Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Date With History: Interview with Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir

As I checked my watch, it was quarter past three in the afternoon. “Have I arrived before time?”—I asked the Ahadi soldier standing next to me. He said I was lucky to be allowed entrance to the Diwan-i-Khas, before court time. He stared at my watch for a long time, and asked me what kind of zevar that was. He was rather surprised when I told him that it was a timepiece. I, being a man from the future, had become an object of curiosity in the medieval city of Delhi. Everyone seemed to be interested in meeting the desi babu in angrez clothes, a man who spoke fluent Hindustani and English, and who also carried a bunch of karamati goods with which he did magic. The other day, I was mobbed when I went to Paranthewali Gali at Chandni Chowk. Everyone wanted to touch me and talk to me. I was saved by His Majesty’s personal bodyguards, the Ahadis, when they took me away with them. Ever since then, Mirza Raja Jai Singh, the Emperor’s most trusted officer, has barred me from going out of the Red Fort alone. Actually, I haven’t seen much of the Mirza ever since I taught him to play ‘Solitaire’ card game on my laptop.

I patiently waited for the Emperor to come down for the interview. I was told by the Mir Bakshi (the paymaster of the Empire) that His Exalted Highness is offering the namaz-i-maghrib (the namaz of Maghrib) and would arrive shortly. I looked around the place. It was grander than I had imagined. The most decorative tapestries adorned the walls of the Hall of Private Audience (Diwan-i-Khas). The ceiling was done in gold, with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds giving it a lustrous look. On the right hand corner of the wall, was inscribed in Persian, Amir Khusraw’s famous couplet, “gar firdaus bar ru-i-zameen ast, hamin ast o hamin ast o hamin ast” (if there is a paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, none but this). In the centre of the room, was placed the legendary Takht-i-Taus (Peacock Throne).

At this point, Mirza Raja Jai Singh entered. We had a brief chat. The Emperor wanted him to be present during the interview. We were alerted by the court crier, announcing the arrival of the Emperor. “Ba adab ba mulhaiza hoshiyaar! Sultan ibn-i-Sultan, Shahenshah-i-Hindustan, Chiragh-i-nasl-i-Timur, Huzoor Gulnoor, Fakhr-i-Baburi, Jalal-i-Akbari, Zill-i-Illahi, Hazrat Abul Muzaffar Muhiuddin Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir Bahadur Badshah Ghazi, Darbar-i-Mughalia mein raunaq afroz ho rahe hain! (“Attention everyone: Sultan son of Sultan, Emperor of Hindustan, torchbearer of the dynasty of Timur, Lord of the land, Pride of Babur, Majesty of Akbar, Shadow of the God on Earth, Lord Abul Muzaffar Muhiuddin Muhammad Aurangzeb Alamgir, the brave Emperor and slayer of infidels, by God’s grace, is making his exalted presence in the court”)

Everyone in the court bowed as His Majesty entered the court and ascended the throne. He looked at me and beckoned me to come in front of him. I trembled inside for a moment: I was standing in front of the most powerful man in the world in the seventeenth century. Although I come from a democratic society, yet being in his court, I was at the mercy of Lord Alamgir.
Huzoor ka iqbal bulund ho” (May the sun shine upon His Exalted Highness)—I did sijdah (bowing) before him. “Tashreef rakhiye”—he asked me to sit down.

“Sire, if you would permit me, I would like to record our conversation on tape. It is important.” He did not properly understand what I meant and gave me a confused look. I took out the I-pod and placed it between us. He stared at the object for a while. “In the name of Imam Zamin, please tell what this object is.” I told him that it is a recorder cum player and has many features. I turned it on and recorded His Majesty’s voice and played it back to him. “Subhan Allah! Subhan Allah! This is Allah’s magic!”—he cried out in utter amazement…so did everyone else present. The Emperor ordered Sharbat-i-Azam to be brought in. Sipping the delicious drink, I put my first question to His Majesty.

“Sire, my first question will be on your lifestyle. How do you think your lifestyle is different from your predecessors and contemporaries?”

“I don’t see any fundamental difference. Our circumstances influence our lifestyle. We Emperors are busy people. Right now, we are in the midst of troubled times. The Marathas under Shivaji are creating trouble in the Deccan, while the Ahoms and the Koches in the eastern frontier are becoming rebellious. I cannot have a pompous lifestyle when the Empire is in trouble. I think my contemporaries elsewhere are having a less troubled life. They are living a life of luxury, I must say.”

