Thursday, January 31, 2008

Right to Information Acts | FAQs


1. When does it come into force?

It comes into force on the 12th October, 2005 (120th day of its enactment on 15th June, 2005). Some provisions have come into force with immediate effect viz. obligations of public authorities [S.4(1)], designation of Public Information Officers and Assistant Public Information Officers[S.5(1) and 5(2)], constitution of Central Information Commission (S.12 and 13), constitution of State Information Commission (S.15 and 16), non-applicability of the Act to Intelligence and Security Organizations (S.24) and power to make rules to carry out the provisions of the Act (S.27 and 28).

2. Who is covered?

The Act extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. [S.(12)]

3. What does information mean?

Information means any material in any form including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force but does not include "file notings" [S.2(f)].

4. What does Right to Information mean?

It includes the right to -

inspect works, documents, records.

take notes, extracts or certified copies of documents or records.

take certified samples of material.

obtain information in form of printouts, diskettes, floppies, tapes, video cassettes or in any other electronic mode or through printouts.[S.2(j)]


1. What are the obligations of public authority?

It shall publish within one hundred and twenty days of the enactment:-

the particulars of its organization, functions and duties;

the powers and duties of its officers and employees;

the procedure followed in its decision making process, including channels of supervision and accountability;

the norms set by it for the discharge of its functions;

the rules, regulations, instructions, manuals and records used by its employees for discharging its functions;

a statement of the categories of the documents held by it or under its control;

the particulars of any arrangement that exists for consultation with, or representation by the members of the public, in relation to the formulation of policy or implementation thereof;

a statement of the boards, councils, committees and other bodies consisting of two or more persons constituted by it. Additionally, information as to whether the meetings of these are open to the public, or the minutes' of such meetings are accessible to the public;

a directory of its officers and employees;

the monthly remuneration received by each of its officers and employees, including the system of compensation as provided in its regulations;

the budget allocated to each of its agency, indicating the particulars of all plans, proposed expenditures and reports on disbursements made;

the manner of execution of subsidy programmes, including the amounts allocated and the details and beneficiaries of such programmes;

particulars of recipients of concessions, permits or authorizations granted by it;

details of the information available to, or held by it, reduced in an electronic form;

the particulars of facilities available to citizens for obtaining information, including the working hours of a library or reading room, if maintained for public use;

the names, designations and other particulars of the Public Information Officers.[S.4(1)(b)]

2. What does a "public authority" mean?

It means any authority or body or institution of self-government established or constituted: [S.2(h)]

by or under the Constitution;

by any other law made by Parliament;

by any other law made by State Legislature;

by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government.and includes any-

body owned, controlled or substantially financed

non-Government organization substantially financed directly or indirectly by the appropriate Government.

3. Who are Public Information Officers (PIOs)?

PIOs are officers designated by the public authorities in all administrative units or offices under it to provide information to the citizens requesting for information under the Act. Any officer, whose assistance has been sought by the PIO for the proper discharge of his or her duties, shall render all assistance and for the purpose of contraventions of the provisions of this Act, such other officer shall be treated as a PIO.

4. What are the duties of a PIO?

PIO shall deal with requests from persons seeking information and where the request cannot be made in writing, to render reasonable assistance to the person to reduce the same in writing.

If the information requested for is held by or its subject matter is closely connected with the function of another public authority, the PIO shall transfer, within 5 days, the request to that other public authority and inform the applicant immediately.

PIO may seek the assistance of any other officer for the proper discharge of his/her duties.

PIO, on receipt of a request, shall as expeditiously as possible, and in any case within 30 days of the receipt of the request, either provide the information on payment of such fee as may be prescribed or reject the request for any of the reasons specified in S.8 or S.9.

Where the information requested for concerns the life or liberty of a person, the same shall be provided within forty-eight hours of the receipt of the request.

If the PIO fails to give decision on the request within the period specified, he shall be deemed to have refused the request.

Where a request has been rejected, the PIO shall communicate to the requester - (i) the reasons for such rejection, (ii) the period within which an appeal against such rejection may be preferred, and (iii) the particulars of the Appellate Authority.

PIO shall provide information in the form in which it is sought unless it would disproportionately divert the resources of the Public Authority or would be detrimental to the safety or preservation of the record in question.

