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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

20 Reasons to Study the Media

 Are you interested in studying media? Why? If you are really interested in studying media, you have your own answer for this query. We are living in a media driven society where media take part of a dominating role in our decisions. In such an environment, did you ever think about the relevance of analyzing media content? While we try to analyse critically, we will make a conclusion that these media content are consciously developed. It covers almost all aspects of day to day life. 
Why do you are interested in media education? If you pause this question to Chris M Worsnop the answer will be a list of 20 reasons:
1. Like history, because the media interpret the past to us to show us what has gone into making us the way we are.
2. Like geography, because the media define for us our own place in the world.
3. Like civics, because the media help us to understand the workings of our immediate world, and our individual roles in it.
4. Like literature, because the media are our major sources of stories and entertainment.
5. Like literature, because the media require us to learn and use critical thinking skills.
6. Like business, because the media are major industries and are inextricably involved in
7. Like language, because the media help define how we communicate with each other.
8. Like science and technology, because the media always adopt the leading edge of
modern technological innovation.
9. Like family studies, because the media determine much of our cultural diet and weave part of the fabric of our lives.
10. Like environmental studies, because the media are as big a part of our everyday
environment as are trees, mountains, rivers, cities and oceans.
11. Like philosophy, because the media interpret our world, its values and ideas to us.
12. Like psychology, because the media help us (mis)understand ourselves and others.
13. Like science, because the media explain to us how things work.
14. Like industrial arts, because the media are carefully planned, designed and constructed products.
15. Like the arts, because the media bring us pleasure, and we experience all the arts
through the media as no other age has ever done.
16. Like politics, because the media bring us political and ideological messages all the time - yes - all the time.
17. Like rhetoric, because the media use special codes and conventions of their own
languages that we need to understand and control—or we stand in danger of being
controlled by them.
18. Like drama, because the media help us understand life by presenting it as larger-than-
life, and compel us to think in terms of the audience.
19. Like Everest, because they are there.
  These reasons are an eye opener to media educators to understand the wast and wide scope of the subject.

Friday, February 28, 2014


Ratheesh kaliyadan
Almost all counties and villages of India are thirsty and hunger for power along their township/city counterparts. Everybody needs power to energise day to day life with ample facilities. People are ambitious. If we get one, strive for hundred then shift to thousands. Ambitions and aspirations add more and more the need and demand of power. The current scene puts forth shocking data where we are. In India, 50 crore people have access to less than six hours of electricity every day.  Indian villages reel under immense energy poverty. Almost 50 per cent of households in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Odisha and Jharkhand are yet to be connected to the grid. Governments have to look forward for an energy revolution in these areas.  
Regarding cooking, 70 crore people do not have access to clean cooking fuel. Most of them depend bio-mass - fire woods and materials like cow dung- for cooking. Poor people living in villages are affected. Kitchen becomes killing places where mortality plays in its top position due to internal air pollution. This is the second biggest reason for mortality. The world Health Organisation statistics underline this pathetic situation. According to B K Chaturvedi, member, Planning Commission of India that the highest cause of premature deaths in India is due to asphyxiation because of household air pollution caused by cooking with bio-mass. Use of dirty cooking fuel has been responsible for killing 3.5 million women and children each year, according to a 2013 International Energy Agency report. India holds nearly 25 per cent of the global population without electricity and 31 per cent without clean cooking fuel.

Traditional power sectors and energy sources face critical decline due to multifaceted issues. It is sure that the traditional energy sources cannot meet the upcoming demands in power sector. Then what is the remedy? It was the big question before the speakers and listeners in the Fourth Anil Agarwal Dialogue on Energy Access and Renewable Energy, by Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi. Everybody agree with the view that we need to understand how to mainstream clean energy and energy access across the country.
 Sunita Narain, director general, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) put forward an idea of decentralised renewable energy systems could offer the key to solving this state of energy poverty, in her opening remarks of the dialogue.

