MediaEye RSS Feedhttps://www.mediaeyenews.comMediaEye news RSS Feeden-usCopyright (C) 2016 mediaeyenews.comCanine Psychology An overview

 

Anupama Nair

Dogs are considered as “man’s best friend” and I definitely agree, for I cannot imagine a life without my furry friend Rocky. He is the best stress-buster in the world. A wet nose and a wagging tail is a bundle of joy and comfort. I always think, how can some people not like dogs. I have always loved dogs and they are a pleasure to be with. The most saddening fact is our furry babies have short lives maybe up to 20 years and it never is enough for us.

Dog psychology is gaining importance as it is necessary to understand our four-legged babies. What is dog psychology? Psychology is the study of “ how brain acts and behaves”, so dog psychology in other words would be “how dogs behave with humans and how they interact with other dogs and humans”. Just like people, each dog has its own personality. They express their wants and needs in different ways, and the more time you spend with your canine, the more you’ll get to know him. If you understand the way he thinks and understand each other, it helps strengthen the bond between you and your companion. You will learn to recognize what triggers specific behaviors and develop a safer, more effective strategy for overcoming them.

All dog owners distinguish that there are times when our four-legged friend seems to understand just what they are thinking. Over the years, the field of canine psychology has demonstrated that there is a large degree of truth in the assumption. Dogs are able to learn words so that they know what their owners are referring to when they issue commands. Furthermore, dogs can follow the gaze of their owners, and they demonstrate other behaviors that are also evident in human psychology. “Dogs can even become susceptible to disorders such as depression and compulsive behavior”. Dogs are well known for exhibiting a pack mentality, in which there is a clear hierarchy of position. Usually, this is described as a society in which the alpha dog is the pack leader and the other members generally defer to it, though there are times when other dogs may try to gain dominance. 

While dogs do not use words to tell people or other animals what they are thinking, that does not mean there is no “dog language”. What is dog language? “His language consists of barks, growls, yowls, whimpers, postures, and so forth”. In fact, it is possible to differentiate between different kinds of barks and to identify a dog’s potential signs of aggression. Dog owners can tell a lot about the attitude of their dog, based on his mouth and tail. Relaxed dogs will have a relaxed, open mouth. Aggressive dogs will bare their teeth and growl. If the growl is accompanied by a stiff, upright tail, then the person should be wary that the dog is ready to bite. A sweeping wag of the tail, however, is a different history and indicates playfulness.

Making sure that a dog socializes well with other humans and animals is the key to the animal’s long-term well-being. “A properly socialized dog knows that not every stranger or unknown animal is a threat, and that will reduce its proclivity to get into fights or to go after those who mean no harm”. Regularly socializing a dog from the puppy stage onward is key to making sure that the animal is well-adjusted around people and animals. A great way to socialize a dog with other dogs is to take it to a dog park and allow it to get to know other dogs with your supervision. Dog owners should also make sure that their animal is introduced to a wide variety of people as well, and having these people give their dog a treat will help the animal recognize friends and be wary of foes.

For decades it has been assumed that humans are the only species that experience jealousy and the emotion of being treated unfairly, however, a recent study conducted at the University of California, San Diego claimed to show that dogs do feel jealousy. The study was performed by having humans engage with three different objects in front of their dogs -- a book, a plastic jack-o-lantern, and a realistic looking stuffed dog that moved and barked. The results show that, when the human were paying attention to the fake dog, their dogs were much more engaged and more likely to show behaviors such as, trying to touch their owner or the stuffed dog, trying to get in between them, barking, biting, and whining. I did not need any study to know dogs feel jealousy or insecurity. I have seen my Rocky whine when I play with other dogs.

Dog psychology has explored much in the past few decades. There have been more studies of domestic dog behavior in the past 20 years than in the past 200 years combined! This means we have more and more access to understanding dog psychology each year so that we can better serve the health and livelihood of Man’s Best Friend. All I pray to God is may they have long years to live like a human!

 

 

Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:53:09 +0530
Lumpsum and SIP an overview

 

Anupama Nair

 

Investing comes with many choices. The trouble starts when you start thinking about how to invest and in what. People from previous generation, invested in LIC policies and Fixed Deposits in banks which were safe. Over the years, the lower interest rates and inflation dwindled your savings. However, with Liberalization, we had options galore. Even if they were risky, people invested in it.

 

You must have heard of the term mutual funds. What is mutual funds? “A mutual fund is a professionally managed investment fund that pools money from many investors to purchase securities”. This term is characteristically used in the United States, Canada, and India, while in other countries across the globe it is called SICAV in Europe and open-ended investment company in the UK.

Mutual funds give small or individual investors access to professionally managed portfolios of equities, bonds, and other securities. Each shareholder, therefore, participates proportionally in the gains or losses of the fund. Mutual funds invest in a vast number of securities, and performance is usually tracked as the change in the total market cap of the fund that is derived by the aggregating performance of the underlying investments.

Mutual funds pool money from the public who invest and use the money to buy other securities, mostly stocks and bonds. The value of the mutual fund company depends on the performance of the securities it decides to buy. So, when you buy a unit or a share of a mutual fund, you are buying the performance of its portfolio or, more precisely, a part of the portfolio's value. Investing in a share of a mutual fund is different from investing in shares of stock. Unlike stock, mutual fund shares do not give its holders any voting rights. A share of a mutual fund represents investments in many different stocks (or other securities) instead of just one holding.

There are two choices you can use to invest – Lumpsum and SIP. An investor can make a one-time investment via a lumpsum investment or can make periodical, over a period of time through a systematic investment plan (SIP). The mode of investment can make a difference in one’s investment portfolio. Both SIP and lump-sum investments allow investors to benefit from potential wealth creation through mutual funds. However, the primary difference between SIP and lumpsum methods is the frequency of investment.

 

SIPs allow you to invest into a mutual fund scheme periodically, such as daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or half-yearly etc. With lump-sum investments are a one-time bulk investment in a particular scheme. The minimum investment amount also varies. You can begin investing in SIPs with as little as Rs.500 per month while generally lump-sum investments need at least Rs.1,0000. If you are an investor with a small but regular amount of money available for investment, SIPs can be a more suitable investment option. For investors with a relatively high investment amount and risk tolerance, lump-sum investments can be more beneficial.

Since lumpsum investments need a large amount of money, investors need to know when they are entering the market. Lump-sum investments are most beneficial when you invest when market is down. However, with SIPs, you have the facility to enter during different market cycles. Investors do not have to watch market movements as closely as they would for lump-sum investments.

As SIP leads to mutual fund purchases during different market cycles, the cost per unit is averaged out over the overall investment horizon. More number of units are purchased when market is down, compensating for purchases made during a market high. This can help tide over market fluctuations and even out the cost. Units can then be sold when the market is performing well.

SIPs can get you into the habit of saving frequently. Banks allow you to set up an automatic investment instruction at a frequency of your choice. For investors who can recognize market cycles, identifying a market low and investing in a lumpsum amount in a mutual fund at the right time can garner high returns. This is because of the basic principle of investing – buying low and selling high.

However, an ill-timed investment could result in losses and make you lose self-confidence. This is because an investor whose lumpsum is making losses may hesitate to pump in money again. Seasoned investors with ample market knowledge can benefit from lumpsum investments. Some of the other benefits of lumpsum investments are:

  • It can give considerable returns for those with a long-term investment plan (7 to 10 years minimum).
  • It can help achieve specific financial goals like investing for a child’s education fund or for a retirement fund.
  • It requires a one-time payment only.
  • Factors to Consider Before Investing

 

If you have a bulk amount at your disposal, a lumpsum investment may be a good way to go so that you do not end up spending the money. On the other hand, for a salaried person trying to cultivate a savings habit, SIP would be more suited. When the market is low, lumpsum investment will generate higher returns. If you are unable to identify market cycles, a SIP will help distribute the risk.

When you are choosing a SIP over a lump-sum investment, it should be based on your personal requirements. Factors such as income, financial stability, investment goals, and risk capacity determines the choice of investment.

Market experts believe that SIPs are superior as they can help you tide over market fluctuations and be a good investment option even for novice investors since they do not necessitate frequent monitoring of financial markets.

Indeed, some amount of investment is better than none.

 

Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:48:25 +0530
Chandigarh Airport named after Bhagat Singh

Anupama Nair

I am a proud Indian today. The international airport in Chandigarh was on September 28, 2022, christened Shaheed Bhagat Singh International Airport after our Kohinoor Heera our beloved Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement in his Mann Ki Bath speech. How could Bharat Ma’s true son forget another unlike the previous governments only glorified one family?.

The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who was the chief guest at an event at the airport, thanked the Prime Minister for deciding to rename the airport "We are fortunate that we are able to dedicate ourselves in at least remembering the great sacrifice, and grateful that the Punjab and Haryana governments overcame their differences to come together over the name change.

 

She reiterated about Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India) and the target to turn the country into a developed nation by 2047, on the 100th year of Independence. "We should be known as a developed country by 2047," she said. She said she was proud noting that India was at 11th in terms of economic strength 10 years ago, and now we have become 5th over-taking our colonial masters UK..

 

Mr. Mann also thanked Mr. Modi for renaming the airport after Bhagat Singh. It was a long-pending demand to rename the airport after Bhagat Singh. Referring to his recent meeting with Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala over the issue, Mr. Mann said a letter was sent to the Civil Aviation Ministry to rename the airport. It was demanded that the announcement be made before the freedom fighter's birth anniversary on September 28, he recalled.

On the occasion, Mr. Mann urged the Centre to start more international flights from the airport to facilitate the Punjabi diaspora across the globe. He sought direct flights to London, New York, San Francisco, Canada, Australia and other places from Chandigarh airport. He claimed these flights will benefit passengers from neighboring States as well.

A true tribute to the son of Bharat Ma!

Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:46:00 +0530
Mystery of Khatkar Kalan and Bhagat Singh

Anupama Nair

 

Khatkar Kalan, a place in the part of Indian Punjab is in the news now a days, for it’s relationship with the legendary Bhagat Singh. The newly elected Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, took oath in this village associated with the martyr. So, I thought let me do research on it. I was confused as far as I know, Bhagat Singh was born and died in Lahore, which unfortunately is in Pakistan. However, then I discovered that the Punjab village had a connection with India's freedom struggle, and will always be associated with Bhagat Singh as his ancestral place.

 

Bhagat Singh was not born here and never lived in the village also. Bhagat Singh was born on September 28, 1907 in Banga village in Lyallpur district in Lahore. He had visited Khatkar Kalan with his grandfather Arjan Singh but never lived there, said the villagers with pride in their voice. Imagine how proud the people of Lyallpur would be! "Arjan Singh used to bring his grandsons Bhagat Singh and Jagat Singh (who died early in 1917 due to a influenza), to Khatkar Kalan and the house every summer. Everyone in my family knew about this," said his Ludhiana-based nephew Jagmohan Singh. "I interviewed people of Bhagat Singh's age in Khatkar Kalan who also verified the same. So yes, this is a confirmed fact that Bhagat Singh did visit the village multiple times", he confirmed.

 

A famous historian Chaman Lal, who was the author of several books on the legendary Bhagat Singh, stated that the freedom fighter may have visited the village but never lived there. It is well known that Bhagat Singh was only 23 when he was hanged on March 23, 1931 along with Sukhdev Thapar and Shiv Ram Hari Rajguru  for the murder of a British police official John Saunders. The case came to be known as the Lahore Conspiracy Case. He studied till Grade 5 in his village school, and then was enrolled at the Dayanand Anglo Vedic (DAV) High School in Lahore. He studied in the National College in Lahore which was founded by the legendary Lala Lajpat Rai, who was considered as his Guru.

 

Tracing the family's connection with Khatkar Kalan, it was believed that the family migrated from the village to Lyallpur around the early 1900s after the British allotted land to families in the two newly created districts called Montgomery and Lyallpur.

Many decades later, during the Partition in 1947, the family returned to their Khatkar Kalan house. Bhagat Singh's father Kishan Singh died in 1951, while his mother Vidyavati, who lived in the ancestral home till her death in 1975. The house in Khatkar Kalan stands as a protected monument, was built by Bhagat Singh's great-grandfather Sardar Fateh Singh in 1858. It was later declared a monument under the 'Punjab Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act' (1964) in 1982.

 

The family shifted to Lyallpur after they were allotted land, explained Lal, who is also a, honorary adviser to the Bhagat Singh Archive and Resource Centre in New Delhi. "The Britishers dug canals and the land of these two districts -- Lyallpur and Montgomery were very fertile. Bhagat Singh's family like many families in the whole of Punjab shifted after they were allotted the land. They got the land at 'Chak No 105' in Lyallpur".

 

There, is also a story behind how Khatkar Khalan got its name many centuries ago.

The beginning of the story was when an ancestor of Bhagat Singh, who traveled from his home in Narli, Amritsar, to Haridwar to immerse the ashes of a member of his family.

The incident occurred even before Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak in the 15th century. We do not know his name, was crossing 'Garh Kalan' (fort village) and spent a night at the house of a local feudal lord. Impressed with the boy, the feudal lord arranged the marriage of his only daughter with him and gave the village as a dowry. When the marriage was arranged, there was only one condition, the boy had to stay with them and he agreed. So, Garh Kalan, came to be called Khat Kalan. Later, the people started calling the village 'Khatkar Kalan. The story was mentioned in Bhagat Singh's uncle Ajit Singh’s autobiography called ‘Buried Alive’.

 

Many centuries later, Bhagat Singh's great grandfather Fateh Singh, who dared to defy the British East India Company. In the 1840s, he had fought the British under the great Maharaja Ranjit Singh's army in the Anglo-Sikh war. Unfortunately, much of their land and property was seized by the British East India Company. However, during the First War of Independence in 1857, the then Governor of Punjab John Lawrence called upon Fateh Singh for help against the rebels in return of confiscated property and other rewards, but he refused. Fateh Singh believed it was the test of his life and he believed in the teachings of Guru Gobind Singh who said “wherever people fight for their rights, it is your duty to stand with them. So, he chose his principle, and not property," said Jagmohan Singh, who retired as head of the computer science department in Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

It sure is an interesting story and I was impressed by the bravery of Bhagat Singh’s ancestors. No wonder Bhagat Singh became who he was.

 

 

 

Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:26:42 +0530
The young guru of Bhagat Singh who sacrificed his life for Bharat Ma

Anupama Nair

Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of  India’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British. I had written many articles on unknown people who gave their lives for freedom of Bharat Ma.

What is freedom and are we totally free as was the dream of many who gave their lives for the independence of India. Rabindra Nath Tagore in Gitanjali said

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action –
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake”.

 

When you read this poem and ask your conscience and think of the question and you will get the answer. Did the sacrifice of the millions go in vain? Have we have forgotten them and only give credit to two for our independence and the rest are forgotten in the annals of history never to be remembered. Was it for this day, they selflessly sacrificed their life for you and me, children of Independent India? However, is it fair to forget them and their sacrifice?

 

Today I am going to write about Kartar Singh, a 19-year-old revolutionary who gave his life for his motherland. “Among the more inspiring tales of the Indian Freedom Movement are the stories of the young men and women who flirted with danger by taking on the might of ‘the great empire, where the sun never sets’. and sacrificed their lives for their motherland. Every year on 23rd  March or Shaheed Diwas, Bhagat Singh and his comrades, Sukhdev and Rajguru, are remembered for the sacrifice they made. For a country that was enslaved by the British, the execution of these three young men in 1931 served as a fuel to further their commitment or freedom”. It is said, “their executions were not an end, but yet another beginning and perhaps more importantly, a reaffirmation of their dream to achieve their goal of free India.