“Your Majesty, people say that you do not have a sense of fashion, that you lead an austere life. What do you have to say about that?”

“I think people are correct here! I am not a very fashionable man. I am a soldier and a faqir at the same time. I do not like heavy clothes, although I do wear ceremonial attires whenever the occasion arises. Otherwise, I prefer Muslin clothes. I specially get them from Dhaka.” 

The Emperor seemed to be a simple man; but he did have a good taste. He is of average height and has a lighter frame, and I guess, would look good in any dress. He has bright, intelligent eyes, and looks at everyone intently: a fact that sends shivers down the spines of many a battle-hardened soldier. They say Alamgir is invincible in battle.

“Your Majesty, you have recently discontinued the practice of jharokha darshan, which your predecessors had started and followed zealously. Your critics are of the view that you have done this, as you think it is a Hindu practice and you hate Hindus. Your comments please.”

“I haven’t discontinued the jharokha darshan because of any religious reason. The reason is purely political. I had to fight a bloody war of succession with my brothers even when Ala Hazrat (Shah Jahan) was alive. He was unwell and could not come for jharokha darshan, a fact that created suspicion in the minds of our noble subjects that Badshah Salamat was dead. I would not want my children to follow the same path.”

“I see. But Sire, many of your rivals are of the view that you have a terrible hatred for Hindus and do not allow Hindu officers in your government to occupy important offices. Is this true?”

“I certainly do not agree with this view. An Emperor could be a Hindu or a Muslim in his private life; but when he ascends the throne, his riyaya (subjects) becomes his children. You should know that 33% of our officers are Hindus. None of my predecessors had so many non-Muslims in the bureaucracy.”

“Sire, you have recently imposed jaziya tax on your non-Muslim subjects. There is large-scale discontent in your empire because of this. Why are you trying to reverse the policies of your predecessors? Don’t you think this will destroy the fine fabric of the Mughal Empire?”

“I have imposed jaziya on my non-Muslim subjects on economic grounds. When I came to power, I found the treasury almost empty. Ala Hazrat had spent a lot of money in architectural works. Besides, the Balkh-Badakshan campaign, and the Kandahar campaigns during Ala Hazrat’s reign consumed a lot of our resources. Without imposing taxes upon my subjects, I could not really have run the administration of this country effectively for a long time. Besides, jizya has been imposed only on the non-Muslim able-bodied men who refuse state service. It is not collected from women, children, old men and people with disabilities. The Mughal state collects compulsory zakat, ushr, sadaqah, fitrah and khum from its Muslim subjects, which are much higher than jizya. They are not collected from non-Muslims. My subjects do not have a problem with that. All these rumours are being spread by the Marathas and other dissenters.”

The Emperor’s answer made me fumble for a moment. I have always read in history books that Aurangzeb was a monster who tortured Hindus and made them pay jaziya. What the Emperor said gave an entirely different picture. I looked towards Mirza Jai Singh for confirmation…and he gave me a look of approval. I continued with our conversation.

“Zill-i-Illahi, why did you keep Emperor Shah Jahan under house-arrest for eight years?”

“Circumstances forced me to do it. Ala Hazrat had arranged for my assassination by Turkish slave girls. He never legitimised my claim on the throne and wanted Dara Bhai to succeed him. He went in for a series of intrigues against me. I had no other option but to put him under house arrest. I wish he had accepted me. I would have had no need to kill Dara Bhai then.”

The conversation had become too political and I realised that the Emperor might lose interest in it soon. I decided to change the track of the conversation.

“Sire, tell us something about your love life. You had an arranged marriage with Dilras Bano Begum. How have been your relations with her?”

“Dilras Bano has been a dutiful wife. She is a Safavid princess and has all the princess-like qualities. She is the mother of two of my favourite sons, Mirza Akbar and Muhammad Azam. I have good relations with her.”

“But Sire, I have heard that you had fallen deeply in love with a Hindu lady named Hira Bai Zainabadi. Could you tell us something about it?”

“I think it is all too personal. Can we talk about something else?”—the Emperor looked uncomfortable.

History says that Aurangzeb fell hopelessly in love with Hira Bai Zainabadi. She was a trained musician and the Emperor used to spend long hours listening to her music. She, however, died young and left the Emperor heart-broken. This left a deep wound in his heart that never healed, for the Emperor shunned music from his life forever.