If allowing partial access, the PIO shall give a notice to the applicant, informing:

that only part of the record requested, after severance of the record containing information which is exempt from disclosure, is being provided;

The reasons for the decision, including any findings on any material question of fact, referring to the material on which those findings were based;

The name and designation of the person giving the decision;

The details of the fees calculated by him or her and the amount of fee which the applicant is required to deposit; and his or her rights with respect to review of the decision regarding non-disclosure of part of the information, the amount of fee charged or the form of access provided.

If information sought has been supplied by third party or is treated as confidential by that third party, the PIO shall give a written notice to the third party within 5 days from the receipt of the request and take its representation into consideration.

Third party must be given a chance to make a representation before the PIO within 10 days from the date of receipt of such notice.


1. What is not open to disclosure?

The following is exempt from disclosure [S.8)]
information, disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security, strategic, scientific or economic interests of the State, relation with foreign State or lead to incitement of an offence

information which has been expressly forbidden to be published by any court of law or tribunal or the disclosure of which may constitute contempt of court;

information, the disclosure of which would cause a breach of privilege of Parliament or the State Legislature;

information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;

information available to a person in his fiduciary relationship, unless the competent authority is satisfied that the larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;

information received in confidence from foreign Government;

information, the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes;

information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders;

cabinet papers including records of deliberations of the Council of Ministers, Secretaries and other officers;

information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual;

Notwithstanding any of the exemptions listed above, a public authority may allow access to information, if public interest in disclosure outweighs the harm to the protected interests.

2. Is partial disclosure allowed?

Only that part of the record which does not contain any information which is exempt from disclosure and which can reasonably be severed from any part that contains exempt information, may be provided. [S.10]

3. Who is excluded?

Central Intelligence and Security agencies specified in the Second Schedule like IB, R&AW, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Economic Intelligence Bureau, Directorate of Enforcement, Narcotics Control Bureau, Aviation Research Centre, Special Frontier Force, BSF, CRPF, ITBP, CISF, NSG, Assam Rifles, Special Service Bureau, Special Branch (CID), Andaman and Nicobar, The Crime Branch-CID-CB, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Special Branch, Lakshadweep Police. Agencies specified by the State Governments through a Notification will also be excluded. The exclusion, however, is not absolute and these organizations have an obligation to provide information pertaining to allegations of corruption and human rights violations. Further, information relating to allegations of human rights valuations could be given but only with the approval of the Central or State Information Commission, as the case may be. [S.24)]


1. What is the Application Procedure for requesting information?

Apply in writing or through electronic means in English or Hindi or in the official language of the area, to the PIO, specifying the particulars of the information sought for.

Reason for seeking information are not required to be given;

Pay fees as may be prescribed (if not belonging to the below poverty line category).

2. What is the time limit to get the information?

30 days from the date of application

48 hours for information concerning the life and liberty of a person

5 days shall be added to the above response time, in case the application for information is given to Assistant Public Information Officer.

If the interests of a third party are involved then time limit will be 40 days (maximum period + time given to the party to make representation).

Failure to provide information within the specified period is a deemed refusal.

3. What is the fee?

Application fees to be prescribed which must be reasonable.

If further fees are required, then the same must be intimated in writing with calculation details of how the figure was arrived at;

Applicant can seek review of the decision on fees charged by the PIO by applying to the appropriate Appellate Authority;

No fees will be charged from people living below the poverty line

Applicant must be provided information free of cost if the PIO fails to comply with the prescribed time limit.

4. What could be the ground for rejection?

If it is covered by exemption from disclosure. (S.8)
If it infringes copyright of any person other than the State. (S.9)


1. How is Central Information Commission constituted?

Central Information Commission to be constituted by the Central Government through a Gazette Notification.

Commission includes 1 Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) and not more than 10 Information Commissioners (IC) who will be appointed by the President of India.

Oath of Office will be administered by the President of India according to the form set out in the First Schedule.

Commission shall have its Headquarters in Delhi. Other offices may be established in other parts of the country with the approval of the Central Government.

Commission will exercise its powers without being subjected to directions by any other authority. (S.12)

2. What is the eligibility criteria and what is the process of appointment of CIC/IC?

Candidates for CIC/IC must be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.

CIC/IC shall not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any State or Union Territory. He shall not hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carrying on any business or pursuing any profession. (S.12)

Appointment Committee includes Prime Minister (Chair), Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and one Union Cabinet Minister to be nominated by the Prime Minister.