 

In 1915, when Bhagat Singh was only a young boy, another young man was executed by the British Administration. He  was only 19 and  his sacrifice served as a ‘trigger of sorts to many others’. Kartar Singh Sarabha was born on 24th  May 1896 in Sarabha village near Ludhiana in undivided Punjab. Since the middle of the 19th Century, Punjab had undergone many unfavorable changes. In the year 1849, the British had usurped the empire of the great Maharaja Ranjit Singh after pensioning off his heir, Dalip Singh. Soon after, many Punjabis joined the British-Indian Army. By 1900, close to half the Indian Army comprised troops from Punjab.

The ‘Canal Colonies’ were developed in Punjab by the British to feed their commercial agricultural activities and had also resulted in internal migration between East and West Punjab. The colonies had enabled many peasants to obtain land, but the cycle of bad harvests, indebtedness and pressure to pay tax were their major worries. The famines of 1896-97 and 1899-1900 were particularly severe. In November 1906, a drastic increase in the rate of canal water was announced by the Colonial Government.

 

In such a worrisome situation, the urge to leave Punjab to other countries was but quite natural. Initial emigration was to the Far East, however, in 1905, 45 Punjabis went to Canada and by 1908, there were 3500 Indians in Canada when the authorities clamped down on Indian immigration. Then they now entered the United States. Several thousand managed to enter the US, and most of them were Sikhs.

 

Sarabha’s early years were spent in the village where he was brought up by his grandfather following his father’s early death. He completed his matriculation from Ravenshaw College in Cuttack, where an uncle lived. In the year, 1912, Sarabha left for San Francisco, wanting to enroll at the University of Berkeley. However, his enrollment details at Berkeley are unclear and it is difficult to state with certainty that he did study there.

 

North America in the beginning of 20th Century were hostile to Asian immigrants and their presence caused much resentment. The immigrants began form groups in an attempt to share their troubles and discuss what they were experiencing. In this process, Sarabha became politicized. Freeing India from the British was thought to be a way to restore the honor and dignity of Indians. In March 1913, Indian workers in the states of Oregon and Washington founded an organization to fight for their rights. Around the same time, in May-June 1913, Lala Hardayal addressed a series of meetings in California and formed a party  called Ghadar Party with a call for armed revolution. Sarabha joined the movement and soon the party began to spread its wings across the US. The movement set up its  headquarters in San Francisco and besides Sarabha, many others like Harnam Singh, Raghubar Dyal Gupta and many others volunteered not only to work for the movement, but to stay in the premises and be available for it at all times.

 

Soon a newspaper called Ghadar was published in Urdu in November 1913 and from December onwards in Punjabi. It was still not clear how the Ghadarites intended to start an armed rebellion. Being politically well-informed, there was a sense that Europe would soon be plunged in war and that would be perhaps be a good moment to strike. The feeling though was that this war would likely begin around 1920 and so they had some years to prepare themselves. Meanwhile, regular issues of the publication kept coming out, some even finding their way to India where they were seized by British authorities.

“Almost from the very beginning, things did not go according to plan. Many who landed in Calcutta, like Sohan Singh Bhakna, were arrested on arrival. Sarabha, who was handicapped by the arrest of his compatriots, nevertheless continued undaunted and entered many cantonments in Punjab and attempted to radicalize the soldiers. Vishnu Ganesh Pingley, his associate from the US and Rash Behari Bose from Bengal who had joined the Ghadarites in India were his companions in this endeavor.

 

The date for armed revolt was fixed on 21st February 1915, unfortunately, someone leaked this information to the British authorities after which the date was changed to 19th  February. Meanwhile, the British reacted swiftly and arrested a number of revolutionaries. The promised revolution did not occur. Both Pingley and Sarabha were arrested. Bose fled to Japan and did not return to India till his death there in 1945.

Pingle, Sarabha, Harnam Singh, Bhai Paramanand and many others were tried in the Lahore Conspiracy trial in April 1915 for their roles in the February plot.  When questioned about his role in the plot, Sarabha was defiant, stating that “it was his duty to get Indians to rebel against the British”. Pingle and Sarabha were executed at the Lahore Central Jail on 16th November 1915.

 

Sarabha’s supreme sacrifice did not go in vain. Bhagat Singh idolized him and carried his photo around in his pocket at all times. When the ‘Naujawan Bharat Sabha’ was established in March 1926 by Bhagat Singh, Bhagwati Charan Vohra and others, one of the first functions that the Sabha organized was to pay homage to Sarabha. In that function, Durga Devi and Sushila Devi sprinkled blood from their fingers on a milky white cover of Sarabha’s portrait to underline their commitment to the cause.

Let me ask you a question, how many of you have heard of him? I am sure the answer would be no. I wrote this article to pay homage to this patriot who we can call as Bhagat Singh’s guru.

 

Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:23:43 +0530
Happy Birthday Bhagat Singh

Happy Birthday Bhagat Singh! 

Anupama Nair

“But the heart, the eye, the yet deeper heart —
Still ablaze for the Beloved, their turmoil shines.
In the lantern by the road the flame is stalled for news:
Did the morning breeze ever come?  Where has it gone?
Night weighs us down, it still weighs us down.
Friends, come away from this false light.  Come, we must
search for that promised Dawn”

But the promised Dawn did finally come after nearly 200 years of colonial rule. We lost millions of Bharat Ma’s sons and daughters starting from Siraj-ud-Daula (Battle of Plassey, 1757), to Mangal Pandey, Rani Laxmi Bai (1857) and finally Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev and lastly the man who said “Give me blood, I will give you freedom”—Netaji.

As Rousseau, during the French Revolution said “Man is born free yet he is in chains”, it was true for India. The desire to be free is the dream of every human, but during the Raj it was a rare commodity. For a century we were ruled by a Company called East India Company, who let loose a reign of terror. It was truly a black era. But the Revolt of 1857 ended the Company rule and India was ruled by the British Government. But the reign of terror did not end. All voice of freedom was suppressed.

In such an India was born a true son of Bharat Ma in 1907, in Lyallpur, Lahore (Pakistan). Even today he is the hero of entire Indian sub-continent. His parents were Kishan Singh and Vidyavati. His family had been active in Indian Independence movement for a long time. He was very moved by the visit to Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, where General Dyer shot innocent people. Lakhs lost their lives. In 1923 he joined National College, Lahore, where he met Sukhdev and both of them joined Hindustan Republican Association (HRA).

In 1928, the British government set up the Simon Commission to report on the political situation in India. It was opposed in India because there was not a single Indian in the Commission. Lala Lajpat Rai held a march in protest against it. Police attempts to disperse the large crowd resulted in violence. The superintendent of police, James A. Scott, ordered the police to lathi charge against the protesters and personally assaulted Rai, who was injured. Rai died in November 1928.

Bhagat was a prominent member of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) and was mainly responsible, for its change of name to Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) in 1928. The HSRA vowed to avenge Rai's death. Singh conspired with revolutionaries like RajguruSukhdev, and Chandrashekhar Azad to kill Scott. However, in a case of mistaken identity, the plotters shot John P. Saunders, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, as he was leaving the District Police Headquarters in Lahore on 17 December 1928. After killing Saunders, the group escaped to Calcutta with the help of an associate Durga Bhabhi.

 

Bhagat Singh's plan was to explode a bomb inside the Central Legislative Assembly. The intention was to protest against the Public Safety Bill, and the Trade Dispute Act, which had been rejected by the Assembly but were being enacted by the Viceroy Lord Irwin ,using his special powers; the actual intention was for the perpetrators to allow themselves to be arrested so that they could use court appearances as a stage to publicize their cause for freedom. The trial began in the first week of June, following a preliminary hearing in May. On 12 June, both Bhagat Singh and Bhatukeshwar Dutt were sentenced to life imprisonment for: "causing explosions of a nature likely to endanger life, unlawfully and maliciously." After a re-trial of the Saunders Murder case, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev were sentenced to Death by Hanging.

The entire country except the Congress under Gandhi revolted against the execution. Gandhi was greeted by black flags in Karachi. On 23rd March 1931, the British treacherously hung three young lives. Chandrashekhar Azad was also martyred but their sacrifices did not go in vain as Dawn of Freedom come on 15th August 1947 as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Sardar Patel and Veer Savarkar followed their ideas. Today every one in India is free and it was won paying huge price and millions who sacrificed their lives.

Today is the 90th Balidan Diwas of India’s greatest sons. Pakistan named the spot where Bhagat Singh was hanged as Bhagat Singh Chowk. As India is celebrating the 75th year of Independence it is relevant to remember them. He was voted the "Greatest Indian" in a poll by the Indian magazine India Today in 2008

Bhagat Singh quotes

 

"It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled, while the ideas survived."

"Revolution is an inalienable right of mankind”.

"If the deaf have to hear, the sound has to be very loud".

“Any man who stands for progress has to criticize, disbelieve and challenge every item of the old faith. * Zindagi to apne dam par hi jee jati hai. Dusro ke kandhe par toh sirf janaje uthaye jate hai. Desh ke bhagato ko aksar log pagal kahte hai!”

 

Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:17:29 +0530
Liberalization Privatization and Globalization An Appraisal

 

Anupama Nair

There is an always an eternal debate about the policies a country should implement in order to inspire economic growth. The questions asked are is it better for a government to intervene and choose which industries to develop, or should it allow the private sector to decide what to produce? We heard many success stories of countries that had followed industrial policies, such as the Asian tigers in the 1960s and 1990s, but there are also stories of failure, such as India in the decades prior to the 1990s. What led to the economic miracle in India during the 1990s is the question?

The Indian government sought to encourage industrialization by directing investment toward the production of capital goods and by restricting imports. At the same time, it tried to help its poorest citizens, who lived in villages, due to which the return on capital in the public sector during the 1980s was only 1.5%. The private sector, after Independence suffered under other restrictions, including the following:

  • Import restrictions that did not permit the free exchange of goods and knowledge.
  • Anti-trust laws that did not allow businesses to grow.
  • Public monopolies that operated very inefficiently.
  • The License Raj, which complicated the process of opening new businesses

 

So, it is not surprising that GDP per capita grew only at an annual rate of only 3.5% in the years prior to the 1980s. Considering, how poor India was, even in the following decade, the GDP per capita was only $447 in 1985, the growth rates were also alarming. They were not high enough to lift the population out of poverty. Like many other countries that were unable to produce enough to finance their government projects through taxation, India financed itself with public debt. In 1991, the public debt reached $70 billion and India was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. To avoid this disastrous last resort, India was forced to take immediate action to fix the problem.

In 1991, the Indian government broke with industrial policy, which had failed. In a surprising 180-degree twist, the new policies encouraged business activity, stimulated growth in the private sector, and revived international trade.

Some of the most important measures included:

  • Eliminating the industrial license requirement for most sectors;
  • Removing limits on capital accumulation;
  • Eliminating licenses for importing the majority of goods;
  • Reducing tariffs.
  • Opening the private sector to many activities that had previously been reserved for the public sector.
  • Reducing requirements for bank reserves and restrictions on interest rates.
  • Eliminating restrictions on foreign investment.

Liberalization achieved the desired results, as reflected by the following data:

  • GDP per capita grew at an annual rate of 6 % in the 1990s, driven by the service sector, which would come to represent 53.5 %of GDP by 1999.
  • Exports grew at an annual rate of 17.3 % during the 1990s, in large part because of a boom in the software sector.
  • India’s score on the Fraser Institute’s Index of Economic Freedom rose from 4.8 in 1990 to 6.2 in 2000, reflecting remarkable improvements in the freedom to trade internationally.
  • Although the economy grew after liberalization, one could argue that this is a coincidence and that the growth was really a belated effect of the previous industrial policies. It could also be argued that economic growth would have occurred even without any policy changes.

 

 

 

 

Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:55:43 +0530
Lata Mangeshkar and KL Saigal a true story

 

Anupama Nair

Lata Mangeshkar is considered as one of the greatest singers in living history, no wonder she is called Swar Kokila, or nightingale of India and was awarded the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna. She left for her heavenly abode on 6th February this year, leaving a deep void, in Indian music that can never be filled. All lovers of music can never forget the impact of the news that greeted us on a Sunday. It has left an untold sadness in my heart. So, I am writing many articles about her, the facts I learnt in the course of my career.

 

Few of you might know that along with Veer Savarkar ji she also idolized one of the greatest male playback singer as well as actor K.L Saigal. Who can forget the song “jub dil he toot gaya” from the blockbuster film Shah Jehan released in 1946 starring Saigal himself? In those years or golden era of Hindi Music, it was necessary for an actor or actress to be a playback singer too. Saigal, Noor Jehan, Surendra, Suraiya are all great singers as well as actors and most of their films were block busters – Devdas, Anmol Ghadi, Mirza Sahiba, Rattan and many others.

 

Now, let me tell you about Saigal and I am sure, he needs no introduction to music lovers. Actor-singer Kundanlal Saigal, or K.L. Saigal, was born on April 11, 1904. Known for his unique voice, K. L. Saigal has sung over 185 songs throughout his career. He also established himself as one of the first true Bollywood superstars and worked on 36 films in three languages - 28 in Hindi, seven in Bengali, and one in Tamil. Some of his most popular and successful movies were Yahudi Ki Ladki, Bhukt Surdas, Tansen, Devdas, Street Singer, Lagan, among others.

 

Formal education in music was not easily available in those days, as we do now. However, he did whatever he could to learn music. Initially he got experience in acting in local Ramlila pandals.  It is said that as a youth he used to sneak to the house of a local ‘tawaif’ so that he could hear her sing and later he would imitate what he heard. As a young man he tried several occupations.  After he dropped out of school, he worked for a while as a railway timekeeper and as a typewriter salesman which gave him the opportunity to travel widely in India.

 

He started singing as an amateur.  He used to sing in gatherings with friends and met many influential people.  He had the luck to meet Meharchand Jain, who would become one of Saigal's early friend and supporter. In course of his travels, he also met B.N. Sircar the founder of New Theatres. It is said that it was Sircar, who persuaded Saigal to go to Calcutta. Saigal's life in Calcutta was full of music. Though, he briefly worked as a hotel manager, his sole interest was in music and  he also participated in mehfils. He also recorded a number of songs written and arranged by Harishchandra Bali.  These were released through Indian Gramophone Company.  Little by little, his reputation as a singer increased. The film world at that time was in the midst of a revolution as the talkies was just introduced, and the producers were clamoring for actors who could sing like Saigal, Surendra, Punkaj Mullik, Noor Jehan and Suraiya. 

You need to remember it was the time before the custom of ‘playback singing as we know in the golden era come into fashion.  My dad who was a great fan of Noor Jehan and used to say “the actors and actresses sang their own songs, and musical ability was considered and important pre-requisite for a successful film career”.

 

Saigal's immensely famous music recordings proved to be his stepping-stone into acting in films.  Saigal was later introduced to R.C. Boral, who signed Saigal to a contract with New Theatres.  He was paid Rs. 200 a month to work to act in films.  In those days Rs. 200 would have been worth crores. His first film was "Mohabbat Ke Ansoo"  released in 1932.  After that, he had roles in "Subah Ke Sitare", and "Zinda Laash”, both released in 1932.  During this time, Saigal continued to make disks called Hindustan Records Company of which ‘Jhulana jhulao’ was popular. He continued to sing and act in a number of films, however, the film that was epoch-making was ‘Chandidas’ released in  1934. However, the film that shaped his career was ‘Devdas’ which was ironic as he was an alcoholic too and died due to heavy drinking like the character Devdas. After the phenomenal success of ‘Devdas’, there was no doubt that Saigal was a formidable entity in the film industry.

 

It was during this period that his personal life developed as well.  In 1935 he married Asha Rani and had three children.  There was a son named Madan Mohan (no connection to the director of the same name), and two daughters, Nina and Bina. It is said that in the years before his death, he was unable to sing or perform without first having a drink.  This was affecting both his health as well as his work.  He suffered from liver cirrhosis, and medical treatment was to no avail and he passed away on January 18th 1947 in Jalandhar, when he was only 42 years old.