Alampanah, let me rephrase it. It is said that you have banned music in your empire because you are a bigot. Do you think Hira Bai’s death has anything to do with it?”

“This is rubbish! I have banned music only in my court. That is because my courtiers spend a lot of time drinking and watching courtesans/musicians perform. That is why I have banned it in my court. However, I have also raised the mansabs and salaries of my court musicians for not playing music. Some of my subjects have misread it. I have not imposed any restrictions on them. And let me tell you, this has nothing to do with Hira Bai.”

“But Sire, you yourself are an accomplished veena player. Why such an aversion to music then?”

“It is a matter of personal choice. I would not like to comment more on this.”

“All right, Sire. Let us talk about your conflict with the Marathas under Shivaji. Why is the Emperor of Hindustan fighting unnecessarily with such a small kingdom? Does it suit His Majesty’s standard”?

“The Maratha problem is not a small problem as you think. I personally admire Shivaji. He is a great warrior and general. He has scope for improvement, though. And that can only happen if he accepts Mughal service. He is trying to imitate Mughal customs, but has not been very successful with it. I am willing to give him a high mansab if he should accept state service. We already have Marathas serving in the imperial army. If he (Shivaji) joins us, both the imperial government and Maharashtra will benefit.”

“All right, Your Majesty. What do you think of the young generation?”

“I do not have a high opinion about the young generation. My own sons are slackers of the highest order. Now, look at Azam. He is the Subahdar of Bengal, but spends most of his summer time in Kashmir. The youngsters today do not like to obey their parents. Allah save this country!”

At that time, the bell of public justice rang, which meant that it was the time for the Emperor to leave for the Diwan-i-Aam to hear petitions. This meant that my interview was almost over. Still, I managed to chip in one final question. I asked him for his vision of Hindustan’s future.

“By the grace of Allah, the compassionate and the merciful, Hindustan would become the most powerful mulk under the benign rule of the Mughal Government. The sun will never set on the Mughal Empire.”

As I retired to the time machine, the taste of the sharbat still lingered on. On any day, it would score over the Pepsis and Cokes of my time. It was a memorable experience talking to the last great name of the House of Timur. “This will make a great story”—I murmured to myself. But just when I pressed the ignition button, I suddenly realised that I forgot to collect my laptop from Mirza Jai Singh. This forgetful nature of mine would land me on dire straits someday. Now, I will have to go back in time to get it. But it won’t be too much of a loss, though. I am sure I have a great story in hand, which will be more than a compensation. I am going back to my time…the 21st century India. 

By Mani

Monday, November 15, 2010

A New Beginning

In the ‘90s, after the Indian economy opened up post-liberalisation, several foreign brands found their way into the Indian market. In about 10 years, these brands dominated the market and spelled doom for most Indian brands. Today, we rarely find a Double Bull shirt, which was once a style statement for most men. Even people like us, who were born in the early 80s and grew up on a dose of Indian brands, never realised when Reeboks, Pumas, Nikes and Adidases, took over our wardrobes. What didn’t change, however, was the Indian mindset: the Indian way of looking at things. No amount of colouring or super-imposition of Western thoughts could belie what lay underneath: an inherently Indian way of understanding and expressing things. 

Most blogs, ezines, and the mainstream media have, in recent times, adopted an increasingly subversive tone: we are subconsciously made to believe that there exists little good in things and ideas that are Indian. In fact, it has, in many ways, taken us back to the age when Western writers meted out contemptuous treatment to individuals taking to Indian ways: “going native” was the term they used to consciously and abhorrently denounce works, ideas and practices borrowed from India or glorifying the country. This thing intrigued us for long, but we didn’t find a strong voice within us that egged us on to do something different. Then finally, things started clearing up; the voice became distinct, so much so that we could no longer ignore it. This was the genesis of ‘mediAcre minds’.

Our mission here is to bring to light events, individuals, ideas, projects, and researches that have been under/misrepresented or escaped attention of the mainstream media. India is a complex country; many in the West like to call it “a country of never-ending chaos”; but there is a method to this chaos: something that we want to highlight during the course of this journey at ‘mediAcre minds’. This is a place for positivism; our articles would give you positive vibes about the 5,000-year-old culture that we represent. But we don’t mean to say that we will never have a critical opinion about things; human nature is such that it is impossible to be uncritical about things unless you are a zombie. What we will not have is mindless criticism. 

This blog is not only about India but the world, too. We will try to bring you first-hand information about global events and how people outside our country see and feel things. We don’t want to turn our backs to the world and concentrate only on India, missing all the while where the world is headed. No, no, we will not do that.