Renewables: The agenda for change
The growth of renewable energy has changed the energy business in India. In the past 10 years, installation of renewable energy for electricity has grown at an annual rate of 25 per cent; as of January 2014, it had reached 30,000 megawatt (MW).

According to the Integrated Energy Policy, 2006, India is projected to have 30,000 MW of wind and 10,000 MW of solar power by 2031-32. The 12th Five Year Plan (FYP) document has projected a four-fold increase in the installation of renewable power by 2021-22. The resource allocation in the 12th FYP reflects the priority accorded by the government to renewable energy. Of the total plan outlay for the energy sector -- Rs 10,94,938 crore -- during 2012-2017, the outlay for MNRE is Rs 33,003 crore, or about three per cent of the total plan outlay. However, this is not enough. Due to policy paralysis and uncertainty, the period of 2011-12 saw a significant dip in investments in this sector – from US $13 billion in 2011 to US $6.5 billion in 2012.
For Dr. Farooque Abdulla, Union minister for new and renewable energy has no doubt that the Renewable Energy is the future not only in India, but the whole world. He pointed sharply that the forest should not be ruined in the name of renewable energy. To tackle the issue, he suggests roof top solar panels. Every house becomes power houses today or tomorrow. It  is a must to provide better education, health, and life. India has to stand over its own foot in energy scene, so renewable energy is a vital part of it. But the current scene is not so much positive, because big business tycoons in energy business import third rate products from china and other countries and imprinting the Indian organizations’ brand name over it. We have to develop indigenous technology and promote research and development projects to make available of renewable energy products cheap. We have to proactive in this sector. Dr. Abdulla became emotional when he joined with the aspirations of the environmental enthusiasts and commented: “I may not see it, or my children, but we have to work for clean energy and clean fuels. Insha alla, I hope I will see the lights shining over my tomb one day which is working by clean energy and connected to the grid.” Let’s have a shift of wind mills from land to coasts. The dream is to make an energy efficient nation without depending other nations, he added.

Renewable Energy is on the center stage of discussion among environmentalists and policy makers because it is the clean energy. All advocacies for Renewable Energy lay behind this single point. At policy level India is committed to reduce green house gas emissions through proclaiming the commitment through Kyoto Protocol and other related climate change mitigations. But large scale renewable energy projects can have major ecological impacts if they are installed without proper environmental assessment and management. Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general points out that “Renewable energy must benefit the local community -- citizens must have the first right over electricity from renewables and they must benefit from the installation of renewable energy on their land.”

 It is not only a question of power generation but should be question of uplifting of the poor. Whenever discussions start up, people will go behind subsidies. Does it help us? Subsidy should be there but limit it to the poor ones. Governments should not go for subsidy for middle class and elite those who are capable to pay for energy consumption. Big business players are now being focused in clean energy business. Oil giants and others are entering to the field. Government policies also support the same partnership in coming years. Then there will be a scope for big scam in the sector. It is the environmentalists’ duty and right to be the watch dogs in this regard and assure renewable energy for the support to the poor in making a better life. This is a big challenge before the governments, industrialists and the watch dogs.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


 Ratheesh Kaliyadan
Research Scholar
Assam University
Prof. (Dr.) K.V. Nagaraj
Pro Vice Chancellor
Assam University


Information Communication technology programmes revolutionized almost all walks of human life including the education sector. To address the political and cultural challenges, a new strategy is needed. The fifth estate provides a platform for innovative style of learning. The Mediavist approach will help to tackle the cultural impacts. This approach is an intervention of media in education sector with a critical outlook. To assure learner autonomy in learning in a highly sophisticated mobile application environment, Learner Responsive Pedagogy is needed. This pedagogy is a practical implication of mediavism. The Mediavist approach and Learner Responsive Pedagogy enhances to meet the challenges of edupolises, the public private partnership model promoted by capitalists.
Key words: Mediavism, Learner Responsive Pedagogy, Mobile learning applications, Edupolis