 

Now let us come back to his relationship with Mangeshkar family, in the early 1930's, --the family of singers had their own idol, K.L. Saigal. His songs were very popular in the Mangeshkar household. In those days, they were only allowed to sing songs sung by Saigal. So, with no access to any other male singer's voice young Lata fell in love with him started to dream of getting married to Saigal. In an interview the Bharat Ratna said emotionally, "as far as I can remember, I always wanted to meet Saigal. As a child, I used to say that I will get married to him after I grow up, and that's when my father explained to me that when I'll be big enough to get married, Saigal saab will be too old enough to get married".

 

Unfortunately, Lataji was never able to meet up with her dream man. In her own words, she said, "I will always regret not to have met Saigal, the man of my dreams. But yes, with the help of his brother Mahendra Saigal, I did get a chance to meet his wife Ashaji and his children who gifted me Saigal saab's ring". Though she could not see him personally the ring would have meant much to her! Those were the days when music was the ‘milap of sur and taal’. Unfortunately, after the 1990s the film music lacked raag, alaap, tal, shruti aur sur, and you can imagine, without these no music would exist. Other than a few films like Parinita, Baji Rao Mastani and Padmavat, music ceased to exist. Hope “guzra hua zamana wapas aa jaye”!

 

 

 

 

 

Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:49:11 +0530
Veer Savarkar and Lata Mangeshkar their true relationship

 

Anupama Nair

Today I am going to write about a news which has been much talked about i.e., Swar Kokila Bharat Ratna, Lata Mangeshkar’s relationship with one of India’s greatest sons and freedom fighter who believed in Chhatrapati Shivaji’s ideas of Swaraj and Swadharma – Veer Savarkar. Lata ji left this world for her heavenly abode on 6th February 2022 at an age of 92. In many articles and tweets Lata ji talked about her relationship with Savarkar ji, when she was a small girl. The entire Mangeshkar clan had a very close  relationship with Savarkar ji. Her brother Hridayanath Mangeshkar was fired from All India Radio for singing a poetry written by Savarkar. He had knowingly taken that risk.

To refresh your memory let me tell you about Savarkar ji and then the relationship with Lata ji’s family.

Veer Savarkar or Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, a great son of Mother India was born on 28th May 1883 to Damodar and Radhabai Savarkar, near Nashik, Maharastra. Savarkar joined the Hindu Mahasabha and popularized the term Hindutva (Hinduness), previously coined by Chandranath Basu to create a collective "Hindu" identity as an essence of Bharat. Surprisingly Savarkar was an atheist and also a pragmatic practitioner of Hindu philosophy.

Savarkar began his political activities as a high school student and continued to do so in Ferguson College (Poona). He and his brother founded a secret society called Abhinav Bharat Society. When he went to the United Kingdom for his law studies, he involved himself with organizations such as India House and the Free India Society. He also published books advocating complete Indian independence by revolutionary means. One of the books he published called “Indian War of Independence” about the great Revolt of 1857, was banned by the British authorities. In 1910, Savarkar was arrested and ordered to be extradited to India for his connections with the revolutionary group India House.

On his voyage back to India, Savarkar staged an attempt to escape and seek asylum in France, while the ship was docked in the port of Marseilles. The French port officials however, handed him back to the British while disobeying international law. On return to India, Savarkar was sentenced to two life terms of imprisonment totaling fifty years and was moved to the Cellular Jail in the Andaman and Nicobar Island. Savarkar resided in Ratnagiri till 1937, when he joined the Hindu Mahasabha. He started traveling widely, becoming a forceful orator and writer, advocating Hindu political and social unity.

Savarkar was critical of the decision taken by the Congress in its Wardha session of 1942, which passed a resolution which said to the British: "Quit India but keep your armies here". Savarkar said it “was the reinstallation of British military rule over India”, which he felt would be much worse. In July 1942, as he felt extremely stressed carrying out his duties as the president of Hindu Mahasabha, and as he needed some rest, he resigned from the post of the president. This coincided with MK Gandhi’s Quit India Movement.

In 1948, Savarkar was charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination of MK Gandhi, however, he was acquitted by the court for lack of evidence. Savarkar resurfaced in the popular discourse after the coming of the BJP into power in 1998, and again in 2014 with the Modi-led BJP government at the center.

The airport at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar's capital was renamed Veer Savarkar’s International Airport in 2002. A postage stamp in his memory was released in 1970. The Malayalam movie, Kala Paani was made to commemorate his life. Annu Kapoor played the role of Savarkar.

What was the relationship of Savarkar ji to Lata ji? Freedom fighter and among the earliest proponents of the Hindutva ideology, Veer Savarkar, remains one of the most vilified personalities in Indian history. For decades, Savarkar was treated with disdain and demonized by successive Indian governments, a majority of them headed by the Congress party. A conscious effort was undertaken to defame Veer Savarkar so as to discredit his beliefs and undermine his contribution to India’s freedom struggle. But legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar and her family were among those who saw through this facade carefully created by the Congress party and its loyalists and held “Savarkar for who he was a staunch patriot dedicated to the cause of India’s freedom and an erudite man with a flair for poetry and writing”.

Lata ji did not like Savarkar ji not only because of his love for his motherland, but also for the personal relationship he had with her family. He wrote a play for Lata ji’s father Pundit Dina Nath Mangeshkar’s theater company. He tried to spread awareness against the British rule. The name of the play was ‘Sanyasth Khadga’. The play went live on 18th September 1931. Lata ji recalled her mother Sevantha who was lovingly called mai used to make dinner for all the people associated with the play. She met Savarkar when she used to deliver lunch and dinner. She was lucky enough to have met and interacted with a person like Savarkar ji.

Every year on his Jayanti on 28th May she would tweet her respect. She said “ those who are speaking against Savarkar ji do not know how big a patriot and self-respecting person he was”. Now both can meet in heaven.

Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:46:37 +0530
Happy Birthday Lata Ji

 

Anupama Nair

When I think of Music, I always think of my favorite writer Shakespeare and his quotes “If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die”. I will take you on a journey of the Hindi film music. Hindi film music has a long history and still decide the fate of a movie. The film music from the beginning till the 1990s had poetic lyrics and melodious music. However, with the arrival of the millennium, the music lost its touch. No poetic lyrics or melodious music exist, any more, only very rarely in film like Parinita, but mostly do not exist anymore. It pains my heart to see this fall. Hope the yesteryears come back, at least for music. So, I can say, safely it is the death of Indin music too.

 

The first film in Hindi with recorded music was in the move “Alam Ara” made in 1931, and the first song had the lyrics “De khuda ke naam per”. In the 1940s they are many songs which after 80 years are still popular. Some of those songs are “Akhiyan Milake (Ratan), Jawan hai Muhabbat (Anmol Ghadi), and Awaz de Kahan hai (Anmol Ghadi). The songs sung by Suraiya and Noor Jehan are still super hits. When Bharat Ma was amputated in 1947, Noor Jehan unfortunately left for Pakistan and it enabled the rise of Lata.

 

She was born on September 1929 to the great Dinanath Mangeshkar and Sevanthi Bai in the princely state of Indore in Central Provinces in British India. She was born as the eldest of five siblings – Asha, Usha, Meena and Hridaynath, who were all musicians. Asha Bhosle her sister is also a famous play back singer. She did not receive any formal education and her father Dinanath ran a theater company that produced musical plays, where Lata started acting at the young age of five. She was introduced to music at a very young age.

Lataji’s  birth name was "Hema". Later, her parents renamed, Lata, after a female character, Latika, in one of her father's plays, Bhaaw Bandhan. Her father was her first guru. In her career of more than six decades, she was the singing voice for a great number of Bollywood leading heroines like Madhubala, Nargis, Nootan, Meena Kumari, Jaya Bachan, Sharmila Tagore, Rakhi… and the list is endless. She proved there is no boundaries in music.

When Lata Mangeshkar was only 13 years old, her father died due to a heart attack.The owner of Navyug Chitrapat movie company named Master Vinayak or Vinayak Damodar Karnataki took care of them as he was a close friend of the Mangeshkar family. He helped Lata to get started in a career as a singer and actress. 

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As a teenager, she struggled to support her family. She decided to try her luck in Bollywood and moved to Mumbai in 1945. She started taking lessons from Ustad Aman Ali Khan of Bhindi Bazaar Gharana in Hindustani classical music. Her first movie was Aap Ki Seva Mein in 1946, and she sang the song "Paa Lagoon Kar Jori" which was composed by Datta Davjekar.  Lata ji once said Badi Maa released in 1945, was a epoch making  movie, as Lata and her sister Asha played minor roles in the movie where Noor Jehan the reigning queen was the heroine. In this movie, she also sang a Bhajan "Mata Tere Charnon Mein", and this movie led to a life long friendship with Noor Jehan.

In 1948, Vinayak died and music director Ghulam Haider mentored her as a singer. He introduced Lata to producer Sashadhar Mukherjee and she recorded the hit “Uthaye ja unke sitam” in Andaz  released in 1949, and her destiny was sealed. From this point, she gave her musical voice to every major leading lady, representing every generation of Hindi cinema from Nargis, Madhubala and Waheeda Rehman to Madhuri Dixit and finally Preity Zinta and Kajol.

Her singing contributed a great deal to the commercial films like Mahal (1949), where the song “ Ayega Ayega Aane wala, ayega”, is still a blockbuster song. Barsaat (1949), Meena Bazaar (1950), Aadhi Raat (1950), Chhoti Bhabhi (1950), Afsana (1951), Aansoo (1953), and Adl-e-Jehangir (1955) gave her a career boost. She then sang various Raag-based songs for Naushad in films like Deedar (1951), Baiju Bawra (1952), Amar (1954), Uran Khatola (1955), and Mother India (1957).  Her first song for the composer Naushad was Ae Chorre Ki Jaat Badi Bewafa, a duet with G. M. Durrani. The duo, Shankar–Jaikishan, chose Lata for Barsaat (1949), Aah (1953), Shree 420 (1955), and Chori Chori (1956).

Composer S.D Burman before the year 1957 chose Lata as the leading female singer for Sazaa (1951),  House No. 44 (1955), and Devdas (1955). In 1957, there was a rift and she did not sing his compositions again until 1962."Aaja Re Pardesi" from Madhumati (1958) won her the Filmfare award. She sang for films like Baagi (1953), Railway Platform (1955), Pocketmaar (1956), Mr. Lambu (1956), Dekh Kabira Roya (1957), Adalat (1958), Jailor (1958), Mohar (1959), and Chacha Zindabad (1959), for the great Madan Mohan.

Can we ever forget the song "Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya" from Dilip Kumar, Madhubala starrer Mughal-e-Azam released in1960. Lata Ji sang this song very beautifully and is still, a blockbuster. It was composed by Naushad and lip-synced by Madhubala. "Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh" from Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai (1960) was also sung by Lata Ji very beautifully. It was composed by Shankar–Jaikishan and lip-synced by Meena Kumari.

Lata Ji sang a patriotic song against the backdrop of the Sino-Indian War “ Ae mere watan ki logon” in the presence of Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India and it is  said that the song brought tears to former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The song was composed by C. Ramchandra and written by Kavi Pradeep. The song “Vandemataram” sung by Lata from the film Anandmath fills the heart of every Indian with patriotism.

 

The 1960s was beginning of the association of Lata Ji with Laxmikant-Pyarelal, the music director for whom she sang the most popular songs. It is said that she sang over 700 songs for the composer duo over a period of 35 years, many of which become hits. She sang for several movies including Parasmani (1963), Mr. X in Bombay (1964), Aaye Din Bahar Ke (1966), Milan (1967), Anita (1967), Shagird (1968), Mere Hamdam Mere Dost (1968), Intaquam (1969), Do Raaste (1969) and Jeene Ki Raah for which she got the Filmfare award.

Meena Kumari's last film ‘Pakeeza’ released in 1972 which featured popular songs like "Chalte Chalte" and Inhi Logon Ne", sung by Lata Ji and composed by Ghulam Mohammed are still popular today. She also recorded various popular songs for S.D Burman's last films like "Rangeela Re" from Prem Pujari (1970), "Khilte Hain Gul Yahaan" from Sharmeelee (1971), and "Piya Bina" from Abhimaan (1973) and for Madan Mohan's last films, including Dastak (1970), Heer Raanjha (1970), Dil Ki Rahen (1973), Hindustan Ki Kasam (1973), Hanste Zakhm (1973), Mausam (1975) and Laila Majnu (1976).

Various songs by Lata Mangeshkar were composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Rahul Dev Burman in the 1970s. Various hit songs are also sung by her with Rahul Dev Burman in the films including Amar Prem (1972), Caravan (1971), Kati Patang (1971), and Aandhi (1975). The two are noted for their songs with the lyricists Majrooh Sultanpuri, Anand Bakshi, and Gulzar. She won the 4th film fare award for the song “Biti na Bitai” from the film Parichay. She also sang Malayalam song in 1974 ""Kadali Chenkadali" for the film Nellu. It was composed by Salil Chowdhury, and written by Vayalar Ramavarma.

She won the National Award for her song “ Roothe Roothe Piya” from the movie Kora Kagaz. She started singing in many concerts from the 1970s onwards including various charity concerts. In 1974, and her first concert was at the Royal Albert Hall, London and she was the first Indian to do so. An album of Mira Bhajans was released soon. Satyam Shivan Sundaram in 1978 directed by Raj Kapoor in which Lata Ji sang the main theme song "Satyam Shivam Sundaram" become the hit of the year. 

In 1980s she sang for various movies including Karz (1980), Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981), Silsila (1981), Prem Rog (1982), Hero (1983), Pyar Jhukta Nahin (1985), Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985), Nagina (1986), and Ram Lakhan (1989). Her song "Zu Zu Zu Yashoda" from Sanjog (1985) was a hit at that time.The biggest hits of Lataji in 1980s were "Sheesha Ho Ya Dil Ho" in Asha (1980), "Tu Kitne Baras Ka" in Karz (1980), "Kitna Aasan Hai" in Dostana (1980), "Hum Ko Bhi Gham" in Aas Paas (1980), "Mere Naseeb Mein" in Naseeb (1980), "Zindagi Ki Na Toote" in Kranti (1981), "Solah Baras Ki" in Ek Duuje Ke Liye (1981), "Ye Galiyan Ye Chaubara" in Prem Rog (1982), "Likhnewale Ne Likh Dale" in Arpan (1983), "Din Maheene Saal" in Avtaar (1983), "Pyar Karnewale" and "Nindiya Se Jagi" in Hero (1983), "Zu Zu Zu Yashoda" in Sanjog (1985), "Zindagi Har Qadam" in Meri Jung (1985), "Baith Mere Paas" in Yaadon Ki Kasam (1985), "Ungli Mein Anghoti" in Ram Avtar (1988) and "O Ramji Tere Lakhan Ne" in Ram Lakhan (1989).

 

In the 1990s she recorded with various music directors like Anand-Milind, Nadeem-Shravan, Jatin-Lalit, etc. She also launched her own production house in 1990 for Hindi movies which produced the Gulzar-directed movie Lekin. She won her third National FIlm Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song "Yaara Sili Sili". It was composed by her brother Hridaynath. She also sung for almost all the Yash Chopra films. Even A. R Rahman had recorded a few songs with her during this period like "Jiya Jale" in Dil Se.., "Khamoshiyan Gungunane Lagin" in One 2 Ka 4, "Ek Tu Hi Bharosa" in Pukar, "Pyaara Sa Gaon" in Zubeidaa, "So Gaye Hain" in Zubeidaa, etc.

 

She was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honor in 2001. She also established the Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune in the same year. It was managed by the Lata Mangeshkar Medical Foundation.She also donated to the 2005 Kashmir earthquake relief.