Feel free to read the post titled ‘What is Mediacre Minds’ to have a better understanding of our content and what we seek to achieve. 

I have the pleasure of introducing you to our sheet-anchors: people who have built this ship and will man the sails. 

Dr Kavita Bhatt Saharia is our Consulting Editor-cum-Adviser. She is a dentist by profession and a blogger by choice. She runs a blog titled ‘My Room’, which can be found at www.kavitasaharia-myroom.com. As a blogger, she likes to talk about issues that tend to escape mind’s eye, and has an uncanny ability to turn mundane topics into ones of cerebral wonder. She hunts for stories in her backyard and always turns up with awe-inspiring tales of people and places hitherto unknown. Her special area of interest in writing is the Northeast: its different sights and sounds and way of life. She has been associated with a lot of ezines and community blogs. When she’s not working, she enjoys being a doting mother to her two kids, Gauri and Kaustabh, and a dutiful wife to her buddy-cum-hubby, Chandan. 

Manjari Chaturvedi is our Associate Editor. She is an independent researcher, a PhD scholar and a faculty-member of a Delhi University college. She likes to maintain a low profile and believes in the dictum, ‘actions speak louder than words’. A former NCC cadet, Manjari has the highest regard for the Indian civilisation and is extremely fond of the Hindi language. She has been part of many academic activities and made her contribution to a seminal work on the Revolt of 1857 titled ‘Operation Red Lotus’ published by a major Indian publishing house in 2010. 

Vikram Vishal is our Sports Editor. He is normally quiet, and hides his extremely sharp mind behind a pair of benign glasses. He juggled with several likes during his Hindu College and Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi days, but then found sports as his true calling. A gold medallist in Hockey, Vikram is also an experienced Indian Express editor.

Cheyenne Miller is a graduate in military history, and our Editor-at-large. An independent researcher, Cheyenne is authoring a book on WWII veterans of Washington County, although she is really hard-pressed for time. She never ignores her family and loves to be a round-the-clock mommy to a two-year-old Angel named Carys. Cheyenne lives with her family in Iowa, USA and has a love for open spaces. Cheyenne is a rare person, for she belongs to the fast-diminishing breed of traditional-minded Americans: people we thought existed only in old American literature and Hollywood movies of yore.

And I am Mani, the Editor of this modest venture. I’m a postgraduate in History and was a TV screenwriter and magazine editor before joining the newspaper industry. I run a humour blog titled ‘The Random Express: Journalism of Wanton Courage’ that can be accessed at www.lordmani.com

Together, we know we have an uphill task at hand, but we are willing to try. We don’t subscribe to any school of thought; even if we do, we don’t know that yet. What we do know, however, is that we don’t have an ideological food chain. We are a bunch of independent-minded individuals with diverse backgrounds but with one thing in common—the desire to do something different and helping others find a positive voice within them, too. We are not eyeing records; we don’t claim to bring about revolutionary changes either; but we want to say things that have long bothered us and affected our collective conscience. 

We would love to have your feedback on this. If you think there is something that we have missed or should talk about, kindly let us know. Our address for correspondence is mediacreminds@gmail.com.

Keep the faith!


A Diarist Par Excellence

Ajayananda Borah has been religiously pursuing his passion for over 50 years now. Photo by Dr Kavita Bhatt Saharia
Dear friends, I have the honour of introducing you to Ajayananda Borah, an extremely interesting person, and in his own words, "a wannabe record breaker who seeks entry in the Limca Book Of Records by penning his thoughts since 1961 till date without a single day's break". Mr.Borah has been visiting our dental clinic for the last many years, and in spite of various chit-chats between us, this interesting side of him was not known to us (my husband, Dr Chandan Saharia, and I jointly run a clinic in Guwahati). In the first week of February this year, he invited us to attend his Golden Jubilee elebration of continuous diary writing (1961-2010) at the Guwahati Press Club. On a Thursday evening the same month, my husband and I visited his place. Here is a personal account of the things we talked about.