3. What is the term of office and other service conditions of CIC?

CIC shall be appointed for a term of 5 years from date on which he enters upon his office or till he attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

CIC is not eligible for reappointment.

Salary will be the same as that of the Chief Election Commissioner. This will not be varied to the disadvantage of the CIC during service. (S.13)

4. What is the term of office and other service conditions of IC?

IC shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office or till he attains the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier and shall not be eligible for reappointment as IC.

Salary will be the same as that of the Election Commissioner. This will not be varied to the disadvantage of the IC during service.

IC is eligible for appointment as CIC but will not hold office for more than a total of five years including his/her term as IC. (S.13)

5. How is the State Information Commission constituted?

The State Information Commission will be constituted by the State Government through a Gazette notification. It will have one State Chief Information Commissioner (SCIC) and not more than 10 State Information Commissioners (SIC) to be appointed by the Governor.

Oath of office will be administered by the Governor according to the form set out in the First Schedule.

The headquarters of the State Information Commission shall be at such place as the State Government may specify. Other offices may be established in other parts of the State with the approval of the State Government.

The Commission will exercise its powers without being subjected to any other authority.

6. What is the eligibility criterion and what is the process of appointment of State Chief Information Commissioner/State Information Commissioners?

The Appointments Committee will be headed by the Chief Minister. Other members include the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and one Cabinet Minister nominated by the Chief Minister.

The qualifications for appointment as SCIC/SIC shall be the same as that for Central Commissioners.

The salary of the State Chief Information Commissioner will be the same as that of an Election Commissioner. The salary of the State Information Commissioner will be the same as that of the Chief Secretary of the State Government. (S.15)

7. What are the powers and functions of Information Commissions?

The Central Information Commission/State Information Commission has a duty to receive complaints from any person -

a) who has not been able to submit an information request because a PIO has not been appointed ;

b) who has been refused information that was requested;

c) who has received no response to his/her information request within the specified time limits ;

d) who thinks the fees charged are unreasonable ;

e) who thinks information given is incomplete or false or misleading ;and

f) any other matter relating to obtaining information under this law.

Power to order inquiry if there are reasonable grounds.
CIC/SCIC will have powers of Civil Court such as -

a) summoning and enforcing attendance of persons, compelling them to give oral or written evidence on oath and to produce documents or things;

b) requiring the discovery and inspection of documents;

c) receiving evidence on affidavit ;

d) requisitioning public records or copies from any court or office

e) issuing summons for examination of witnesses or documents

f) any other matter which may be prescribed.

All records covered by this law (including those covered by exemptions) must be given to CIC/SCIC during inquiry for examination.

Power to secure compliance of its decisions from the Public Authority includes-

a) providing access to information in a particular form;

b) directing the public authority to appoint a PIO/APIO where none exists;

c) publishing information or categories of information;

d) making necessary changes to the practices relating to management, maintenance and destruction of records ;

e) enhancing training provision for officials on RTI;

f) seeking an annual report from the public authority on compliance with this law;

g) require it to compensate for any loss or other detriment suffered by the applicant ;

h) impose penalties under this law; or

i) reject the application. (S.18 and S.19)

8. What is the reporting procedure?

Central Information Commission will send an annual report to the Central Government on the implementation of the provisions of this law at the end of the year. The State Information Commission will send a report to the State Government .

Each Ministry has a duty to compile reports from its Public Authorities and send them to the Central Information Commission or State Information Commission, as the case may be.

Each report will contain details of number of requests received by each Public Authority, number of rejections and appeals, particulars of any disciplinary action taken, amount of fees and charges collected etc.

Central Government will table the Central Information Commission report before Parliament after the end of each year. The concerned State Government will table the report of the State Information Commission before the Vidhan Sabha (and the Vidhan Parishad wherever applicable). (S.25)


1. What is the role of Central/State Governments?

Develop educational programmes for the public especially disadvantaged communities on RTI.

Encourage Public Authorities to participate in the development and organization of such programmes.

Promote timely dissemination of accurate information to the public.

Train officers and develop training materials.

Compile and disseminate a User Guide for the public in the respective official language.