She released the album Sarhadein: Music Beyond Boundaries on 12 April 2011. It contains duet Tera Milna Bahut Acha Lage"  with the Pakistani singer Mehdi Hassan. She also recorded a song for composer Nadeem-Shravan "Kaise Piya Se" for Bewafaa (2005). Shamir Tandon also recorded a song with her "Tere Hasne Sai Mujheko" for the movie Satrangee Parachute (2011). She also recorded a song in her own studio. The song was "Jeena kya hai, jaana maine" for Dunno Y2-Life Is A Moment (2015).

This year on 6th February she left us to go with Maa Saraswati. May her soul rest in peace

 

 

Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:41:51 +0530
My country the end of Colonial Rule and Dawn of Freedom

 

Anupama Nair

With the end of the 19th Century, the arrival of the 20th Century was not very happy for India. The first partition of Bengal in 1905 brought the province to the brink of open rebellion. The British recognized that Bengal, with around 85 million people, was much too large for a single province and determined that it merited re-organization and intelligent partition. The line drawn by Lord Curzon’s government, however, cut through the heart of the Bengali-speaking “province,” leaving western Bengal’s bhadralok or respectable people, the intellectual Hindu leadership of Calcutta, tied to the much less politically active Bihari- and Oriya-speaking Hindus to their north and south. A new Muslim-majority province of East Bengal and Assam was created with its capital at Dacca. The Indians however, viewed that partition as an attempt to “divide and rule” and as proof of the government’s vindictive antipathy towards the outspoken bhadralok intellectuals, especially since Curzon and his subordinates had ignored countless pleas and petitions signed by tens of thousands of Calcutta’s leading citizens. Bengali Hindus who believed in Mother Goddess Durga that partition was nothing less than the amputation of their “mother province,” and mass protest rallies before and after Bengal’s division on October 16, 1905, attracted millions of people who were till then untouched by politics of any variety.

The new tide of national sentiment born in Bengal spread to the entire Sub-continent and “Bande Mataram” written by Bankim Chandra, from his popular novel Anand Math, and its music was composed by Bengal’s greatest poet, Rabindranath Tagore. As a reaction against the partition, Bengali Hindus launched an effective boycott of British-made goods and dramatized their resolve to live without foreign goods by igniting huge bonfires of Lancashire-made textiles. Such bonfires, re-creating ancient Vedic sacrificial altars, aroused Hindus in Poona, Madras, and Bombay to light similar political pyres of protest. Instead of wearing foreign-made cloth, Indians vowed to use only domestic  or swadeshi cottons and other clothing made in India. Simple hand-spun and hand-woven saris became high fashion, first in Calcutta and elsewhere in Bengal and then all across India, the finest Lancashire garments were now viewed as hateful imports. The swadeshi movement soon stimulated indigenous enterprise in many fields, from Indian cotton mills to match factories, glass-blowing shops, and iron and steel foundries.

Increased demands for national education also swiftly followed the partition. Bengali students and professors extended their boycott of British goods to English schools and college classrooms. The movement for national education spread throughout Bengal, as well as to Varanasi (Banaras), where Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya  founded his private Banaras Hindu University in 1910.

One of the last major demands to be added to the platform of the Congress Party in the wake of Bengal’s first partition was Swaraj, which become the most popular mantra of Indian nationalism. Swaraj was first used in the presidential address of Dadabhai Naoroji, as the Congress’s goal at its Calcutta session in 1906. In England the Liberal Party’s victory of 1906 heralded the dawn of a new era of reforms for British India. The Viceroy, Lord Minto, and the new secretary of state for India, John Morley, was able to introduce several important innovations into the legislative and administrative machinery of the British Indian government. He tried to enact Queen Victoria’s promise of racial equality of opportunity, which since 1858 had served only to assure Indian nationalists of British hypocrisy. He appointed two Indian members to his council at Whitehall -- Sayyid Husain Bilgrami, who had taken an active role in the founding of the Muslim League, and Krishna G. Gupta, who was the senior Indian in the ICS. Morley also persuaded a reluctant Lord Minto to appoint an Indian Satyendra Sinha to the viceroy’s executive council in 1909. Sinha (later Lord Sinha) had been admitted to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1886 and was advocate general of Bengal before his appointment as the Viceroy’s law member, a position he resigned in 1910. He was elected president of the Congress Party in 1915 and became parliamentary undersecretary of state for India in 1919 and governor of Bihar and Orissa in 1920. 

 

The reunification of Bengal helped to pacify Bengali Hindus, but the downgrading of Calcutta from imperial to mere provincial capital status was simultaneously a blow to egos of Bhadralok and to real estate values in Calcutta. Political unrest continued, and Lord Hardinge himself was nearly assassinated by a bomb thrown into his howdah on top of his viceregal elephant as he entered Delhi in 1912. The would-be assassin escaped in the crowd. Later that year Edwin Samuel Montagu, Morley’s political protégé, who served as parliamentary undersecretary of state for India from 1910 to 1914, announced that the goal of British policy toward India would be to meet the just demands of Indians for a greater share in government. Britain seemed to be awakening to the urgency of India’s political demands just as more compelling problems of European war pre-empted Whitehall’s attention.

 

In August 1914 Lord Hardinge announced his government’s entry into World War I. India’s contributions to the war became extensive and significant, and the war’s contributions to change within British India proved to be even greater. In many ways politically, economically, and socially the impact of the conflict was as great as that of the Revolt of 1857.

 

Then an incident happened on the afternoon of April 13, 1919, where 10,000 or more unarmed men, women, and children gathered in Amritsar’s Jallianwala Bagh despite a ban on public assemblies. It was a Sunday, and many neighboring villagers had also come to Amritsar to celebrate the Baisakhi festival. Dyer positioned his men at the sole, narrow passageway of the Bagh, which was otherwise entirely enclosed by the backs of abutted brick buildings. Without any warning, he ordered 50 soldiers to fire into the gathering, and for 10 to 15 minutes about 1,650 rounds of ammunition were unloaded into the screaming, terrified crowd, some of whom were trampled by those desperately trying to escape. Many thousands lost their lives. However, Dyer, who argued that his action was necessary to produce a “moral and widespread effect,” admitted that the firing would have continued had more ammunition been available.

 

The governor of the Punjab province supported the massacre and, on April 15, placed the entire province under martial law. Viceroy Chelmsford, however, characterized the action as “an error of judgment,” and, when Secretary of State Montagu learned of the slaughter, he appointed a commission of inquiry, headed by Lord Hunter. Although Dyer was subsequently relieved of his command, he returned as a hero to many in Britain, especially the Conservatives, and in Parliament members of the House of Lords presented him with a jeweled sword with words inscribed “Savior of the Punjab.”

The Massacre in Amritsar turned millions of moderate Indians who were patient and loyal supporters of the British into nationalists who would never again place trust in British “fair play.” It thus marks the turning point for a majority of the Congress’s supporters from moderate cooperation with the raj and its promised reforms to revolutionary non-cooperation.

 

The last quarter of the British raj was racked by increasingly violent Hindu-Muslim conflict and intensified agitation demanding Indian independence. British officials in London, as well as in New Delhi which became the new capital of British India in 1911 tried in vain to stem the rising tide of popular opposition to their Raj by offering tidbits of constitutional reform, which proved to be either too little to satisfy the Indians. More than a century of British technological, institutional, and ideological unification of the Indian Sub-continent thus ended after World War II with communal civil war, mass migration, and in the end painful amputation of Bharat Ma.

 

Many of the younger members of the Congress Party were eager to take up arms against the British, and some considered M.K. Gandhi as an agent of the Imperial Rule for having called a halt to the first satyagraha in 1922. Most famous and popular of the militant Congress leaders was our beloved and most respected Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. He was so popular within Congress that he was elected its president twice (in 1938 and 1939) over Gandhi’s opposition and the active opposition of most members of its central working committee. After being forced to resign the office in April 1939,

 

Elections held in the winter of 1945–46 proved how effective Jinnah’s single-plank strategy for his Muslim League had been, as the league won all 30 seats reserved for Muslims in the Central Legislative Assembly and most of the reserved provincial seats as well. The Congress Party was successful in gathering most of the general electorate seats, but it could no longer effectively insist that it spoke for the entire population of British India.

 

The Indian Independence Act was passed by the British Parliament in 1947. It ordered that the dominions of India and Pakistan be demarcated by midnight of August 14–15, 1947, and that the assets of the world’s largest empire, which had been integrated in for nearly ten thousand years be divided within a single month. Racing the deadline, two boundary commissions worked desperately to partition Punjab and Bengal, but, as soon as the new borders were known, roughly 30 million Hindus , and Sikhs fled from their homes on one side of the newly demarcated borders to what they thought would be “shelter” on the other. In the course of that tragic exodus of innocents, as many as a two million people—Hindus and Sikhs and not a single Muslim were slaughtered in communal massacres.

 

The transfer of power was completed on August 14 in Pakistan and August 15 in India, held a day apart so that Lord Mountbatten could attend both ceremonies. With the birth of the two independent nations, the British Raj formally came to an end on August 15, 1947.

 

What saddens me is the struggle of nearly 200 years for Independence ended in tragedy and Bharat the world’s oldest civilization was amputated and her children in tears.

Wed, 28 Sep 2022 14:25:17 +0530
Difference a 1 5 C increase bring to the World

 

Anupama Nair

 

What is Global Warming? Global warming is an aspect of climate change, referring to the long-term rise of  the Earth’s temperatures, mainly from human activities such as burning fossil fuels, that pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The main gases that cause the greenhouse effect include carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor (which all occur naturally), and fluorinated gases (which are synthetic). Global warming is expected to have far-reaching, everlasting and distressing consequences for planet Earth.

Josef Werne, a professor of Geology and Environmental Science at the University of Pittsburgh, stated “We can observe this happening in real time in many places. Ice is melting in both polar ice caps and mountain glaciers. Lakes around the world, including Lake Superior, are warming rapidly — in some cases faster than the surrounding environment. Animals are changing migration patterns and plants are changing the dates of activity”. Scientists project that extreme weather events, such as heat waves, droughts, blizzards and rainstorms will continue to occur more often and with larger intensity due to Global Warming.

We can see from the start of the millennium, each year from 2014 has been recorded as the hottest year in History. The year 2021, broke all previous records. Most of the countries in Northern Hemisphere, recorded record temperatures in June itself. A heat dome was created in United States and Canada in June, causing temperatures as high as 47°C. I am not talking about Delhi or Lahore, but Canada, a place where Summers are always pleasant. I shudder to imagine what the temperatures will be in Australia and South Africa, this summer from November—March.

What is heat dome? A heat dome is formed when the atmosphere acts as a lid or cap and traps hot ocean air beneath it. It is an area of high pressure stuck over a region. According, to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat dome formation is more likely during the La Niña years. This year is unfortunately, a La Niña year. Due to the temperature discrepancy, winds blow dense, tropical western air eastward. That warm air eventually becomes stuck in the jet stream, a circulation of air that travels counterclockwise around the globe, and ends up on the Western Coast of the United States. Heat dome works like a lid on a pot, trapping hot air mass underneath. And this feature is often blamed to be responsible for long-lasting and deadly heat waves around the world. Often a very significant heatwave develops underneath with temperatures well above normal, challenging some heat records.

The heat waves bring in a lot of sunlight and sinking air that heats up as it compresses. Western Canada usually experiences such heat waves in July or August beginning, however in Summer 2021, it had occurred as early as June. Lytton, a town in British Columbia recorded a temperature of 47°C on 28th June 2021 which was the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada as per NASA's Earth Observatory. This year, record heat was reported in Europe too. Countries like Denmark and Sweden reported sweltering heat.

As you are aware, countries closer to the equator (zero degrees latitude) have warmer temperatures year-round compared to countries farther north or south of the equator. Countries that are further north in the Northern Hemisphere or south in the Southern Hemisphere experience four seasons and a wide range of temperatures, including significantly colder temperatures in the winter. Because of the Earth's tilt on its axis, the polar regions receive the sun's rays at a slanted angle, however, the equator receives the rays more directly over a smaller area, making the rays more concentrated and hotter.

Scientists attribute these change in weather patterns to climate crisis aggravated by human actions. “Such extreme weather events are likely to be more frequent and severe”, warned World Meteorological Organization in July this year. “Extreme precipitation has been increasing globally due to human-induced climate change”, stated a new research conducted by the University of California. “In a summer already full of extreme weather, it's the heat waves roasting hundreds of millions of people across three continents – America, Europe and Africa and are confirming a grim climate prophecy for many experts” said a weather expert.

Did you know even a minor increase in the temperature across the globe can have disastrous effect. You will ask what difference a minor rise in temperature would mean to the world, and you would be astonished to know there would be a lot of difference in the state of the planet when there would be a rise of 1.5°C and 2°C.

Time and again it has been stressed by the world leaders that global warming needs to be reduced to avoid the Earth's temperature rising by 2°C. The temperature needs to be limited to 1.5°C. In the 2015 Paris Agreement many countries committed to limit the average temperature of the planet. The moot point is after 6 years, has it been done? No would be the answer as the extreme heat, floods, draughts, wild fires in 2021 and 2022 are any indication. 

Scientists have been warning us again and again that we need to control our CO2 emissions by 2030 and reach the net-zero level so as to prevent the global temperatures to surge by 2°C. It is an ambitious task that the scientists, financiers and activists of the world have been discussing and debating in COP26. Will it be a success that remains to be seen?

 

The global temperatures have already risen by almost 1.1°C above the pre-industrial levels. Every four decades were hotter than the previous decades since 1850. Daniela Jacob, a Climate Scientist said, “We never had such global warming as seen in a few decades. Half a degree means much more extreme weather, and it can be more often, more intense, or extended in duration”.

What she said seems to be true as “it is at this very temperature the global floods, torrential rains and extreme monsoon in the Indian Subcontinent has hit the world. Many wildfires, and massive glacier melting has been experienced by the world due to this rise in temperature. China, Indonesia, Australia, Greenland were all sufferers of this penalty”. As Rachel Warren from the University of East Anglia said, “Climate change is already affecting every inhabited region across the globe”.

The clear message is if we are not careful and take care of our mother Earth, the future is going to be a climatic disaster.

Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:42:23 +0530
Frederick Taylor father of Scientific Management

 

Anupama Nair

Frederick Taylor’s is known as the “father of Scientific Management” and his theories were as famous as the theories of Henry Fayoli. In fact, Peter Drucker, who is called as the “guru’s guru”, had suggested Taylor deserved the title better.

Frederick Taylor was born on March 20, 1856 in Philadelphia, USA.  His father, Franklin Taylor, was a Princeton-educated lawyer, who built his wealth on mortgages. His mother, Emily Taylor  gave him early education, as the it was the practice those days. Later, Taylor studied for two years in France and Germany and traveled across Europe for 18 months. In 1872, he joined Exeter Academy with the plan of eventually going to Harvard and becoming a lawyer like his father. In 1874, Taylor passed the Harvard entrance examinations with honors, but could not join due to rapidly deteriorating eyesight.

When his sight was restored, Taylor, however, chose a different path. He joined as an apprentice to learn the trades of patternmakers and machinists at the Enterprise Hydraulic Works. Three years later he went to the Midvale Steel Company, where, starting as a machine shop laborer, he became successively a shop clerk, machinist, gang boss, foreman, maintenance foreman, head of the drawing office, and chief engineer. Taylor retired at age of 45 but continued to devote his time and money to promote the principles of scientific management through lectures at universities and professional societies across the US.

Taylor’s fame increased after his testimony in 1912 before a special committee of the US House of Representatives to investigate his own and other systems of shop management. Considering himself a reformer, he continued expounding the ideals and principles of his system of management until his death in 1915.

'Frederick W. Taylor was the first man in recorded history who deemed work deserving of systematic observation and study. On Taylor's `scientific management' rests, above all, the tremendous surge of affluence in the last seventy-five years which has lifted the working masses in developed countries well above any level recorded, even for the well-to-do. Not much has been added to them since - even though he has been dead all of sixty years”, said Peter Drucker, the famous Management Guru.