 Ratheesh Kaliyadan
Research Scholar
Assam University
Prof. (Dr.) K.V. Nagaraj
Pro Vice Chancellor
Assam University


 Information Communication Technology (ICT) scrawled on the ground of education in its first phase with a purely negative potential for teaching-learning. The curriculum has been limited to basic computer literacy that focusing on operating system and office suite which have little pedagogical relevance and transacted by 'computer teachers'.  Thus the first generation of Information Communication Technology bypassed the regular teaching staff in the school. The second generation has a wide acceptance in almost all sectors including education.
Educationists have been involved in designing second generation Information Communication Technology programmes. Now Information Communication Technology programmes serve to achieve larger educational goals, rather than being an end in them, curriculum pertains to regular mainstream subjects, transacted by regular school teachers and teacher educators. During the first generation operations, there was a fog of fear that this technology may expel the teachers from class rooms and appoint some technical operators. The fear vaporized in the second generation developments which exposed its strength in class room interventions. The Information Communication Technology trainers did not undermine the chalk-talk method used in classrooms, but rather encouraged the use of Information Communication Technology programmes as an additional tool for teaching-learning. Politically the popularization of Information Communication Technology developments has its own agendas. Critical media and adult education scholars have argued that the media, through the ways they portray characters and issues, both reproduce and challenge hegemonic relationships of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and ableness (Tisdell and Thompson 2007).

Towards the Fifth Estate

The second generation developments in Information Communication Technology opened up a new avenue of linkages. Network is the major characteristics of this generation. The networked individuals play crucial role in the invisible net. It gave way for the ‘fifth estate’ as William H. Dutton named. ‘Networked individuals’ can move across, undermine and go beyond the boundaries of existing institutions. This provides the basis for the pro-social networks that compose what I am calling the ‘Fifth Estate’. These self-selected, Internet-enabled, networked individuals often break from existing organizational and institutional networks that are themselves being transformed in Internet space( William H. Dutton, 2007).

Transformation in all sectors is the major contribution of the fifth estate. It challenged the autocratic and authentic boasts of the fourth estate. Citizen journalists, bloggers, researchers, politicians, government agencies, Non Government Organisations, Right To Information activists and more are putting information online. This information provides a novel source of news as a competing alternative to the Fourth Estate. There are several examples as of Salam Pax, the now famous ‘Baghdad Blogger’ that challenged the authenticity of mainstream media. The blog reports helped to change the media agenda in Iraq war by casting net of a local Iraqi perspective. These kinds of interventions are relevant in education which I may call as mediavism.

Mediavism on the Road

Mass media content is not an innocent revelation. It is a consciously manufactured cultural product. This product plays a key role in creating public opinion and power substitutes. To educators it is a means to equip learners to read their surroundings and cultural notions.  Henry A Giroux (2004) observes cultural studies becomes available as a resource to educators Cultural studies, pedagogy, and responsibility who can then teach students how to look at the media (industry and texts), analyze audience reception, challenge rigid disciplinary boundaries, critically engage popular culture, produce critical knowledge, or use cultural studies to reform the curricula and challenge disciplinary formations within public schools and higher education.

The third party reading or observation will not help learners properly to address the issues. The learners should be equipped to be part and parcel of the media interventions by using the same tools. Here a critical approach is necessary in finding subjects, choosing information, stating the problem and present it in a platform. This ‘news making’ process will not be an impartial attempt. Instead it is a conscious immersion in media world through education. It is an alternate way for expression. In an interview, Henry A Giroux claimed that “The educational force of the wider culture is now the primary site where education takes place, what I have called public pedagogy—modes of education largely produced, mediated, and circulated through a range of educational spheres extending from the new media and old broadcast media to films, newspapers, television programs, cable TV, cell phones, the Internet, and other commercial sites. Ideologically, the knowledge, values, identities, and social relations produced and legitimated in these sites are driven by the imperatives of commodification, privatization, consuming, and deregulation. At stake here is the creation of a human being that views him or herself as a commodity, shopper, autonomous, and largely free from any social obligations. This is a human being without ethics, a concern for others, and indifferent to human suffering. And the pedagogy that promotes these values and produces this subject is authoritarian and ruthless in its production of savage economic relations, a culture of cruelty, and its deformation of democratic social bonds. One could say that capitalist culture has produced a predatory culture of control and cruelty that promotes vast forms of suffering and repression and it does this increasingly through cultural apparatuses that promote widespread symbolic violence”.