Publish names, designation postal addresses and contact details of PIOs and other information such as notices regarding fees to be paid, remedies available in law if request is rejected etc. (S.26)

2. Who has the Rule making power?

Central Government, State Governments and the Competent Authority as defined in S.2(e) are vested with powers to make rules to carry out the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005. (S.27 & S.28)

3. Who has the power to deal with the difficulties while implementing this act?

If any difficulty arises in giving effect to the provisions in the Act, the Central Government may, by Order published in the Official Gazette, make provisions necessary/expedient for removing the difficulty. (S.30)

For More Details, See or RTI FAQs

Citizens using RTI to make the administration work according to ruleby rtiportal

Story of citizens using the RTI Act to make the administration work according to rule. This story shows how powerful RTI can be in the hands of well meaning citizens who wish to make the system work in favour of the underprivileged.

*For Ration Cards - Everyday is a Saturday*

Kalol taluka in Panchmahals district belongs to one of the less developed parts of vibrant Gujarat. Panchmahals is home to fairly large sized communities of adivasis who have not benefitted from the economic development that has made the Patels and the Shahs well known across American and European business houses. Additionally, several hundred of families belonging to the minority community live below the poverty line (BPL). The public distribution system set up by the government is an indispensable means of securing food grains at subsidised prices for these families. However securing a ration card is a herculean task for them unless they are willing to bribe officials or middlemen or both.

The Deputy Mamlatdar at the taluka level is responsible for issuing ration cards of all kinds in rural areas. Printed application forms are available free of charge which people can use to apply for a new ration card, get a duplicate made, have the names of new family members added or that of the deceased deleted or get a card divided if a joint family wishes to have separate cards for its members. One would expect that any citizen would be able to walk into the Deputy Mamlatdar's office and submit an application any time of the day provided he/she has put together copies of all necessary supporting documents.

In Kalol, however, a large computer printed sign pasted prominently on the walls of the Mamlatdar's office warned people to visit the office only on Saturdays for ration card related work. State government offices in Gujarat work on the first and third Saturday every month. The other two Saturdays are holidays. In effect this meant that applicants from more than 60 villages of Kalol taluka had only a window of two days every month to put in their applications for ration cards every month. Even here those who cobbled up money to bribe touts got priority treatment. Those who could not simply had to wait their turn to arrive and if it did not come before closing time, they were simply chased away. They would come back the next working Saturday and go through the process of waiting for a darshan of the Dy. Mamlatdar all over again.

Fed up by this system, Aslambhai, a resident of Kalol decided to find out if the two Saturday limit had any legal basis. He had recently learnt about the Right to Information Act and knew that as a citizen he could ask almost any information from government offices and get it within a deadline for a small fee. Aslambhai drafted an information request asking for the Government Resolution (GR) that said that applications for ration card related matters would be received only on Saturdays. Besides he also requested for all GRs that listed the procedural requirements for ration card related work.

The Mamlatdar is the designated Public Information Officer at the taluka level in Gujarat. When Aslambhai visited his office to submit his RTI application in person, the Mamlatdar refused to even read it let alone accept it. He told Aslambhai that there were no orders for giving information to people at the taluka level. People would get whatever information they wanted from the district level. Aslambhai knew that the Mamlatdar was lying. He also knew that he could send the application by post. He sent his application to the Mamlatdar by Registered Post with Acknowledgement Due (RPAD). Needless to say the application was delivered to the Mamlatdar's office.
Fifteen days later Aslambhai was asked to visit the Dy. Mamlatdar to discuss his information request. Aslambhai refused to meet him as he saw no reason for doing the same. The Dy. Mamlatdar then pressurised Aslambahi's father to advise his son to withdraw that part of the

application which inquired about the Saturday limit. He was assured access to all other GRs. He was told that there was no GR requiring them to do ration card related work only on Saturdays. It was only an informal arrangement they had adopted for administrative convenience. If this matter reached his superiors the Dy. Mamlatdar was afraid he might lose his job. Aslambhai stood his ground and refused to concede. He advised the Dy. Mamlatdar to issue a rejection letter if he did not want to give the information as he could then go on appeal or send a complaint to the State Information Commission.

Ultimately, the Dy. Mamlatdar was forced to issue a reply on his letterhead clarifying the matter. Aslambhai was told that there was no GR as such and that Saturdays were fixed for summoning applicants to collect their ration cards. This was done so that applicants would be free from work on Saturdays and would not have to forego a day's wages by visiting the office on a working day. Aslambhai was assured that henceforth they would receive applications for ration card related work on all working days at all working hours.

