pollution”, one direct implication of industrialization, has distorted the heat balance giving birth to “global warming?”. This has caused sea-level to rise and might sooner than later turn islands into “water graves”. Today, man has almost cleared the indispensable “tree” – a life bearer of man. Can anyone justify that in absence of these trees, wherefrom we will get oxygen to inhale? God knows, why man is trying to cut the same branch on which he is sitting?

Adding salt to wounds, modern man has choked, soil with fertilizers and pesticides. Removal of forest cover, overgrazing by cattle, use of plastics and polythene have taken their toll. Cities with mind-bogging millions have distorted the equilibrium between population and natural resources. Appalling conditions of slums stand “testimony” for the price man is paying for urbanization. Even the mountains are under attack – be it the foothills of mighty Himalayas or the Western Ghats. Wild life too is not intact from the clutches of culpable acts of man. Myriad of species have become extinct and many are on the verge of extinction.

Worldwide climate is changing its colours with first “El-Nino” and now “Asian Brown Cloud” – a noxious mixture of ash, soot and aerosols spreading across the whole Asian continent. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in its second assessment report – “Balance of Evidence Suggests a discernible Human Influence on Global Climate”. Now, one question naturally strikes in mind. Did we inherit this “highly degraded environment” from our ancestors? And if we will pass it on to our future generations, will they be able to sustain themselves?

On the horizons of conclusion, I would say that now time is ripe enough to look back at the errors and redeem the past by stirring public consciousness. It would be fallacious to consider “safe and clean environment” – a. “Herculean” task. But, at the same time celebrating Environment Day and establishment of Ministry of Environment only cannot prove a panacea. The problem is not “development versus environment” but both must strike a balance. The entire range of environmental protection measures should be dealt with a combination of command and control methods as well as voluntary regulations, fiscal measures, generation, of awareness and community involvement. Addressing the first UN Conference on Human Environment Day, Mrs. India Gandhi said :

Modern man must re-establish the unbroken link with nature and with life”.

Together we can try to “heal the environment”. So, let’s pave the way for development so that a surge of pride may enrich us all.

“Let’s give earth a change”.



6. Man is a Social Animal


“Man is a moral, accountable being”. - J. R. Lowell

“Wonders are many, an none is more wonderful than man”. - Sophocles

‘Man’, the most wonderful creature on this earth, is the only animal gifted with powers of perception, sense of touch, ability to speak, capacity to think and react. Man is a rational being. He is endowed with stupendous power of reasoning and makes smart decisions. His insatiable passion for comfort made him tame the forces of nature by using his discretion combined with nuggets of knowledge acquired. He is able to live happily in harmony with nature instead of in fear and awe of it.

Gifted with all these qualities, man does not live by eating his bread alone. He has formed a society and he is dependent on the others to survive and live happily.

“Man was for society and is neither capable of living alone, nor has the courage to do so.” - William Blackstone

Man as a part of society is regarded as a social animal. As a social animal, he is bound to follow the moral principles and formal etiquettes in the society. He cannot live as he likes, his every action is ruled by the principles of society. The way he dresses, the way he speaks, the way he behaves, the way he lives, the way he treats others …….. etc. All these are to be social. The word ‘social’ means living in groups but not separately and isolated. So his every action should be accepted by the group in which the lives. Man as a social being finds lot of entertainment when he is associated with others. He finds place to share his views, crack jokes, show his wit and talent. He enjoys the jest with lot of zest. “A song when you are happy and a lift when you are weary” is what a man expects from others. Man as a social animal gets sympathy and support when he is in trouble applause and encouragement when he is victorious and happy.

As a social animal, he is never a free man in the society. He cannot all the way come to a social gathering without clothes and say it is my will and wish.

He should wear some dress accepted by the society. He cannot all the way destroy anything or harm anyone. He is governed by some moral principles of society. Man as a social animal should be benevolent to others but not malevolent. Right from the birth, every action of a man is governed by the social principles i.e., his upbringing, his education, his marriage. In fact, his entire life is under the umbrella of society and its principles.

Man as a social being should be amicable with his fellow beings. He should be loyal to everyone in society. He must show the spirit of brotherhood and friendliness with whom he lives. Man cannot achieve anything alone. He should take the help and cooperation of others to achieve his desired goal. Let us consider an instance in a society : if one wants to build a beautiful farm and grow crops that he likes, he cannot do it by himself. He has to take the support of his fellow beings and toil a lot to realize his goal. Similarly, if he wants to do any social act or work that is very much useful to other people, every one in the society should extend his hand to complete the work.

As a human being, every one expects affection, love and recognition from his fellow beings which cannot be felt unless he is a social animal.

If a man were not to be social animal, we could never expect the world to be a happy place to live. Then every one has his own path and the results would be obnoxious. If a man society then his egoistic tendencies dominate and we cannot expect peace. Man’s lust for power would cause relentless holecaust.

In the present scenario, the spirit of social being has declined. Man by using the machines and destructive arms he invented to fulfill his ego, is trying to dominate the society. He has become egomaniac. If this continues, the essence of humanity and social being will vanish. So the spirit of social being should be induced in everyone and brewed up to live happily.

In a nutshell, man is a social animal, since he is bound by the principles of society and if he were not to be social, then his life would be helpless and hapless.


7. DISCIPLINE IN LIFE


“Discipline is a precious asset. Life without discipline is like a ship without a rudder. It is a rod to check the erring, a brake to control the thoughtless action of man”.

Discipline is implicit obedience to the commands of superior authority, and acceptance of punishment with a smile for any breach thereof. If there is not discipline in life is anarchy will prevail. “Life will become disordered. A little observation will show that from heaven above to earth below everywhere discipline reigns supreme. For instance, the earth, the moon and the stars move round the Sun, according to certain specific rules. Even animals are disciplined under their leader. The life of bees in a hive is a model of disciplined life. Coming down to men, the various organs of his body co-operate with one another and are disciplined for the maintenance, growth and development of the whole body. A savage in the primitive state of society obeys the laws of his clan. Even the civilized man obeyed the head of his family.