  I hereby coin the term Mediavism to explain the educational interventions in media scene by combining two words viz. media and activism. The activist mode and mood of content generation is the prime probability of this approach. The Mediavist approach enables students to post logical queries and familiarise them with private debates as precursors to public engagement as critical questioning skills are mastered. More so, this user-friendly ambience renders informing possible through presentation of queries, which would not otherwise be raised in educators due to perceived psycho-social, cognitive, and semiotic fragilities like feelings of alienation, limited self-confidence, and constrained linguistic competence.

The politics of education become active here. “Politicizing education cannot decipher the distinction between critical teaching and pedagogical terrorism because its advocates have no sense of the difference between encouraging human agency and social responsibility and molding students according to the imperatives of an unquestioned ideological position. Politicizing education is more religious than secular and more about training than educating; it harbors a great dislike for complicating issues, promoting critical dialogue, and generating a culture of questioning” (Henry a Giroux).

The Fifth Estate paves a platform for such an intervention for educators to create and share critical thoughts. John Dewey, one of the founders of The New School,emphasized that education does not only take place in schools and that it ought to prepare learners for democratic citizenship. Institutional learning should not foster individualism but rather emphasize community development, which is the basis for the improvement of society. Ivan illich also observed that we have all learned most of what we know outside school. For Freire, pedagogy was deeply connected to social change.  Informal social networks are crucial in that process, connecting students with their peers and with teachers.

 Mediavism is the way for sharing the critical perspectives in a mediated environment. Mediavism never neglect or undermine the traditional strategies like chalk and board, lectures, hand written assignments, group discussions or group works. All these attempts are complementary to this approach. The advent of the World Wide Web brought about an information revolution (Web 1.0). The Web 2.0 is characterized by social collaboration and user-customization with the social networking sites. The canvas of collaborative and cooperative learning is expanded from a small group inside the class to a global network.  Even a highly introvert student get a chance to express feelings and share views through the fifth estate platforms. The mediavism style will shift from desk tops to mobile applications very fast. Jackson (2012) argues that there will never be a Web 3.0 because the next paradigm shift of the Internet is mobile rather than desktop browser-based.

Learner Responsive Pedagogy

To practice the mediavist approach in class rooms through mobile applications, a pedagogical stand is a necessity. Assurance of learner autonomy and freedom is the heart of this approach. Learners are responsible for all sharing where they get an authenticity. It also enhances every learner to make responses. “Pedagogy is not simply about the social construction of knowledge, values, and experiences; it is also a performative practice embodied in the lived interactions among educators, audiences, texts, and institutional formations. Pedagogy, at its best, implies that learning takes place across a spectrum of social practices and settings” (Henry A Giroux).

Learner Response Pedagogy is the strategy to safe guard the learner autonomy in a more personalized educational environment. Mobile applications enhance the learner to gather information and share them constantly with an intimate feeling. Just as the post-modern society emerged out of modernism, we are experiencing a transformation of Web 2.0 into post Web 2.0 mobile social media. This “brings the potential to appropriate new pedagogies that harness the potential of mobile social media to create powerful situated, authentic, and informal learning experiences and bridge these into formal learning” (Vavoula, 2007).

Jessica Irish in the essay, Learning on Mobile Platforms argue: While I do ask my students to turn off their phones in class, many of my favorite ways to use technology in teaching embrace the ubiquity of the con­temporary cell phone. Learning happens equally, if not more, outside the classroom, and finding a way to have students begin to use their phones towards their broader learning seems a worthwhile effort.