Believe it or not, Aslambhai and his friends swear that the working of the Dy. Mamlatdar's office has really improved since this little adventure of theirs. People are able to visit the office whenever they wish and submit their applications any time during working hours. Aslambhai believes, the RTI Act has finally changed the power equations for the underprivileged people. They have in their hands a tool for making government offices work according to the law.

{* Aslambhai is one of 30 men and women in Panchmahals district, Gujarat trained by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative to use the RTI Act in 2005 *}


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Churachandpur Deputy Commissioner address on 2008 Republic Day Celebration

Proud citizen of Indian Republic, Ladies and gentlemen. It is a matter of immense pleasure and pride that our nation has completed one more year of free democracy while cruising ahead on the path of remarkable development. At the outset I congratulate you all for this. During last one year our District Churachandpur also underwent significant changes-albeit with its due-undue share of pain and pleasure.

Before I touch upon the issues in my address I would like to officer my deep condolence for the departed souls of innocent victims who list their lives in thei road accident on Singngat – Behiang road on 17th January 2008. May God their soul rest in peace and their families have enough strength to cope up with the tragedy.

Firstly, We have been able to maintain communal harmony in the district duntgring last year. I Feel that this is the biggest challege we face in view of the complex ethnic setting of the district and more so in view of the violent past. Its my earnest appleal to all communities to maintain the communal harmony and let there be zero-tolerance for those who become to hurdle on this path. The peaceful co-existence of numerous tribes in this land is not a mere wishful thinking but actually the only way out a vailable to us to survive. I would like to quote John Locke the great English Philosopher here:

“To love nour neighbors as ourselves is such a truth for regulalating human society that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality.”

Secondly, during last one year the state Government and the District Administration achieved substantial amount of success on certain welfare and development fronts while on certain issues more efforts and concentration seem to be require. A massive program to improve the health facilities is underway under Natinal Rural Health Mission in the District. Primary Health Centres and Community Health Centres are being upgraded and more and more funds are beong made available to village and Block level health centers, In respect of connectivity work in underway on two important roads- one connecting the Henglep Sub Division and other one on Guite Road. Besides Singngat has seen the commissioning of new power station.

On the development front the historic and path breaking National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) sucessully took off in our district with remotest of corner of the district saw the hectic work execution and employment generation as envisaged by the scheme. We got less than 10 percent of our annual plan and even with that amount our village authorities and govt set up proved it beyond doubt that employment generation in villages in actually possible. We have executed around 800 big and small projects. This includes works like inter village roads, plantation, drainange and flood controls strctures. We have already given 10-15 days of employment to each house of 5 blocks of Lamka, Samulamlan, Saikot, Tuibuoang and Sangaikot while 20-25 days of employment is given to each house of remaining blocks of Tipaimukh, Thanlon,Singngat, Henglep and Vangai. The National Level monitors and official of Government of India have physically inspected our villages and they have been extremely happly with the progress.

And now are going to provide full 100 days of wage employment to each and every house of 3 blocks which are worst affected by the apprehended natural calamities and facethe threat of food grain scarcity. Our ultimate aim is to provide full 100 days of employment to each house of entire district. The district is in the unprecedented ‘awareness-whirwind’ of this scheme and this is the core of its success.

Thirdly, We have been able to streamline the PDS network to some extent. Earlier, the PDS supply was marked by frequent loss of montly quota of food grain and illegal diversion. However for last one year we have been able to mobilize resources and lift the food grain regularly. We have been able to sent the rice to remote areas like, Tipaimukh, Thanlon, Singngat and Henglep. But most importantly we were able to open proper “Fair Price Shops” at least in town area of Churachandpur after a very longtime. However I must admit that a lot still needs to be desired and done in PDS System.

Fourthly, Ladies and gentlemen! We are being cautioned by many that a threat of food grain scarcity in some part of our district is ominously stalking us. This is reportedlyu caused byrodent menace triggered by bamboo flowering and other natural calamities. Its really an irony that while India has had unmanageablely huge buffer stocks of food grains we still feel threatened by food grain scarcity. I Would like to quote Martin Luther King Jr here:

“Why should there be hunger and deprivation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and scientific know how to provide all mankind with basic necessities of life? There is no deficit in human resources. There is deficit in human will.”