His diaries are 50 in number and all are labelled year wise. Photograph by Dr Kavita Bhatt Saharia
When he first jotted down his thoughts in a personal diary as a schoolboy, he had no idea that his new hobby would become an abiding passion."My diary is entirely personal; I do not claim it to be a detailed record of contemporary events, but it definitely is a non-stop journey of half a century," Borah said when we began our conversation. His claim for a place in the Limca Book of Records is legitimate, and if his feat is recognised, Borah will edge out present record holder, Chandulall Chowdhury of Mumbai, who wrote diaries from 1965 only. Mr. Borah's personal notes run into 17,900 pages, and he has written more ever since our interaction with him. We had the pleasure of peering through all of his diaries (with his due permission, of course) as he believes that now his diaries don't belong to him alone. For my blogger friends, I clicked this picture where the very first and the latest pages of his diary are shown together.
Image courtesy: Dr Kavita Bhatt Saharia's blog, http://www.kavitasaharia-myroom.com
He was born in 1943 at Biswanath Gymkhana European Club near Pabhoi tea estate in Assam, British India. In 1964, after his graduation, he started his career as a high school teacher and later on joined the All India Radio Dibrugarh as Programme Announcer since its inception in 1969; he retired in 2003 after 35 years of service. He has produced a number of radio plays and dramatised multi -serial episodes of novels. His very popular radio programme, DAK PAKHILI is still remembered by listeners where he used to reply to letters by listeners.
The first and the latest diaries. Photograph courtesy: Dr Kavita Bhatt Saharia
Though he developed the habit of writing in 1954 when he just entered high school, he has no record of the initial years, as most of the jottings were on loose sheets. He started maintaining hard-bound diaries since 1961 in Darrang College where was influenced by the then principal, Bipinpal Das, and Dr. Amalendu Guha. "I was not directly influenced by anybody, but indirectly inspired by my high school teachers like BirenKakoty, KeshabMahanta and many others," he said.
Borah shows an extract to Dr Chandan Saharia. Photograph courtesy: Dr Kavita Bhatt Saharia
To run my fingers through the pages of his diaries was amazing. He read out to us many interesting incidents recorded in his diaries: his wedding day, the cost of gold at that time (in 1978, gold cost Rs 880/10 gm), annual expenditure of the year 1963 (which was Rs 308), how he bought cloth for trousers at Rs 3/-, how petrol cost Rs 1.60 per litre in 1973, and so on. Apart from keeping record of national, international and local important events, he kept records of the climatic conditions, too. Events of the Assam Agitation are all portrayed very vividly in his diaries.
Ajayananda Borah's feat as recorded in the Asomiya Book of Records. Image courtesy: Dr Kavita Bhatt Saharia
His day starts at 5 am and he always carries with him a piece of paper and a pen so that he can note down important things; at bed time, he records the day's events in his diary. He maintains an index volume of diaries for easy reference; he showed us the day when he, for the very first time, visited our dental clinic. Borah's record has been acknowledged by the Asomiya Book Of Records edited by Santanu Kausik Baruah (1st edition 2006).
Above you can see the letter written by Gupta Diary of Kolkata to Mr Borah, profoundly thanking him for writing on the diaries sold by the company for half-a-century. He has submitted adequate documentations to the Limca Book of Records and is awaiting their response (letterheads of the Limca Book of Records can be seen attached to the letter by Gupta Diary).

The world record of writing diaries is held by Colonel Ernst Loftus of Zimbabwe, who wrote diaries for 91 years until his death in 1987 at the age of 103. Asked if he has a similar aim, Mr Borah quipped, "It is simply impossible as I am already 67. Let me see how long I can continue. I will go on writing till the last day of my life."

Borah is trying to contact the Guinness Book of Records (International British Edition) to ascertain whether his feat of 50 years of continuous diary writing has any parallel.
His wife, Bella, is a very sweet and soft-spoken lady. They have two children: Abhinandan (son) and Monmayuri (daughter). The former is a medico and both of them reside in Delhi. Monmayuri, too, has been maintaining a diary for the last 10 years; Borah's sister wrote a diary for almost 20 years. I asked Bella if she too maintains a diary. She said every year since they got married, Borah has been gifting her a diary...but most of them are blank. We all had a good laugh over it.

We were treated grandly with many snacks, savouries and tea; and later, Borah showed us his large collection of music CDs and movie DVDs, a large number of playing card sets with unique designs, his badminton racket and many other things. Over all, it was an evening that would be etched in our memories forever.

I came back highly inspired and motivated...I hope to be more regular in updating my blog and contributing to mediAcre minds. Thank you all for reading.