The scientific management approach propounded by F.W. Taylor is based upon the following four principles:

  • Science not rule of thumb;
  • Harmony not discord;
  • Cooperation not individualism;
  • Development of each and every person to his/her own efficiency and prosperity.

 

Indeed, Taylor’s theories were much ahead of his times.

Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:36:46 +0530
DNA and RNA their differences

 

Anupama Nair

Have you ever wondered why life on earth is very diverse, from single-celled protozoans to complex multi-cellular plants and animals and finally homo sapiens or man? However, at the molecular level, all life is fundamentally made up of the same building blocks called DNA and RNA. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are perhaps the most important molecules in cell biology, responsible for the storage and reading of genetic information that underpins all life. Both are linear polymers, containing of sugars, phosphates and bases, however, there are some key differences which separate the two. These distinctions enable the two molecules to work together and fulfil the essential roles.

DNA encrypts all genetic information, and is the blueprint from which all biological life is created. However, this is only in the short-term and in the long-term, “DNA is a storage device, a biological flash drive that allows the blueprint of life to be passed between generations. RNA functions as the reader that decodes this flash drive. This reading process is multi-step and there are specialized RNAs for each of these steps”.

Both DNA and RNA are built with a sugar backbone, however, the sugar in DNA is called deoxyribose and the sugar in RNA is called simply ribose. “The ‘deoxy’ prefix denotes that, whilst RNA has two hydroxyl (-OH) groups attached to its carbon backbone, DNA has only one, and has a lone hydrogen atom attached instead. RNA’s extra hydroxyl group proves useful in the process of converting genetic code into mRNAs that can be made into proteins, whilst the deoxyribose sugar gives DNA more stability”.

DNA occurred inside the nucleus of cell and some cell organelles but in plants, it is present in mitochondria and plant cell. It is a double-stranded molecule consisting of a long chain of nucleotides. It stored and transferred genetic information to generate new cells and organisms. It had two nucleotide strands consisting of phosphate group, five carbon sugar and four nitrogen bases. Nitrogen base pairs in DNA were Adenine links to Thymine (A-T) and Cytosine links to Guanine (C-G). DNA is self-replicating. The DNA helix geometry was in the form of B and can be damaged by exposure of ultra-violet rays. It occurred in the form of chromosomes or chromatin fibers. The life of DNA is long.

RNA is found in cytoplasm of the cell but very little is found inside the nucleus. It was single-strand helix having shorter chains of nucleotides. It was used to transfer genetic code from nucleus to the ribosomes to make proteins and carried the guidelines of DNA blueprints. It is single-stranded consisting of phosphate group, five carbon sugar and four nitrogen bases. Here nitrogen base pairs are Adenine links to Uracil (A-U) and Cytosine links to Guanine (C-G). It is synthesized from DNA whenever needed. The RNA helix geometry is in the form of A. It is more resistant to damage by ultra-violet rays. Its life is short. Some RNA’s have very shorter life but some have longer but in all its life is short.

So, the RNA and DNA are the basis of all life on earth.

Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:34:49 +0530
My Country The rule of the British Crown 1858 1947

 

Anupama Nair

I had written a lot of articles about colonial India and how the use of an Enfield Rifle in 1857, brought about the rise of Nationalism and how the rule of the East India Company came to an end. There was a curse the East India Company would not rule for a hundred years and it came true. India came under the rule of the British Crown and Queen Victoria came to be called as ‘Kaiser-e-Hind’ or empress of India. The immediate result of the Revolt was a general ‘housecleaning’ of the Indian administration. The East India Company was abolished in favor of the direct rule of India by the British government. In layman terms, this did not mean much, but it introduced a more personal note into the government and removed the unimaginative commercialism that had remained with the Court of Directors. The financial crisis caused by the Revolt led to a reorganization of the Indian administration’s finances on a modern basis. The Indian army was also extensively reorganized.

Another significant result of the revolt was the beginning of the policy of consultation with Indians. The Legislative Council of 1853 had contained only Europeans and had arrogantly behaved as if it were a full-fledged parliament. It was widely felt that a lack of communication with Indian opinion had helped to precipitate the crisis. Accordingly, the new council of 1861 was given an Indian-nominated element. The educational and public works programs (roads, railways, telegraphs, and irrigation) continued with little interruption, in fact, some were stimulated by the thought of their value for the transport of troops in a crisis. But insensitive British-imposed social measures that affected Hindu society came to an abrupt end.

Soon after the Revolt of 1857, an Act called Government of India Act 1858 was introduced by the British Parliament. The act also  known as the Act for the Good Government of India, eliminated the East India Company, and transferred the powers of the Government, territories and revenues to the British Crown.

It provided that India, henceforth, was to be governed by, and in the name of, Her Majesty. It changed the designation of the Governor-General of India to that of Viceroy of India. Viceroy was the direct representative of the British Crown in India. Lord Canning, thus, became the first Viceroy of India.It ended the system of double Government by abolishing the Board of Control and Court of Directors.

It created a new office, Secretary of State for India, vested with complete authority and control over Indian administration. The secretary of state was a member of the British Cabinet and was responsible ultimately to the British. It established a 15-member council of India to assist the Secretary of State for India. The council was an advisory body. The secretary of state was made the Chairman of the council. It constituted the Secretary of State-in Council as a body corporate, capable of suing and being sued in India and in England.

‘The Act of 1858 was, however, largely confined to the improvement of the administrative machinery by which the Indian Government was to be supervised and controlled in England. It did not alter in any substantial way the system of Government that prevailed in India’.

On November 1, 1858, Lord Canning announced Queen Victoria’s proclamation to “the Princes, Chiefs and Peoples of India,” which unveiled a new British policy of perpetual support for ‘native princes’ and non-intervention in matters of religious belief or worship within British India. The announcement overturned Lord Dalhousie’s pre-war policy of political unification through annexation of the princely states, and princes were left free to adopt any heirs they desired so long as they all swore undying allegiance to the British crown. In 1876, at the prompting of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria added the title Empress of India to her regality. “British fears of another revolt and consequent determination to bolster Indian states as ‘natural breakwaters’ against any future tidal wave of revolt thus left more than 560 enclaves of autocratic princely rule to survive, interspersed throughout British India, for the entire nine decades of crown rule”.

The attitude of the British officials who went to India during that period was, as the English writer Rudyard Kipling said to “take up the white man’s burden.” By and large, throughout the interlude of their Indian service to the Crown. Britishers lived as super-bureaucrats, or “Pukka Sahibs,” remaining as aloof as possible from “native contamination” in their private clubs and well-guarded military cantonments, which were constructed beyond the walls of the old, crowded “native” cities in that era. The Company’s three armies located in Bengal, Bombay , and Madras, which in 1857 had only 43,000 British to 228,000 native troops, were reorganized by 1867 to a much “higher mix of 65,000 British to 140,000 Indian soldiers.

The Indian Councils Act of 1861 transformed the Viceroy’s Executive Council into a miniature cabinet run on the portfolio system, and each of the five ordinary members was placed in charge of a distinct department of Calcutta’s government i.e., home, revenue, military, finance, and law. The military commander in chief sat with that council as an extraordinary member. A sixth ordinary member was assigned to the viceroy’s Executive Council after 1874, initially to preside over the Department of Public Works, which after 1904 came to be called Commerce and Industry. Few viceroys found it necessary to assert their full despotic authority, since the majority of their councilors usually were in agreement. In 1879, however, Viceroy Lytton felt obliged to overrule his entire council in order to accommodate demands for the elimination of his government’s import duties on British cotton manufactures, despite India’s desperate need for review in a year of famines and floods.

Despite continued British adherence to the doctrine of laissez-faire during that period, a 10 percent customs duty was levied in 1860 to help clear the war debt, though it was reduced to 7 percent in 1864 and to 5 percent in 1875. The above-mentioned cotton import duty, abolished in 1879 by Viceroy Lytton, was not reimposed on British imports of piece goods and yarn until 1894, when the value of silver fell so quickly on the world market that the government of India was forced to take action, even against the economic interests of the home country i.e., textiles in Lancashire, by adding enough rupees to its revenue to make ends meet. Bombay’s textile industry had by then developed more than 80 power mills, and the huge Empress Mill owned by Indian industrialist  Jamshedji N. Tata was in full operation at Nagpur, competing directly with Lancashire mills for the vast Indian market. Britain’s mill owners again demonstrated their power in Calcutta by forcing the government of India to impose an ‘equalizing’ 5 percent excise tax on all cloth manufactured in India.

Britain’s major contribution to India’s economic development throughout the era of crown rule was the railroad network that spread so swiftly across the Subcontinent after 1858, when there were barely 200 miles (320 km) of track in all of India. By 1869 more than 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of steel track had been completed by British railroad companies, and by 1900 there were some 25,000 miles (40,000 km) of rail laid. By the start of World War I (1914–18) the total had reached 35,000 miles (56,000 km), almost the full growth of British India’s rail net. Initially, the railroads proved a mixed blessing for most Indians, since, by linking India’s agricultural, village-based heartland to the British imperial port cities of Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta, they served both to hasten the pace of raw-material extraction from India and to speed up the transition from subsistence food to commercial agricultural production.

Now I will be speaking about British rule in the 20th Century and finally the Dawn of Freedom.

Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:30:52 +0530
British Conquest of Bombay Calcutta and Madras

 

Anupama Nair

I had written about the British came to do trade in India and gradually their imperialistic dream was established. Gradually the three cities – Mumbai, Calcutta and Madras came under their rule.

Bombay (1661—1947):

Bombay, also called Bombaim in Portuguese, is now the financial and commercial capital of India and one of the most populous cities in the world.  It was once an archipelago of seven islands, obtained by the Portuguese through the Treaty of Bassein (1534), from the Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, the island group would later form part of the dowry of Catherine of Braganza, daughter of King John IV of Portugal. Her ‘Marriage Treaty’ gifted the islands to Charles II of England, along with the port of Tangier, trading privileges in Brazil and the Portuguese East Indies, religious and commercial freedom for English residents in Portugal, and two million Portuguese crowns (about £300,000), on completion of the marriage. The Islands of Bombay were regarded as a political and financial liability and were leased by Charles, to the English East India Company, on 27 March 1668, for a nominal amount of £10.

On 18 January 1665, King Charles II granted Humphrey Cooke the possession of Bombay. However, Salsette, Mazagaon, Parel, Worli, Sion, Dharavi, and Wadala still remained under the possession of the Portuguese. Much later Cooke managed to acquire Mahim, Sion, Dharavi, and Wadala for the English. Sir Gervase Lucas, 1st Baronet, who was appointed Governor of Bombay on 5th November 1666, reported that Bombay included all the islands except Colaba and Old Woman's Island. Sir George Oxenden became the first Governor of Bombay under the regime of the English East India Company. Gerald Aungier, became Governor of Bombay in July 1669, established the mint and printing press in Bombay and developed the islands into a center of commerce. He also offered various business incentives, which attracted various communities like Gujuratis, Parsis, Dawoodi Bohras, and Jews. On 20th  February 1673, Rickloffe van Goen, the Governor-General of the Dutch East India Company attacked Bombay, but the attack was resisted by Aungier. The Treaty of Westminster (1674), concluded between England and the Netherlands, relieved the English settlements in Bombay of further apprehension from the Dutch.

In 1682, the Company fortified the Middle Ground Coastal Battery isle in the archipelago to curb the sea piracy in the area. Yakut Khan, the Siddi admiral of the Mughal Empire, landed at Sewri and burn down Mahim. By 15th  February 1689, Khan conquered almost the whole island, and razed the Mazagon Fort in June 1690. The East India Company was forced to pay Aurangzeb, the ruler of the Mughal Empire, Yakut evacuated Bombay on 8th  June 1690. In 1715, the construction of Bombay Castle was finished, which fortified the island of Bombay from sea attacks by the Portuguese and Mughals. Charles Boone became the Governor of Bombay, in 1715 and constructed the St. Thomas Cathedral in 1718, which was the first Anglican Church in Bombay. In 1737, Salsette was captured by the Maratha Empire and most of the Portuguese provinces in Bombay was surrendered to the Marathas in 1739. In 1753, the Naval Dockyard was opened which remains the oldest docks in the city. The first land-use laws were also enacted in Bombay during this period. The British occupied Salsette in 1774, which was formally ceded to the British East India Company by the Treaty of Salbai signed in 1782. In 1803, Bombay was hit by a severe famine, which led to a large-scale emigration. On 5th  November 1817, the British East India Company defeated Bajirao II, the Peshwa of the Maratha Empire, in the Battle of Kirkee which took place in the Deccan Plateau.

Later on, Bombay became the center of Nationalist Movements with great leaders like Tilak, Veer Savarkar and Gokhale. Finally in 1947 Bombay also became free.

 

Calcutta (1644—1947)

There is a long story behind the arrival of the East India Company in Bengal, These incidents are documented in numerous records of the East India Company and by several authors These documents tell the story of how the English were severely beaten and wiped out from Bengal several times by the forces of the Mughal Emperor and how each time they came back to Bengal to continue their trade. The agents of the East India Company first visited the provinces of Bengal and Bihar for trade during the period of Ibrahim Khan, the Governor of Bengal at the time of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. The first factory was established in Surat in 1620 and later in Agra, and agents were further sent from these places to the eastern provinces to examine the possibility of opening factories there. However, the transportation costs and logistics were unfavorable and the plan was abandoned. In January 1644, the daughter of the Emperor was severely burnt and a doctor named Gabriel Boughton, formerly the surgeon of the East Indiaman Hopewell, was sent from Surat for her treatment.

He was able to successfully treat her burns and in reward the Emperor allowed the company to establish factory at Pipili, Odisha, and for the first time English ships arrived at an eastern port. During 1638, Shah Jahan appointed his son Shah Shuja as the Subahdar of Bengal and Boughton visited the capital at Rajmahal where his services were again used to treat one of the ladies in the palace, and in return, the company was allowed to establish factories in Balasore, Odisha and Hooghly. Shaista Khan was appointed as the governor of Bengal in around 1664 by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and was relieved upon his request in around 1682. While he was returning to Delhi, Englishmen sent with him a request to the Emperor to obtain a special request to do business forever in Bengal and  the Emperor was pleased to provide them the request, and the occasion was celebrated with a 300-gun salute at Hooghly. The investment in Bengal soared, the Bengal presidency was separated from Madras and Mr. Hedges was appointed as the chief officer to oversee trade in Bengal. His residence in Hooghly was secured with soldiers obtained from Madras. This is the first time English soldiers came on the soil of Bengal.

In 1690, Job Charnok, an agent of the East India Company chose this place for a British trade settlement. The site was carefully selected, being protected by the Hooghly River on the west, a creek to the north, and by salt lakes about two and a half miles to the east. There were three large villages along the east bank of the river Ganges, named, Sutanuti, Gobindapur and Kalikata. These three villages were bought by the British from the local land lords. The Mughal emperor granted East India Company freedom of trade in return for a yearly payment of 3,000 rupees.

Madras (1639—1947)

On 22 August 1639, English official Francis Day obtained a grant of a 3-mile-long strip of land for the East India Company from the local ruler, Damarla Venkatadri Nayaka, the Nayaka of Wandiwash. This land was a fishing village called Madraspatnam. This grant, given for 2 years, authorized the company to build a fort and a castle there. This would later grow into the modern-day metropolitan city of Chennai. After securing the grant from the Nayaka, Francis Day and his superior in the company Andrew Cogan reached Madraspatnam on 20th February 1640 when the first actual settlement of the British started. In 1642, the grant was renewed. A new grant was signed in 1645 between the English and the new Raja which empowered the English to enact English Common Law among the settlers and to administer civil law among the settlers and also the local population in the settlement. This third grant further added land to Madraspatnam. The British built a fort in the settlement and was called Fort St. George. Residences were built within the fort and this soon attracted other traders, both Indians and Europeans to it. The fort and some areas around it which were acquired by the company came to be called the Fort St. George settlement.