Smart phones through mobile applications have relevance in education sector. This tool could be utilized fruitfully in media education and in other disciplines. The Learning and Teaching Development Fellows (LTDF)  Journalism Communities of Practice (COP)  led to reinventing the case study approach to modeling the use of mobile social media in class. The intention was  to get students to collate, curate, and critique actual source content around a mobile social media incident in Journalism.

Students chose a breaking incident of mobile social media and used Storify.com either on their iPads or laptops to collate and comment upon Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Flickr and other mobile social media, creating an annotated rich media story of the event or incident. The assignment question became: “How if at all have social media altered the way journalists and public relations practitioners interact?  Use real examples from at least three social media platforms as well as academic sources to back up your arguments” (Assessment schedule 2012). This was then either published to their own blog, or their own Storify.com site for their lecturer to mark.

Students interacted directly with rich mobile social media, developing creative rich-media stories that required metacognitive critiques. There was a considerably higher level of critique and creativity evidenced in the Storify.com project in comparison to that evidenced in previous essay versions of the assessment. Students used Storify to express and create very personalized critiques of the impact of social media on Journalism. The best essays made the most of the platform and the freedom to include multimedia examples.
These students also altered their style and the way they wrote into the examples to make their essays fit the medium. Further, by using a mixture of books, journal articles and discussions on social media, these students were able to explore the question far more deeply than most of those who stuck to the more traditional format. Initial feedback from students suggests they enjoyed the opportunity to explore social media in a way other that for social purposes. Most also realize the need to be confident using social media for their future role as professional communicators.  (Cochrane, T., Antonczak, L., Gordon, A., Sissons, H. & Withell, A. 2012).

Learner  Responsive Pedagogy has two tier implications. First, the learner can share feelings and findings through mobile applications as the above quoted experience narrates. Second, the educators can create a data bank to transfer specific information or curriculum needs. Teaching notes and texts could be transferred. Edusanchar designed by Dr. Mangesh Karandikar is an example for transferring media education content through mobile application. Redefining mobile learning is their motto. The mobile application provides the concepts, key terms for media and communication related studies.

Mediavism through Learner Responsive Pedagogy is a threat to edupolises which are the power house of capitalistic education in a public private partnership flagship. “As I have stressed repeatedly, academics, teachers, students, parents, community activists, and other socially concerned groups must provide the first line of defense in protecting public and higher education as a resource vital to the moral life of the nation, and open to people and communities whose resources, knowledge, and skills have often been viewed as marginal” (Giroux, 2004).

Implementing mobile technology tools into curricula is more diffi­cult than desktop web-based tools because the industry enforces individual ownership of devices, complicating the purchase of devices and service plans. Educators need the community to donate labor to open-source tools. Governments could design public-interest profit incentives (e.g., tax breaks, community access funds, discount subsidies) so carriers and manufacturers donate plenty of bandwidth and devices to non-profit learning institutions (David Carroll). The next education will be focused upon mobile applications with the advent support of the users and designers

Coharane Thomas, A. L. (2012). Hentagogy and mobile social media: post web 2.0 pedagogy. ascilite, (pp. 204-214).
Dotton, W. H. (2007). Through the Network ( of Networks)- the Fifth Estate. Examine schools, University of Oxford .
Giroux, H. A. (2004). Cultural Studies, Public Pedagogy and the Responsibilities of Intellectuals. Communication and critical/Cultural studies , 59-79.
Kaliyadan, R. (2012). Principles of Mass Communication. Koyilandy, Kozhikode, Kerala: Media Analysis & Research Center.
Trebor, S. R. Learning through digital media . In S. R. Trebor. Newyork 10011: The Institution for Distributed Creativity.
Wright, R. R. (2009). Wright, Robin Redmon and 'Popular culture, public pedagogy and perspective transformation: The Avengers and adult learning in living rooms',. Wright, Robin Redmon and Sandlin, Jennifer A.(2009)'Popular culture, public pedagogy and perspective transformation: The AvenInternational Journal of Lifelong Education,28:4 , 533-551.