By Dr Kavita Bhatt Saharia

Editor's note: Dr Kavita was a prized catch for mediAcre minds and has been helping us with ideas and content ever since she came on board. She has a knack for finding stories usually missed by the most expert of eyes. Her down-to-earth approach and lucid writing style automatically establishes an emotional connect between the reader and the writer. A Diarist Par Excellence was originally published in her blog: http://www.kavitasaharia-myroom.com; she generously allowed us to reprint it with certain modifications/additions. We thank her for that and feel honoured to have her presence.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Black Mark

The day dawns bright and clear. I am awake. So early! Eyebrows lift, frowns appear and questions arise. It is only seven o'clock and that too on a Sunday morning. "What is she doing out there at the gate? Ah! The newspaper," Dad quips. An excited voice joins in "Is the University declaring results..."
But I am out of earshot, scanning the front, state and national pages of the print trying to gauge, to feel ... the pulse. Everything is normal. No curfews imposed, no bandhs called for, no rioting reported and no incitements..I mean nothing major...only minor titbits...two killed, four held, some clashes. But thank God, no disruptions. It is D-Day.
I am brushed, combed and now...dressed? What should I wear? Funky hip denim matched with a tee and floaters...No..No.I must look mature..responsible...confident..decisive and capable. A fabIndia kurta, churidar and sturdy shoes complete my apparel. I tie my hair into a neat pony, no flying tresses.
It is about to strike eight. I tell myself to hurry. It is D-Day. "Are you going for a jog? Then go to the Mother Dairy...and also put this complaint in the R.W.A. box." Indignation and exasperation creep inside me. "Can't you get Dad to do such mundane things? After all...today...of all days..." I march out.
My step is quicker today, there is a bounce and rhythm now. For two decades this day has eluded me. It could have been two years earlier, but everyone colluded to keep me away. Vested interests have favoured the postponement of today. But.....
Image courtesy: http://smetimes.tradeindia.com/
I reach the gates. No line greets me. Frisked, checked and identified- I am declared 'me'. As the pen ticks me, I get the sceptre- the wand, the power to finally decide. The red glow satiates my desire, and intoxicates my being. I have voted at last. The Black Mark on my left forefinger nail validates me- THE CITIZEN OF INDIA.

By Manjari Chaturvedi

Editor's note: The writer had her proud moment a few years ago and fondly (and vividly) remembers the day. After getting the most identifiable (and indelible) mark on her finger, she decided to wield another magic wand - the pen - and leave behind the memory for posterity. For the benefit of our readers, she generously shared her thoughts that was for long her sole keeping. We expect more such contributions from her.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Seminar on Waste

What is Mediacre Minds

It's an idea that is still at a nascent stage, but which aims to grow into something that would spark off a revolution in blogosphere. We are not here for competition, we don't have a "business model"; we aim to be a repository of information pertaining to India and issues affecting it.

This blog can be treated as an ezine bringing to the world the myriad colours of India: its culture, civilisation, art, history, economy, politics...the list is long. We don't claim scholarly distinction in whatever we present, neither do we say that ours is the last word; we only strive to be a one-stop destination of credible India-centric information.

Who should read Mediacre Minds?

Anyone who has interest in the written word and likes to explore the varied Indian culturescape. There is a plethora of information about India out there, which makes reading them akin to entering a mind-maze. Our job here is to glean information from different sources (that are sometimes inaccessible to general readers), simplify them, and present them in a lucid language for our readers.

How to be a part of Mediacre Minds?

We encourage our readers to write for us. Every week, our team of editors will draw up a list of stories to be done. You can pitch in ideas/write-ups, which our team would examine. If deemed suitable, we will print them with your byline. We not only print fresh pieces but also previously published blog items with the writer's permission. So, if you think you wrote something great long ago, which was not adequately publicised, send it to us and we will take care of it. Of course, you will have all the right over your previously published pieces; however, you cannot give your fresh pieces to others once they are published by us. You can, of course, upload them in your own blog, 10 days after we publish it; however, we will appreciate if you would also post the link to the original post with us.

We encourage our writers to write about anything under the sun. Personal mood pieces might not find space here, but if it is a personal take on something of mass concern (say harassment in a public bus), we will welcome it.

We also encourage posts with photographs. If you send us a travel piece, try to send photos along with it. We also publish standalone photos with quirky headers and captions.

We also take press releases and can promote events within cyberspace.

What we don't take is pieces with bias and libelous content aimed at maligning individuals and institutions. We welcome critical pieces, but not mindless criticism. We like to be responsible to our readers.

For queries, feedback or suggestions, email us on the following address: mediacreminds@gmail.com