As per the rules of the Nayaka, the Europeans in the area were not allowed to decorate their houses with any color other than white. Hence, this area came to be called the ‘White Town’. The surrounding areas were populated by Indians who came in large numbers to partake in the commercial activities. Because of frequent riots between the local population and the Europeans, their respective areas were demarcated as ‘White Town’ and the ‘Black Town’. Fort St. George, White Town and Black Town were together called Madras. Andrew Cogan and Francis Day can be considered the founders of Madras.

Various areas which are now part of the city of Madras like Triplicane, Nungambakkam, Purasawalkam, Mylapore, Chennapatnam, etc. were later on added by the British in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Chennai was attacked by General Mir Jumla in 1646. In 1687, the region fell under the direct rule of the Mughal Emperor in Delhi. The Mughal Emperor issued Firmans which restored rights to the East India Company. The town was then ruled by British governors. The first president of Fort St. George was Elihu Yale. During his time as president from 1687 to 1692, many European settlers came to the region. This led to the establishment of a corporation and the institution of Mayor for Madras. Yale amassed a lot of wealth during his stint here. He later became a benefactor of the Collegiate School in the Colony of Connecticut (British America). This was later renamed Yale University

Madras was briefly controlled by the French from 1746 to 1748  after the Battle of Madras. which happened during the War of the Austrian Succession in Europe when French-English rivalry was going on. British captured it back as per the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Madras was an important place for the colonialists because of the port there. The city became an important trading center between India and Europe after the development of the harbor.

Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:28:33 +0530
The East India Company Masters of Indian subcontinent

 

Anupama Nair

I had previously written how the British East India Company forced the other Europeans out of India and were soon on the way to become the masters of the entire Indian Subcontinent. The Battle of Plassey in 1757, paved the way of the rule by the Company, and it was a decisive victory of the British East India Company over the Nawab of Bengal and his French allies on 23 June 1757, under the leadership of the great British general Robert Clive. This victory was possible due to the betrayal of Mir Jafar, who was Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah's commander in chief. The battle helped the Company become the master of Bengal. Within a hundred years they, seized control of most of the Indian subcontinent, Myanmar, and Afghanistan.

The battle took place at  Plassey on the banks of the Hooghly River, about 150 kilometers north of Calcutta and south of Murshidabad  The combatants were the Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah, the last independent Nawab of Bengal , and the British East India Company. When Siraj-ud-Daulah become the Nawab of Bengal in 1756, he had ordered the English to stop the extension of their fortification. Lord Robert Clive bribed Mir Jafar, the commander-in-chief of the Nawab's army, and also promised to make him Nawab of Bengal. Clive easily defeated Siraj-ud-Daulah at Plassey in 1757 and captured Bengal.

The battle was preceded by an attack on British-controlled Calcutta by Nawab Siraj-ud-Daulah and the Black Hole massacre. What is the Black Hole Massacre? In those days the British East India Company was a newcomer and was threatened by the French.  As a preventive measure, the Company decided to increase the defenses of its main fort in the city, Fort William. Upon hearing of the increased militarization of Fort William, Siraj ud-Daulah, with 50,000 troops, fifty cannons and 500 elephants marched to Calcutta. By June 19th 1756 most of the local British staff had retreated to the Company’s ships in the harbor, and the Nawab’s force attacked Fort William.

Unfortunately for the British, the fort was in a rather poor state. Powder for the mortars was too damp to be used, and their commander John Holwell was a governor with limited military experience. With 170 soldiers left to protect the fort, Holwell was forced to surrender to the Nawab on the afternoon of June 20th 1756. As the Nawab’s forces entered the city, the remaining British soldiers and civilians were rounded up and forced into the fort’s ‘black hole’ and many Britishers were killed.

When news of the ‘Black Hole’ reached London, a relief expedition led by Lord Robert Clive was immediately assembled and subsequently arrived in Calcutta in October. After a prolonged siege, Fort William fell to the British in January 1757. Robert Clive and a force of just 3,000 men defeated the Nawab’s 50,000 strong army at the Battle of Plassey. The success of the British at Plassey is often cited as the start of large-scale colonial rule in India, a rule that would last uninterrupted until Independence in 1947.

 

 

After major victories at the battles of Plassey (1757) and Buxar (1764), the East India Company was granted the diwani of Bengal i.e., control over the administration of the region and the right to collect tax revenue. At the same time, the company expanded its influence over local rulers in the south, until by the 1770s the balance of power had fundamentally changed. Expansion continued and rivals such as the Marathas in western India and Tipu Sultan of Mysore were defeated. By 1818, the Company was the paramount political power in India, with direct control over two thirds of the subcontinent’s landmass and indirect control over the rest.

The early years of Company’s rule were notorious for their corruption and profiteering i.e., the so-called ‘shaking of the pagoda tree’ or ‘rape of Bengal’. British generals amassed massive personal fortunes, often at the expense of their Indian subjects. India’s large population and sophisticated social, political and economic institutions made imperialistic ideas of ‘terra nullius’ or empty land inapplicable in India, and as a result the Company could not achieve the level of control over the resources of land and labor like British settler communities in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the Caribbean. India was only a ‘colony of exploitation’, rather than one of settlement and its value to the Company lay primarily in the profits that could be made by controlling its internal markets and international trade, appropriating peasant production and, above all, collecting tax revenue. These taxes paid for both a large sizeable army and employees who worked in India, but did not stay in India.

The Company’s rise to political power in India was the subject of many heated debate in Britain. “The activities after the Battle of Plassey as a company with huge influence and power  and one which is unafraid to further its interests by nefarious means were viewed with suspicion”. The poet William Cowper stated “East India Company build factories with blood, conducting trade -- at the swords point, and dyeing the white robe  of innocent commercial justice red”.

The loss of the American Colonies and the American War of Independence in 1776, the emergence of the anti-slavery movement and the French Revolution in 1789, the ‘India Question’ took on considerable political importance in Great Britain. The corruption, immorality and cruelty of the Company began to be noticed, and the British feared a similar movement in India. The Governor General Lord Warren Hastings  was impeached for mis-management and personal corruption.

The British Crown made attempts to regulate the Company’s activities in the 1770s, with Lord North’s Regulating Act (1773) and Pitt’s India Act (1784), which both sought to bring the company under closer parliamentary supervision. Meanwhile a series of internal reforms under Governor General Lord Charles Cornwallis in the late 1780s and early 1790s radically restructured the Company in order to eradicate private corruption. After the acquittal of Hastings and the implementation of the Cornwallis reforms, the company attempted to rehabilitate its reputation. It aimed to reposition itself as a benevolent and legitimate ruler that extended the limits of civil society and brought both security of property and impartiality of justice to India.

The Company now justified its presence in India by using a ‘civilizing mission’, epitomized by the publicity given to social reform legislation such as the abolition of the Sati (widow-burning). However, the actual impact of its activities on local economies and societies was often very different.

The first half of the 19th  century was marked by economic depression in India. Excessive land tax and lack of investment stopped the agricultural development, while traditional industries such as textiles were decimated by the import of cheap manufactured goods. Catastrophic famines, most notably in Bengal (1770) and in the Agra region (1837–1838) were worsened by the tax policies, its non-judgmental attitudes towards the grain market, and failures of state relief.

It is said there was a curse that the Company will not rule for a century and it was proved true. Lord Canning the last Governor General of East India Company never imagined a rifle would bring the end of the East India Company. Let us see how that happened. Soldiers throughout India were issued a new rifle, the Enfield Rifle— a more powerful and accurate weapon than the previous one used for decades. To load both the old musket and the new rifle, soldiers had to bite the cartridge open and pour the gunpowder. Then, the rumor spread the cartridge was greased with the fat of pigs and cows. The news spread like wild fire and the soldiers refused to use the rifle, however,  British officers dismissed these claims as rumors and ordered them to use the rifle.

The rebellion started when Mangal Pandey, who was the leader of the Bengal Regiment started the revolt.  By March 1857, he was a private soldier (sepoy) in the 5th Company of the 34th  Bengal Native Infantry. On the afternoon of 29th March 1857, Lieutenant Baugh, of the 34th Bengal Native Infantry, then stationed at Barrackpore (West Bengal) was informed that several men of his regiment were in an excited state and planned to rebel against the British under the leadership of Mangal Pandey. The British tried to suppress the rebellion and executed Mangal Pandey. “The attack by and punishment of Pandey is widely seen as the opening scene of what came to be known as the Indian Rebellion of 1857”, stated many historians. Mangal Pandey’s rebellion was widespread amongst his fellow soldiers and is assumed to have been one of the factors leading to the general series of rebellion, that broke out during the following months. Mangal Pandey inspired many others to follow in the Indian Nationalist Movement like Veer Savarkar, who stated his “motive as one of the earliest manifestations of Indian Nationalism”. Modern Indian nationalists portray Pandey as the mastermind behind a conspiracy to revolt against the British.

In 1858, after the rebellion was crushed India came under the rule of Queen Victoria. And the next 90 years is a new story, read on…

Tue, 27 Sep 2022 14:26:13 +0530
Killer Pandemics over the year

 

Anupama Nair

It is more than two years now, we’ve been hearing the word Pandemic and a mere ‘virus’, that originated from China is holding the world hostage. The killer Virus Corona, affected millions and killed many more. So, I thought let me do a research on the Pandemics over the years and how they impacted the world. Before Corona, there are many Pandemics that almost wiped the entire human population. Fasten your seat belts, I am taking you on a time travel, many millenniums ago.

What is a Pandemic? In the kingdom of infectious diseases, a pandemic is the worst- case scenario. When an epidemic spreads beyond a nation’s borders, that’s when the disease officially becomes a pandemic. Intermittent outbreaks of infectious diseases have had profound and lasting effects on societies throughout history. Those events have powerfully shaped the economic, political, and social aspects of human civilization, with their effects often lasting for centuries. Epidemic outbreaks have defined some of the basic tenets of modern medicine, pushing the scientific community to develop principles of epidemiology, prevention, immunization, and antimicrobial treatments.

In a long succession throughout history, pandemic outbreaks have decimated societies, determined outcomes of wars, wiped out entire populations, but also, paradoxically, cleared the way for innovations and advances in science (including medicine and public health), economy, and political systems. Pandemic outbreaks, or plagues in the ancient history, as they are often referred to, have been closely examined in the realm of history, including the history of medicine. In the era of modern world, plague is however not such a killer pandemic as other diseases.

As civilizations spread, so did pandemics, some of which decimated millions of lives. Communicable diseases existed even during the time of “early men” and when man were hunters, but the shift to agrarian life nearly ten thousand years ago created communities that made epidemics more possible. Malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, influenza, and smallpox were major diseases during this period.

 

The first recorded epidemic was in China the birth place of Corona too. Around 5000 years ago, an epidemic wiped out a pre-historic village in China. It is said that the bodies of the dead were stuffed inside a house that was later burned down. No age group was spared, as the skeletons of juveniles, young adults and middle-aged were found inside the house. The site is now called "Hamin Mangha" and is one of the best-preserved pre-historic sites in northeastern China. Before the discovery of “Hamin Mangha”, another pre-historic mass burial site was discovered, believed to be of the same period called “Miaozigou”, in northeastern China. These discoveries prove that an epidemic ravaged the entire region. 

 

Greece was the next venue. In 430 B.C., just before the war between Athens and Sparta began, an epidemic ravaged the people of Athens and lasted for five years. Reports stated around  one hundred thousand people lost their lives. The Greek historian Thucydides wrote that "people in good health were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the head, and redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts, such as the throat or tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and fetid breath". There are varied causes for the epidemic, some scientists say typhoid, while others say it was Ebola. Many scholars believed that overcrowding due to the war worsened the epidemic. Spartan army was stronger, thereby forcing the Athenians to take refuge behind a series of fortifications called the "long walls" that protected their city. Despite the epidemic, the war continued till  Athens was conceded defeat to Sparta.

Let us now travel to Rome. It was another outbreak that occurred a couple of centuries later that was documented and recorded by contemporary physicians of the time. It was the first recorded Pandemic, which affected many countries. The outbreak was known as the Antonine Plague of 165–180 AD. The Antonine plague occurred in the Roman Empire during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161–180 A.D.) and the cause is thought to be smallpox.

The disease was brought into the Roman Empire by soldiers returning from Seleucia (now in Turkey), and before it declined, it had impacted Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece, and Italy. Unlike the plague of Athens, which affected a limited area, the Antonine plague spread across the vast territory of the great Roman Empire.

Egypt is the next place to visit. First appearing in Egypt, the plague called Justinian plague spread through Palestine and the Byzantine Empire, and then throughout the Mediterranean region. The plague changed the course of the Roman Empire. The emperor Justinian's dream to bring the Roman Empire back together was crushed and as it caused massive economic problems. Recurrences over the next two centuries eventually killed about fifty million people, which was roughly twenty six percent of the world population. It is believed to be the first significant appearance of the bubonic plague, which is spread by rats and fleas.

Leprosy, though a killer disease for many centuries, it grew into a pandemic in Europe in the Middle Ages, resulting in the building of numerous leprosy-related hospitals to treat the large number of patients. Leprosy was caused due to a slow-developing bacterial disease that causes sores and deformities. Leprosy was believed to be a punishment from God  and this belief led to moral judgments and ostracization of victims.

A plague attack (1709-1713)  followed the Great Northern War (1700–1721), between Sweden and the Tsar of Russia and its allies, killing about one hundred thousand in Sweden, and three hundred thousand in Prussia. However, the good news was that this was the last plague in Scandinavia, but the one hundred thousand Russians succumbed to plague of 1770–1772.

The Great Plague of Marseille (France) was the last major outbreak of bubonic plague in western Europe. In 1720, the disease killed a total of one hundred thousand people. Fifty thousand people were killed in Marseille alone, and  during the next two years and another fifty thousand in  the north. How did it occur? On the fateful day i.e., May 25, 1720, a ship named the Grand Saint-Antoine arrived in the port of Marseille, France, laden with cotton, fine silks, and other goods. The ship carried an invisible cargo the bacteria known as “Yersinia pestis”, and brought about the Great Plague of Provence, the last major outbreak of bubonic plague in Europe.

Then a series of Cholera Pandemics hit the world. The seven cholera pandemics lasted over the next 150 years. The first wave originated in Russia, in 1817, where about one million people died due to infection of the small intestine. Spreading through feces-infected water and food, the British soldiers carried the bacterium to India where million more people died. Where ever they traveled due to the Empire, its navy spread cholera to the rest of the countries like Spain, South Africa, Indonesia, China, Japan, Italy, Germany and United States of America, where it killed nearly two million people. A vaccine was created in 1885, but pandemic continued without abating.

The world had just started recovering from the casualties – human lives, property, economy, when a tragedy struck again, this time from another deadly Pandemic. The Spanish Flu, also known as the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, was an unusually deadly  caused by the H1N1 (a virus similar to Corona). This virus lasted from February 1918 to April 1920 and  infected 500 million people – about one-third of the world's population at the time, in four successive waves. The death toll is estimated to have been somewhere between twenty million and fifty million, while some reports claim one hundred million. Most of the casualties were reported in the United States with fifty  million people and nearly seventeen million people died in India alone. Is Covid 19 going on the same path as US has most Corona casualties followed by India? The infection originated in Kansas (USA) and spread to France, Germany and United Kingdom. In India, the British soldiers carried it, when they came home after the War. The Flu claimed the lives of young people. Some analyses have shown the virus to be particularly deadly because it triggered a cytokine storm, which ravaged the stronger immune system of young adults.

Smallpox was once considered a deadly disease and plagued the human race for more than two thousand years was diagnosed in 1977 in Somalia. Starting with twenty-year vaccination program it was finally eradicated from the world. The elimination of the disease, that was considered fatal could be eradicated by US—Russia cooperation during the Cold War. The vaccination helped in controlling diseases such as polio, measles, diphtheria and whooping cough.