Architect of Life

Ratheesh Kaliyadan
Narayanji is a blind beggar. He used to sit at the heart of the city. He was bored by repeating same dialogue several times in a day. He wants to say "I am a blind, poor who can't do work as you do". Hearing it, his clients offered some coins. Instead of repeating the dialogue, he posted a board, hosted it behind him. Hardly had he got enough money. The collection was so limited to meet food requirements. 
One fine morning an artist saw the man and the board. He took the board away without his permission. The beggar could not respond or do anything. 
After sometime Narayanji realised that somebody brought the board to him. Still he kept mum. Just after replacing the board the beggar Narayanji felt shower of coins in his metal pot. Now he can manage his family well with the new board. 
Narayanji became curious to know what magic has done by the stranger. He tried to get the person. After tiresome enquiry he found out the artist.
What magic did you do for me? Narayanji asked. The innocence of the old and poor moved the artist. He replied: there is no magic my dear. I just made an alteration to your board. "The world is beautiful. You can see it; but I can't". The words became the architect of the blind beggar and family. ..
Top of Form
Bottom of Form

Do YOU Marry Me!

Ratheesh Kaliyadan
Do you believe in God? Do you offer prayers? If your answer is YES, what will be your prayer!!! Here is a marvelous experience regarding prayers. 
There was a lovely parrot caged in a silver house. She was suffocated by love, care and consideration from her owners. The lady parrot is famous for her good behavior and well tweets. The only complaint with her is one of her famous tweet. When a new guest arrives she will ask: "do you marry me?!” 
The owners insulted with the tweet several times. They planned to deport the lady parrot. But they couldn't because of her lovely nature. She is so much pet to them. The owners began new discussions over the issue. At last they decided to leave the issue to the guruji. Mr. Guruji is a man of parrot who delivers his forecast using the parrot. 
The oldest member of the family approached the guruji. Narrated the issue. Mr. Guruji assured that he will bring them a solution. 
After a week Mr. Guruji visited the house along with a parrot. The parrot closed its eyes. The very first moment, they entered lady parrot repeated its usual tweet:" do you marry me? ".
Then the parrot of guruji outburst that God heard my prayers...

PS: are you married? What do you now think about marriage?

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Sheeba Madanan

Fast food has become ubiquitous in India. Presently the highest prevalence is in the upper-middle income group, but the fastest rise is in the lower-middle income group. Rural India is coming in the grip of junk according to the Integrated Disease Surveillance Report by the National Institute of Medical Statistics reports.

Fast food industry in India is growing at a compound annual rate of 35-40 per cent. Global and national players are fighting it out for a larger share of the pie. According to Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) latest publication, Junk Food Busted: Why and How, the only one losing out is you.

In a brilliant expose and guidebook for students, Director-General of CSE Sunita Narain and Deputy Director-General Chandra Bhushan explain why junk food is so deadly, what is the ‘fat’ problem of the world, why India should worry and why the consumer needs to be careful careful in a fun, non-pedantic fashion.

This colourful and gorgeously illustrated book deconstructs sneaky and aggressive advertisement and marketing strategies aimed at children and teenagers with a subliminal message luring them into buying junk food.

Ms. Narain and Mr. Bhushan point out the loopholes in Indian policy and regulations.  Did you know there is no official definition of junk food?  Most junk food comes in the category of either ‘snack food’ or ‘fast food’, which we have conveniently defined as ready-to-eat food.

The authors are concerned that children are seriously starved of real-time information about these products. Worse still, they know very little about their diet and their implications for their health.

Worldwide, 2.8 million people die each year of excess weight and obesity. India is the diabetes capital of the world. Fat India is even more at risk because their Body Mass Index (BMI) is lower than Caucasian populations.