The home is the nursery where we receive our first lesson of discipline through obedience to parents and elders. As we pass out of the nursery and enter the portals of an educational institution, discipline becomes a matter of vital importance. That is because student life is a period of preparation for the battle of life. No less is the need for discipline in the playground. A disciplined team, though weak, has a greater advantage over its rival, strong but ill-organised.

In society also there is a great need for discipline. If its individual members are permitted to do whatever they like, society will break up and the onward march of civilization and progress will be arrested. Lack of discipline among the youth of a country may endanger national security.

Nowhere perhaps is discipline more necessary than in the army. Here a moment’s hesitation may mean defeat and death. Difficulty, danger, nay, death itself, should not prevent a soldier from carrying out the orders of his commander, even if they are unjust or wrong.

There are, however, men who are opposed to discipline. They think that it kills originality and takes away initiative. Disciplined people, they say, are just like parts of machinery. A man is not a machine He, therefore, should not be expected to be obedient and orderly. This is a very wrong view of discipline. It is the extreme of authoritarianism. Discipline does not mean that it allows originality. There is no objection to people taking to any work and adopting any thought. The only demand that discipline makes is that you should have a plan and an order.

Discipline is a precious asset. Life without discipline is like a ship without a rudder. It is a rod to check the erring, a brake to control the thoughtless action of man. Its purpose is to see that liberty does not degenerate into licence.



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TV – An Addiction Television is one of the major miracles of Science and has revolutionalised small human outlook. But TV, which was once meant for education as well as entertainment, has become an addiction today. With cable TV beaming 24-hour programmes through different channels, it has become an addiction for most. The educational content is sorely missing from TV programmes today. The young and the old alike are glued to their TV sets day in and day out. Social intercourse, outdoor activities and children’s studies have all taken a back seat to TV programmes. Guests are not welcome when one’s favourite serial is on; telephones are often kept off the hook when one is engrossed in the trials and tribulations of one’s favourite characters in a soap opera. All this has truly turned TV viewers into couch potatoes. We have no time for ourselves as well as for others.

We plan our work schedules and outings keeping in view our favourite TV programmes. For children, students back home from the school, TV is a must – they would like to take lunch with only TV on. The reading habit has virtually disappeared from the lives of school-going children as well as adults. Flickering images have become our window to the world of information and entertainment today, thus proving the truth underlying the statement that viewing TV programmes has made us all couch potatoes. We are paying a very heavy price for this idiot box. The programmes include exaggerated and meaningless advertisements meant for promoting the sales of consumer goods, most of which could be termed as luxuries in a developing country like ours. In the name of comedy, vulgar serials are telecast.


Nearly 80 percent of the programmes are cinema-oriented and of no practical value to the viewers. Infidelity, adultery, cheating, womanizing, drinking, indulging in anti-social activities, corrupt police and government servants, terrorists, black marketers, hoarders, drug peddlers, etc., are the main characters of these serials. Contract killing, murders, rape scenes, offering and accepting of bribes for leaking out state secrets, etc., are shown in an explicit manner to the viewers, most of whom are children in their formative stage. In every episode, hardly 10 minutes are devoted for the story of the serial. The rest of the slotted time is lapped up by advertisers who are called the sponsors, and pay crores of rupees for the time that they get. The advertisements are forced on the viewers, and the same ads are repeated so many times during the day that one gets fed up. Even the contents of these advertisements are highly objectionable.


Apart from studies, sports have been a big casualty due to TV addiction of the children and the youth. In small sized rooms, constant TV viewing causes permanent damage to the eyes. Late night TV viewing adversely affects the health. This is a national loss. Social and community life is another casualty. People are driven to pigeon holes called homes with no outside link. People today accept anything and everything in the name of entertainment, because TV brings it home to them inexpensively. In our country there are few prime time programmes produced for students. Informative programmes like the UGC’s special newscasts and bulletins appear in the afternoon or at late nights and students find themselves either at schools, colleges or in bed during these programmes.

Channels like Discovery and National Geographic are few and far between. However, television is not a bad medium which creates only a negative impact on children, for this right programmes have to be telecast at the right time and in the right way. This has not been realized in our country and we can hold the electronic media responsible for this because of its deterioration in programme planning and objectives in recent years. Our lives are centred round the various TV programmes that have made as dull and listless. Undoubtedly TV has become an addiction in modern times and the sooner we get out of this habit, the better it will be for all of us. It is high time that the intelligentsia; social workers, parents and other responsible citizens, rose in protest against the manner in which the powerful medium is being misused. Unless this trend is arrested, the country would be ruined one day, as the children and youth would have knowledge only about films and nothing else. To conclude, TV viewing is not that bad.

This scientific infotainment invention is just like a knife, which can be used for cutting fruit and vegetables as also for stabbing a person. Much depends on the viewers. If they fall in love with it head long, TV is not to be blamed. Man has to reform himself. Excess of everything is bad. Keeping late hours at night no: only affects the punctuality of students but elders too don’t leave their bed till 8 in the morning with their heads heavy due to constant exposure to serials and eye lids still heavy. TV has become a handy instrument for westerners to impose their culture on us through invisible and slow doses. The Indian culture will be the biggest victim of western onslaught on our culture via the 24-hour TV viewing with the help of cable network. We have to be wary of this danger which will surely emigrate our cultural values making us western satellites culturally. And then where would India be?
Essay Writing Reviewed by sambasivan srinivasan on 8:05:00 PM Rating: 5

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