If all these diseases weren’t enough there were more to come as we the people discover A new disease conquered the world in 1981, called Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV. By the millennium it killed millions in United States. In 1996, the United Nations established UNAIDS to co-ordinate global action. By then infection spread to Africa. Today, nearly forty million people suffer from AIDS and nearly 10 million people died globally.

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) a strain of corona virus caused destruction around the world in 2002--2003. Again, China was the birth place of SARS too. The symptoms were shortness of breath, and coughing. SARS spread all around the word. It affected more than eight thousand people. Like Corona, China tried to suppress the news of the virus. Infection spread to humans due to civet cats. A new influenza virus, a strain of H1N1 called Swine Flu in 2009 again was severe. Swine Flu spread due to infections in pigs. From China, it spread to Mexico and United States. Nearly five million people lost their lives.

SARS- COV2 (corona virus) originated in bats in the Middle East. It transmitted into humans in Wuhan’s (China) open wet meat markets. Gradually the virus spread to the whole world killing millions in its wake, destroying lives and livelihoods etc. It is surprising to hear that this virus was discovered in 1965 and called B814. Corona or Covid 19 was many times more deadly than SARS infection of 2002-2003. More than 500 million people were affected and three million lost their lives and the list goes on… The US has nearly 80 million cases with around 9 hundred thousand people died, followed by India with 40 million cases and 5 hundred thousand deaths. Others are not far behind. Brazil, France, Turkey, Russia and United Kingdom are in the race.

Is it a curse that from 1720, the world has been witnessing such killer pandemics every hundred years? The Great Plague (1720-1723), killed one hundred thousand people worldwide. The Cholera Pandemic (1820-1824) killed millions in Asia. In 1920 after the First World War, the Spanish Flu killed nearly 17 million people. Come circa 2020, Corona Virus had killed nearly 3 million people and the list goes on and on. According to historians, “pandemics like COVID-19 strike with eerie precision, every 100 years: 1720 — Plague; 1820 — Cholera outbreak; 1920 — Spanish flu; 2020 — Chinese coronavirus. What’s happening? There is a theory that every 100 years, a pandemic happens. At first glance, nothing seems strange, but the accuracy with which these events take place is scary.”

Looking at the history of Pandemics occurring from time immemorial, haven’t we learnt any lessons? Is not time to ensure that such Pandemics do not wipe away the human race? All we can do is to ensure “prevention is better than cure” and control the corona virus and other such viruses in future. We can surely try for the world to be a better place. All countries of the world forgetting wars and enmity need to help each other. India showed the way by distributing free vaccine to eighty countries, following the principle of “vasudaiva kudumbakam” and “loka samastha sukino bhavanthu”. When the second wave was severe in India, many other countries reciprocated by sending vaccines and oxygen. This is way to go forward.

By God's grace the Corona cases are declining across the world. Will we be free of masks and sanitizers!

Sun, 25 Sep 2022 00:24:19 +0530
Navratri Offer that you would nt want to miss

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Sun, 25 Sep 2022 00:14:50 +0530
Banking Governance in the World

 

Anupama Nair

What we need to understand is banking governance or Corporate governance only makes headlines when things go wrong. The collapse of Barings, a billion-dollar-plus trading losses at Daiwa Bank and Sumitomo Corporation, ended in an embarrassing and costly litigation and regulatory sanctions over derivatives sales practices at Bankers Trust, and other highly publicized cases have raised questions about the adequacy of corporate governance in international financial and other institutions. When you consider the geographic scope and product complexity of today’s financial markets, some have even wondered whether ‘good governance’ is truly achievable in a global banking or any other financial institution.

In examining the root causes of well-publicized losses at Barings, Daiwa, and others, we can take some consolation from the fact that all derived from violations of fundamental, managerial principles of control, such as those dealing with the recording of all trading positions and the adequate separation of duties. As reported in the Report of the UK Board of Banking Supervision on its inquiry into the collapse of Barings, “the failings at Barings were not a consequence of the complexity of the business, but were primarily a failure on the part of a number of individuals to do their jobs properly”.

However, the use of futures and options contracts allowed Mr. Leeson of Barings to take much greater levels of risk, through the leverage involved in these instruments, than might have been the case in other markets.

It took Mr. Iguchi of Daiwa almost ten years to lose $1 billion in unauthorized government bond trading. In less than two months’ time, Mr. Leeson was able to expand Barings’ losses from $374 million to $2.2 billion in his unauthorized trading of Nikkei futures and options and Japanese Government Bond futures. Although the fundamentals of good governance may not have changed that much, global markets and increasingly innovative and complex financial instruments not only make it more difficult to ensure such principles are adhered to throughout a large international organization but also greatly magnify the speed and costs of failure. The punishments for bad governance, as we have seen, can now be amazingly instant as well as severe.

“The financial sector worldwide seems committed to creating ever larger organizations through merger and consolidation and to becoming more dispersed and complex organizations through combining the different products, delivery systems, and cultures of commercial banking, investment banking, securities brokerage, futures and options, life and casualty insurance, mutual fund and asset management services into universal banking or financial conglomerate structures”. The main challenge faced for those who govern these enterprises and for those who regulate and supervise them, is to ensure that the basic tools of good governance board of directors’ oversight and strategic direction, management internal controls, internal and external audit, corporate compliance, and regulatory surveillance and inspection expand and adapt to ensure these enterprises continue to operate within a sound control environment.

Good governance cannot be just defined in isolation. It can only be understood in the context of the various constituencies it is meant to serve and their expectations. Customers, counterparties, and others with whom an enterprise does business generally define good governance in terms of efficiency and quality, a well-governed bank is one that provides efficient, high-quality services and products in a timely manner. Those who work within a bank tend to evaluate good governance on two fronts, job and personal satisfaction. Is management giving me all the tools and support that I need to do my job efficiently and well? Is management treating me fairly and objectively when it comes to such personal matters as salary, bonuses, benefits, and advancement, and does it seek to ensure that I work in a professional environment free from harassment, discrimination, and other forms of personal abuse? Internal constituencies thus tend to be more oriented toward management culture in their assessment of whether they are being well-governed.

Shareholders, which increasingly means institutional investors and securities analysts, evaluate good governance in terms of shareholder value and corporate opportunities. A well-run organization is one that continually seeks to enhance shareholder value, consistently meets earnings projections, and evaluates corporate opportunities in terms of the benefits to shareholders. Thus, a well-governed board of directors will have a substantial number of outside directors to ensure, that proposed takeovers or mergers of the company are fairly considered in terms of the maximization of value to the shareholder in a sale of corporate control. From a shareholder’s perspective, good governance centers on enhancing enterprise value.

Creditors, including banks, depositors, bond holders, analysts, and rating agencies, tend to view good governance in terms of an organization’s ability to meet and service its debt obligations. Good governance means having in place structures designed to provide such constituency with extensive, accurate, reliable, and timely financial information that enables creditors to evaluate regularly the likelihood of repayment of their loans or other credits when due at the negotiated terms. This constituency places its greatest reliance on financial reporting systems and their attendant controls.

The government, defines good governance in terms of compliance with laws and regulations, “from everything to paying the amount of taxes due on time to establishing compliance mechanisms to prevent criminal activity or fraud within the organization”. In a very real sense, government is not necessarily concerned with whether an enterprise succeeds or fails, but whether it meets all of its legal responsibilities as a corporate citizen. Compliance is the critical path to meeting government expectations.

Finally, in the case of the banking industry and certain other financial industries, regulatory and supervisory agencies, whether central banks, ministry departments or divisions, independent agencies or government deposit insurers, have their own concept of what constitutes good governance from a safety and soundness standpoint. Regulatory expectations of good governance tend to encompass all of the expectations of the more-narrow constituencies described above, as regulators are concerned not only with the viability of a particular bank but the impact of that viability as well on the financial system i.e., locally, nationally, and globally. Regulators want governance that effectively manages all material risks confronting a banking organization, whether those risks come from without or within the organization, to ensure that the institution is operating in a safe or sound manner. Safety and soundness considerations require regulators to have the highest expectations that cut across all interests of the organization.

Today, the banking industry is becoming more dominated by institutions with assets approaching half-trillion and even trillion-dollar range. Such size, in and of itself, overwhelms earlier supervisory approaches based extensively on transaction testing by examiners or inspectors. Thus, in the United States, United Kingdom and, increasingly, in pronouncements of the Basle Banking Committee, we can see an acceptance and acknowledgment that a ‘risk-based’ approach to supervision is the most workable, efficient, and prudent in dealing with increasingly larger, more global banking organizations.

Under a risk-based or risk-focused approach to supervision, a supervisor focuses on a banking organization’s principal risks and its internal systems and processes for managing and controlling these risks. Less emphasis is placed on transaction review, except as a means of testing the effectiveness of critical management or control systems. This approach relies upon-and creates high expectations for corporate governance, since, at the end of the day, the supervisor is examining, from the top down, how a banking organization is governing itself. Substantial gaps or failures in that governance thus become the focus of supervisory criticisms and enforcement measures, since regulators rightly perceive that such gaps or failures, especially in huge global organizations, can produce the next Barings, Daiwa, or even worse situation from a systemic standpoint.

“The regulator’s view of corporate governance is functionally oriented and does the organization have in place the necessary systems and processes for managing and controlling the principal risks of its business”? When regulators talk about good governance, they talk about ‘risk management’ in its broadest sense. In this regard, in recent years, a number of sound practice statements issued by the Basle Banking Committee, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the Group of Thirty, and individual bank supervisors have emphasized the same ‘risk management’ or ‘good governance’ fundamentals for financial institutions:

In 1992, Price Waterhouse was one of four sponsors of a study by Oxford Analytica of corporate governance and the role of the board of directors in the Group of Seven (G-7) countries in the decade ahead.  Although a board of directors is still expected to delegate the day-today routine of conducting the bank’s business to its officers and employees, regulators have been more forcefully educating the board that it cannot delegate its responsibility for the consequences of unsound or imprudent policies and practices, whether they involve lending, investing, protecting against internal fraud, or other banking activities. Accordingly, in its proposed Framework, the Basle Banking Committee emphasizes that the board “has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that an adequate system of internal controls is established and maintained”.

In order to provide effective strategic direction and oversight, a board must be able to exercise independent judgment when managing the bank’s affairs. Boards that merely rubber-stamp management’s recommendations or that are unduly influenced by a single, powerful shareholder or related group of directors are not sufficiently independent to meet their responsibilities. There has thus been a trend toward requiring the election or appointment of more outside directors on the board, who are not part of management and have no family or related ownership interest in the institution. In particular, it is viewed as increasingly important that a bank’s Audit Committee be composed entirely of outside directors.

 

In the United States, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA) requires that all audit committee members of large banks  with assets greater than $500 million be outside directors who are ‘independent of management’. The United Kingdom’s Cadbury Committee also recommended that audit committees be comprised of non-executive directors, with the majority independent of the company. The Basle Banking Committee’s recent Framework also implicitly endorses the benefits of having an independent audit committee “overseeing the financial reporting process and the internal control system”.

 

Bank supervisors will thus seek to determine whether, in fact, a bank’s board is independent and is meeting its responsibilities set forth above for setting the bank’s strategic direction and for ensuring that the bank has established an adequate system of internal controls for managing its risks. As part of this evaluation of the board’s role, a bank supervisor will review the adequacy of Management Information Systems (MIS), that provide the board and its audit or other committees with the information they need to perform their oversight role. In this regard, the bank’s risk control function should periodically provide the board with ‘useable’ information illustrating exposure trends, the adequacy of compliance with policies and procedures and risk limits and risk-return performance.

We can conclude good governance by a bank’s board requires independence, high ethical standards, knowledge of the bank’s business and the markets in which it operates, strategic direction, and effective oversight of the establishment and implementation by management of a sound internal system of controls, policies, procedures, and limits for managing all material risks. While it is of critical importance to define the elements of ‘good governance’ at commercial banks, it is equally, and perhaps more, important to identify those elements of ‘bad governance’ that are likely to lead to significant losses or even failure. When these governance ‘red flags” pop up during internal or external audits or bank inspections or examinations, bank supervisors need to respond promptly to ensure they do not evidence deeper governance or control problems within the banking institution.

The elements of good governance cannot be found in secret formulas, complex structures, or magic bullets. They are based on long-standing and well-tested principles of enterprise direction, management, and control. As the world’s banking institutions get ever larger and more diverse, the details of corporate governance become ever more important to institutional and systemic soundness.

 

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 22:10:40 +0530
Banking Governance in the World

 

Anupama Nair

What we need to understand is banking governance or Corporate governance only makes headlines when things go wrong. The collapse of Barings, a billion-dollar-plus trading losses at Daiwa Bank and Sumitomo Corporation, ended in an embarrassing and costly litigation and regulatory sanctions over derivatives sales practices at Bankers Trust, and other highly publicized cases have raised questions about the adequacy of corporate governance in international financial and other institutions. When you consider the geographic scope and product complexity of today’s financial markets, some have even wondered whether ‘good governance’ is truly achievable in a global banking or any other financial institution.

In examining the root causes of well-publicized losses at Barings, Daiwa, and others, we can take some consolation from the fact that all derived from violations of fundamental, managerial principles of control, such as those dealing with the recording of all trading positions and the adequate separation of duties. As reported in the Report of the UK Board of Banking Supervision on its inquiry into the collapse of Barings, “the failings at Barings were not a consequence of the complexity of the business, but were primarily a failure on the part of a number of individuals to do their jobs properly”.

However, the use of futures and options contracts allowed Mr. Leeson of Barings to take much greater levels of risk, through the leverage involved in these instruments, than might have been the case in other markets.

It took Mr. Iguchi of Daiwa almost ten years to lose $1 billion in unauthorized government bond trading. In less than two months’ time, Mr. Leeson was able to expand Barings’ losses from $374 million to $2.2 billion in his unauthorized trading of Nikkei futures and options and Japanese Government Bond futures. Although the fundamentals of good governance may not have changed that much, global markets and increasingly innovative and complex financial instruments not only make it more difficult to ensure such principles are adhered to throughout a large international organization but also greatly magnify the speed and costs of failure. The punishments for bad governance, as we have seen, can now be amazingly instant as well as severe.

“The financial sector worldwide seems committed to creating ever larger organizations through merger and consolidation and to becoming more dispersed and complex organizations through combining the different products, delivery systems, and cultures of commercial banking, investment banking, securities brokerage, futures and options, life and casualty insurance, mutual fund and asset management services into universal banking or financial conglomerate structures”. The main challenge faced for those who govern these enterprises and for those who regulate and supervise them, is to ensure that the basic tools of good governance board of directors’ oversight and strategic direction, management internal controls, internal and external audit, corporate compliance, and regulatory surveillance and inspection expand and adapt to ensure these enterprises continue to operate within a sound control environment.

Good governance cannot be just defined in isolation. It can only be understood in the context of the various constituencies it is meant to serve and their expectations. Customers, counterparties, and others with whom an enterprise does business generally define good governance in terms of efficiency and quality, a well-governed bank is one that provides efficient, high-quality services and products in a timely manner. Those who work within a bank tend to evaluate good governance on two fronts, job and personal satisfaction. Is management giving me all the tools and support that I need to do my job efficiently and well? Is management treating me fairly and objectively when it comes to such personal matters as salary, bonuses, benefits, and advancement, and does it seek to ensure that I work in a professional environment free from harassment, discrimination, and other forms of personal abuse? Internal constituencies thus tend to be more oriented toward management culture in their assessment of whether they are being well-governed.

Shareholders, which increasingly means institutional investors and securities analysts, evaluate good governance in terms of shareholder value and corporate opportunities. A well-run organization is one that continually seeks to enhance shareholder value, consistently meets earnings projections, and evaluates corporate opportunities in terms of the benefits to shareholders. Thus, a well-governed board of directors will have a substantial number of outside directors to ensure, that proposed takeovers or mergers of the company are fairly considered in terms of the maximization of value to the shareholder in a sale of corporate control. From a shareholder’s perspective, good governance centers on enhancing enterprise value.