The book outlines the link between non-communicable diseases and diet, the link between salt and sugar and disease and warns of the looming crisis because of India’s serious salt problem.  It also references previous CSE studies on the presence of pesticides in soft drinks. They also point out that soft drinks and energy drinks also contain caffeine, a mildly addictive stimulant drug.

The CSE study on what transfats do to us is also referenced and the authors list global regulations, WHO recommendations as well as what the Indian government has done to set standards for transfats.

On the question of oil, how do you decide which is the healthiest oil for consumption? According to the authors, the problem is that the Indian oil industry remains poorly regulated and is allowed to mix oils. The book provides a guide to oils and offers valuable suggestions on healthy oils based on ingredients.

According to the authors, the way ahead is to make transfats standards strict enough to hurt, make schools and colleges off-limits for fraud foods, not let ads advise the young, slap a fat tax on junk food, spread the word and watch what you eat.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Ratheesh Kaliyadan
Jails are normally considered to be the Everest of evils. Though the in mates are culprits before law, there are a lot of hearts and minds work hard for some social change. The activities motivate in mates and lead to transformation. Environment is one of the major areas of greening the wounded minds. Kerala jails are shifting their attitude towards the surroundings by producing electric power in a different way. The jails are equipping t shine under solar panels. By the transformative move, jail officials are making history and provide room for mother earth in the minds of both in mates and the general public.
Kerala people depend Kerala State Electricity Board to meet electricity. Apart from other states, Kerala villages and townships use plenty of electricity for various purposes. In another words, the life style of Keralites are redesigned by this power. Jails also use the same energy for their daily activities. A paradigm shift had happened when the authorities decided to utilize the solar energy to convert as electricity. Thus The Central Prison in Thiruvananthapuram has become the first one in the country to depend entirely on clean and renewable solar energy.  The solar energy project at the central prison at Poojappura in Thiruvananthapuram has been set up at a cost of Rs. 7.9 crore.  Street lighting and fans for the block, steam cooking, chappathi making unit and water pumping will be powered by solar energy.  Nearly 229 KW of power is generated by the project.
What are the positives of this change? At first solar power ensures round clock supply of electricity which is a must as far as a jail is concerned. Moreover, it assures twelve hour back up. Secondly it reduced electricity bill at a large extent. The Kerala State Electricity Board has charged Rs. 1.27 crores just before commissioning the solar panel in central prison for electricity.
Is it a unique specialty of poojappura Central Jail? The paradigm shift will be the face value of all the 51   jails. Hope fully, Rs.25.56 crore has en earmarked for this, Alexander Jacob, ADGP (Prisons), said. The Centre had sanctioned Rs.24 crore to mount solar panels on roofs of select prisons to generate electricity The jail department has roped in the services of Keltron and the Agency for Non-conventional Energy and Rural Technology (ANERT) to execute the projects. The effort is to make jails ‘modern’ and eco-friendly’.
There is a byproduct for this shift in Poojappura central jail. The solar system exhausts smoke from the jail campus. Smoke from kitchen was a big issue there. The high walls and closed nature of prison buildings often prevented the quick escape of smoke to the atmosphere. It generated health issues. Respiratory problems were common among prisoners and staff. The solar panels now prevent prisoners and staffs from smoke. The commercial bread and chappathi making unit is rejuvenated by solar power. The speed of production increased. Smoke free kitchen provides new energy also.
Kerala jails point out to an innovative sector in energy production and protection. Various commercial and non commercial activities and educational initiatives lead to a transformation among prisoners. Thanks to educational ventures including Indira Gandhi National Open University, the jails produced highly qualified persons among the inmates who attain Master in Business Administration and PhD. This torch light will have to enlighten other organizations to meet the increasing demand of electric power by tuning the mindset to the solar power.
( This article is supported by the media fellowship instituted by Center for Science and Environment, New Delhi)