And it is with this realization that we are planning to cope up with this kind of threat – if any- and for this I make an earnest appeal to one and all to come forward and help us battle this menace. Our revenue authorities are currently busy in making assessment of crop failure and very soon the severity and extent of damage and threat will be verified and based on which further corrective measures will be taken. It is heartening to note that several philanthropic and social organizations havce already come forward to find the solution.

At the end I once again congratulate you all on the occasioni fo this pios national festival which marks another milestone in the glorious march of this largest democracy of world. With these Words I close my speech. Jai Hind.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Lealyan Thawmte

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are’ – Anais Nin‘
'You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist’
– Indira Gandhi.

Coming as a foreigner to live in a new land with different culture, custom and tradition can initially be daunting for many. Adjusting bearings to a new system and a social way of life can even be frustrating at times. Especially important and often, the most difficult beginning would probably be overcoming the language barrier, harder for the educationally challenged. For residents living in community centers provided by the Danish Red Cross, while awaiting the outcome of their case, it is more of an uphill climb.

Instead of direct exposure to the society they aspire to live in, they are thrust amidst a mosaic of cultures, often in an uncomfortably close proximity for an unspecified length of time. The experiences thereof can bring out the best or worst in a person. Balancing behavioural attitudes according to a constantly changing atmosphere is not an easy task to accomplish. One day you have a devil may care African neighbour, the next day you have a deeply devout Arabic. Another Asian makes an entry the next week with an array of cultural paraphernalia.

On the other hand, you have the opportunity to observe, learn and utilise the experience as an education in itself.

However, in the face of all these intermingling and interactions while residing at close quarters, it can also sometimes be hard maintaining your composure. Where it is perfectly alright for you to eat or drink whatever you desire - wallet permitting, of course - to another person, the same may be considered unhealthy or even sacrilege. Interactions you deem normal maybe intrusion of privacy for the other. Sinful, perhaps. I'd heard about a certain family being shifted from a center owing to extreme differences with other fellow residents. The head of this particular family apparently insisted that no adult male should be present in the common kitchen, if and when his wife does the cooking.

The fact that other residents are as much hungry, and have the same rights as him to use the common kitchen as and when they so desire, blissfully escaped him. Whereas it maybe rare or uncommon in some cultures for a man to be in the kitchen, it is considered absolutely normal in many others that the man, let alone be present, also does the cooking. Polite exchange of greetings or conversation between strangers maybe nothing abnormal, but there are cultures that forbid open interaction with the opposite sex.

The dogged self-opinion of superiority over others or the tendency to regard other faith or race as inferior maybe the cause and root of many fights and misunderstandings. Failure to see reason and acknowledge sense and the unwillingness to compromise. Take time to think, just for a moment with a clear objective mind, that what seems or is unusual to you maybe pretty natural to the other person, or what you dislike or abhor maybe a habit or a delicacy to others.

Respecting the other person’s dissimilarities with yours, allows you the benefit of comprehending his or her actions and does not necessarily dilute your own views, interpretations or beliefs.As long as one views compromise as a defeat or even humiliation, instead of a solution, problems of even tiny bearing gets disproportionately blown up. The readiness to absorb, accomodate and understand people and cultures, and the determination to strive towards mutual existence inspite of differences is as important, more so when viewed in the context of egality and integration.

When politicians shouted themselves hoarse over certain section of the society’s failure at integration, it is not difficult to come up with another phrase. Refusal to compromise.

You don’t have to give up your faith or your beliefs and principles to compromise. You don’t have to abandon your culture or tradition to fit into a new society or to be a part of it. All you need is a certain amount of flexibility. Leave, at least, a little room for manouevre somewhere among the folds of your traditional or cultural rope that binds you.

Possessing liberal awareness and the ability to tolerate and understand, to cultivate a wider perspective of life, people and cultures, customs and traditions, and to conform and adjust in appropriate measures is as much a compromise as it is a requisite ingredient towards meaningful assimilation.

(This is an old article I wrote post 9/11, at the behest of the Editor of New Times, a Danish Red Cross publication as the right-wing onslaught on foreigners/refugees/immigrants continued unabated in the media)