Creditors, including banks, depositors, bond holders, analysts, and rating agencies, tend to view good governance in terms of an organization’s ability to meet and service its debt obligations. Good governance means having in place structures designed to provide such constituency with extensive, accurate, reliable, and timely financial information that enables creditors to evaluate regularly the likelihood of repayment of their loans or other credits when due at the negotiated terms. This constituency places its greatest reliance on financial reporting systems and their attendant controls.

The government, defines good governance in terms of compliance with laws and regulations, “from everything to paying the amount of taxes due on time to establishing compliance mechanisms to prevent criminal activity or fraud within the organization”. In a very real sense, government is not necessarily concerned with whether an enterprise succeeds or fails, but whether it meets all of its legal responsibilities as a corporate citizen. Compliance is the critical path to meeting government expectations.

Finally, in the case of the banking industry and certain other financial industries, regulatory and supervisory agencies, whether central banks, ministry departments or divisions, independent agencies or government deposit insurers, have their own concept of what constitutes good governance from a safety and soundness standpoint. Regulatory expectations of good governance tend to encompass all of the expectations of the more-narrow constituencies described above, as regulators are concerned not only with the viability of a particular bank but the impact of that viability as well on the financial system i.e., locally, nationally, and globally. Regulators want governance that effectively manages all material risks confronting a banking organization, whether those risks come from without or within the organization, to ensure that the institution is operating in a safe or sound manner. Safety and soundness considerations require regulators to have the highest expectations that cut across all interests of the organization.

Today, the banking industry is becoming more dominated by institutions with assets approaching half-trillion and even trillion-dollar range. Such size, in and of itself, overwhelms earlier supervisory approaches based extensively on transaction testing by examiners or inspectors. Thus, in the United States, United Kingdom and, increasingly, in pronouncements of the Basle Banking Committee, we can see an acceptance and acknowledgment that a ‘risk-based’ approach to supervision is the most workable, efficient, and prudent in dealing with increasingly larger, more global banking organizations.

Under a risk-based or risk-focused approach to supervision, a supervisor focuses on a banking organization’s principal risks and its internal systems and processes for managing and controlling these risks. Less emphasis is placed on transaction review, except as a means of testing the effectiveness of critical management or control systems. This approach relies upon-and creates high expectations for corporate governance, since, at the end of the day, the supervisor is examining, from the top down, how a banking organization is governing itself. Substantial gaps or failures in that governance thus become the focus of supervisory criticisms and enforcement measures, since regulators rightly perceive that such gaps or failures, especially in huge global organizations, can produce the next Barings, Daiwa, or even worse situation from a systemic standpoint.

“The regulator’s view of corporate governance is functionally oriented and does the organization have in place the necessary systems and processes for managing and controlling the principal risks of its business”? When regulators talk about good governance, they talk about ‘risk management’ in its broadest sense. In this regard, in recent years, a number of sound practice statements issued by the Basle Banking Committee, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the Group of Thirty, and individual bank supervisors have emphasized the same ‘risk management’ or ‘good governance’ fundamentals for financial institutions:

In 1992, Price Waterhouse was one of four sponsors of a study by Oxford Analytica of corporate governance and the role of the board of directors in the Group of Seven (G-7) countries in the decade ahead.  Although a board of directors is still expected to delegate the day-today routine of conducting the bank’s business to its officers and employees, regulators have been more forcefully educating the board that it cannot delegate its responsibility for the consequences of unsound or imprudent policies and practices, whether they involve lending, investing, protecting against internal fraud, or other banking activities. Accordingly, in its proposed Framework, the Basle Banking Committee emphasizes that the board “has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that an adequate system of internal controls is established and maintained”.

In order to provide effective strategic direction and oversight, a board must be able to exercise independent judgment when managing the bank’s affairs. Boards that merely rubber-stamp management’s recommendations or that are unduly influenced by a single, powerful shareholder or related group of directors are not sufficiently independent to meet their responsibilities. There has thus been a trend toward requiring the election or appointment of more outside directors on the board, who are not part of management and have no family or related ownership interest in the institution. In particular, it is viewed as increasingly important that a bank’s Audit Committee be composed entirely of outside directors.

 

In the United States, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA) requires that all audit committee members of large banks  with assets greater than $500 million be outside directors who are ‘independent of management’. The United Kingdom’s Cadbury Committee also recommended that audit committees be comprised of non-executive directors, with the majority independent of the company. The Basle Banking Committee’s recent Framework also implicitly endorses the benefits of having an independent audit committee “overseeing the financial reporting process and the internal control system”.

 

Bank supervisors will thus seek to determine whether, in fact, a bank’s board is independent and is meeting its responsibilities set forth above for setting the bank’s strategic direction and for ensuring that the bank has established an adequate system of internal controls for managing its risks. As part of this evaluation of the board’s role, a bank supervisor will review the adequacy of Management Information Systems (MIS), that provide the board and its audit or other committees with the information they need to perform their oversight role. In this regard, the bank’s risk control function should periodically provide the board with ‘useable’ information illustrating exposure trends, the adequacy of compliance with policies and procedures and risk limits and risk-return performance.

We can conclude good governance by a bank’s board requires independence, high ethical standards, knowledge of the bank’s business and the markets in which it operates, strategic direction, and effective oversight of the establishment and implementation by management of a sound internal system of controls, policies, procedures, and limits for managing all material risks. While it is of critical importance to define the elements of ‘good governance’ at commercial banks, it is equally, and perhaps more, important to identify those elements of ‘bad governance’ that are likely to lead to significant losses or even failure. When these governance ‘red flags” pop up during internal or external audits or bank inspections or examinations, bank supervisors need to respond promptly to ensure they do not evidence deeper governance or control problems within the banking institution.

The elements of good governance cannot be found in secret formulas, complex structures, or magic bullets. They are based on long-standing and well-tested principles of enterprise direction, management, and control. As the world’s banking institutions get ever larger and more diverse, the details of corporate governance become ever more important to institutional and systemic soundness.

 

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 22:10:38 +0530
Banking Governance in the World

 

Anupama Nair

What we need to understand is banking governance or Corporate governance only makes headlines when things go wrong. The collapse of Barings, a billion-dollar-plus trading losses at Daiwa Bank and Sumitomo Corporation, ended in an embarrassing and costly litigation and regulatory sanctions over derivatives sales practices at Bankers Trust, and other highly publicized cases have raised questions about the adequacy of corporate governance in international financial and other institutions. When you consider the geographic scope and product complexity of today’s financial markets, some have even wondered whether ‘good governance’ is truly achievable in a global banking or any other financial institution.

In examining the root causes of well-publicized losses at Barings, Daiwa, and others, we can take some consolation from the fact that all derived from violations of fundamental, managerial principles of control, such as those dealing with the recording of all trading positions and the adequate separation of duties. As reported in the Report of the UK Board of Banking Supervision on its inquiry into the collapse of Barings, “the failings at Barings were not a consequence of the complexity of the business, but were primarily a failure on the part of a number of individuals to do their jobs properly”.

However, the use of futures and options contracts allowed Mr. Leeson of Barings to take much greater levels of risk, through the leverage involved in these instruments, than might have been the case in other markets.

It took Mr. Iguchi of Daiwa almost ten years to lose $1 billion in unauthorized government bond trading. In less than two months’ time, Mr. Leeson was able to expand Barings’ losses from $374 million to $2.2 billion in his unauthorized trading of Nikkei futures and options and Japanese Government Bond futures. Although the fundamentals of good governance may not have changed that much, global markets and increasingly innovative and complex financial instruments not only make it more difficult to ensure such principles are adhered to throughout a large international organization but also greatly magnify the speed and costs of failure. The punishments for bad governance, as we have seen, can now be amazingly instant as well as severe.

“The financial sector worldwide seems committed to creating ever larger organizations through merger and consolidation and to becoming more dispersed and complex organizations through combining the different products, delivery systems, and cultures of commercial banking, investment banking, securities brokerage, futures and options, life and casualty insurance, mutual fund and asset management services into universal banking or financial conglomerate structures”. The main challenge faced for those who govern these enterprises and for those who regulate and supervise them, is to ensure that the basic tools of good governance board of directors’ oversight and strategic direction, management internal controls, internal and external audit, corporate compliance, and regulatory surveillance and inspection expand and adapt to ensure these enterprises continue to operate within a sound control environment.

Good governance cannot be just defined in isolation. It can only be understood in the context of the various constituencies it is meant to serve and their expectations. Customers, counterparties, and others with whom an enterprise does business generally define good governance in terms of efficiency and quality, a well-governed bank is one that provides efficient, high-quality services and products in a timely manner. Those who work within a bank tend to evaluate good governance on two fronts, job and personal satisfaction. Is management giving me all the tools and support that I need to do my job efficiently and well? Is management treating me fairly and objectively when it comes to such personal matters as salary, bonuses, benefits, and advancement, and does it seek to ensure that I work in a professional environment free from harassment, discrimination, and other forms of personal abuse? Internal constituencies thus tend to be more oriented toward management culture in their assessment of whether they are being well-governed.

Shareholders, which increasingly means institutional investors and securities analysts, evaluate good governance in terms of shareholder value and corporate opportunities. A well-run organization is one that continually seeks to enhance shareholder value, consistently meets earnings projections, and evaluates corporate opportunities in terms of the benefits to shareholders. Thus, a well-governed board of directors will have a substantial number of outside directors to ensure, that proposed takeovers or mergers of the company are fairly considered in terms of the maximization of value to the shareholder in a sale of corporate control. From a shareholder’s perspective, good governance centers on enhancing enterprise value.

Creditors, including banks, depositors, bond holders, analysts, and rating agencies, tend to view good governance in terms of an organization’s ability to meet and service its debt obligations. Good governance means having in place structures designed to provide such constituency with extensive, accurate, reliable, and timely financial information that enables creditors to evaluate regularly the likelihood of repayment of their loans or other credits when due at the negotiated terms. This constituency places its greatest reliance on financial reporting systems and their attendant controls.

The government, defines good governance in terms of compliance with laws and regulations, “from everything to paying the amount of taxes due on time to establishing compliance mechanisms to prevent criminal activity or fraud within the organization”. In a very real sense, government is not necessarily concerned with whether an enterprise succeeds or fails, but whether it meets all of its legal responsibilities as a corporate citizen. Compliance is the critical path to meeting government expectations.

Finally, in the case of the banking industry and certain other financial industries, regulatory and supervisory agencies, whether central banks, ministry departments or divisions, independent agencies or government deposit insurers, have their own concept of what constitutes good governance from a safety and soundness standpoint. Regulatory expectations of good governance tend to encompass all of the expectations of the more-narrow constituencies described above, as regulators are concerned not only with the viability of a particular bank but the impact of that viability as well on the financial system i.e., locally, nationally, and globally. Regulators want governance that effectively manages all material risks confronting a banking organization, whether those risks come from without or within the organization, to ensure that the institution is operating in a safe or sound manner. Safety and soundness considerations require regulators to have the highest expectations that cut across all interests of the organization.

Today, the banking industry is becoming more dominated by institutions with assets approaching half-trillion and even trillion-dollar range. Such size, in and of itself, overwhelms earlier supervisory approaches based extensively on transaction testing by examiners or inspectors. Thus, in the United States, United Kingdom and, increasingly, in pronouncements of the Basle Banking Committee, we can see an acceptance and acknowledgment that a ‘risk-based’ approach to supervision is the most workable, efficient, and prudent in dealing with increasingly larger, more global banking organizations.

Under a risk-based or risk-focused approach to supervision, a supervisor focuses on a banking organization’s principal risks and its internal systems and processes for managing and controlling these risks. Less emphasis is placed on transaction review, except as a means of testing the effectiveness of critical management or control systems. This approach relies upon-and creates high expectations for corporate governance, since, at the end of the day, the supervisor is examining, from the top down, how a banking organization is governing itself. Substantial gaps or failures in that governance thus become the focus of supervisory criticisms and enforcement measures, since regulators rightly perceive that such gaps or failures, especially in huge global organizations, can produce the next Barings, Daiwa, or even worse situation from a systemic standpoint.

“The regulator’s view of corporate governance is functionally oriented and does the organization have in place the necessary systems and processes for managing and controlling the principal risks of its business”? When regulators talk about good governance, they talk about ‘risk management’ in its broadest sense. In this regard, in recent years, a number of sound practice statements issued by the Basle Banking Committee, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the Group of Thirty, and individual bank supervisors have emphasized the same ‘risk management’ or ‘good governance’ fundamentals for financial institutions:

In 1992, Price Waterhouse was one of four sponsors of a study by Oxford Analytica of corporate governance and the role of the board of directors in the Group of Seven (G-7) countries in the decade ahead.  Although a board of directors is still expected to delegate the day-today routine of conducting the bank’s business to its officers and employees, regulators have been more forcefully educating the board that it cannot delegate its responsibility for the consequences of unsound or imprudent policies and practices, whether they involve lending, investing, protecting against internal fraud, or other banking activities. Accordingly, in its proposed Framework, the Basle Banking Committee emphasizes that the board “has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that an adequate system of internal controls is established and maintained”.

In order to provide effective strategic direction and oversight, a board must be able to exercise independent judgment when managing the bank’s affairs. Boards that merely rubber-stamp management’s recommendations or that are unduly influenced by a single, powerful shareholder or related group of directors are not sufficiently independent to meet their responsibilities. There has thus been a trend toward requiring the election or appointment of more outside directors on the board, who are not part of management and have no family or related ownership interest in the institution. In particular, it is viewed as increasingly important that a bank’s Audit Committee be composed entirely of outside directors.

 

In the United States, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (FDICIA) requires that all audit committee members of large banks  with assets greater than $500 million be outside directors who are ‘independent of management’. The United Kingdom’s Cadbury Committee also recommended that audit committees be comprised of non-executive directors, with the majority independent of the company. The Basle Banking Committee’s recent Framework also implicitly endorses the benefits of having an independent audit committee “overseeing the financial reporting process and the internal control system”.

 

Bank supervisors will thus seek to determine whether, in fact, a bank’s board is independent and is meeting its responsibilities set forth above for setting the bank’s strategic direction and for ensuring that the bank has established an adequate system of internal controls for managing its risks. As part of this evaluation of the board’s role, a bank supervisor will review the adequacy of Management Information Systems (MIS), that provide the board and its audit or other committees with the information they need to perform their oversight role. In this regard, the bank’s risk control function should periodically provide the board with ‘useable’ information illustrating exposure trends, the adequacy of compliance with policies and procedures and risk limits and risk-return performance.

We can conclude good governance by a bank’s board requires independence, high ethical standards, knowledge of the bank’s business and the markets in which it operates, strategic direction, and effective oversight of the establishment and implementation by management of a sound internal system of controls, policies, procedures, and limits for managing all material risks. While it is of critical importance to define the elements of ‘good governance’ at commercial banks, it is equally, and perhaps more, important to identify those elements of ‘bad governance’ that are likely to lead to significant losses or even failure. When these governance ‘red flags” pop up during internal or external audits or bank inspections or examinations, bank supervisors need to respond promptly to ensure they do not evidence deeper governance or control problems within the banking institution.

The elements of good governance cannot be found in secret formulas, complex structures, or magic bullets. They are based on long-standing and well-tested principles of enterprise direction, management, and control. As the world’s banking institutions get ever larger and more diverse, the details of corporate governance become ever more important to institutional and systemic soundness.

 

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 22:10:35 +0530
Stress Management an overview

 

Anupama Nair

In today’s world our life and mostly our health depends on a six-letter word – ‘STRESS’. What is stress? Stress in other words is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. Different situations or life-events can cause stress. It is often triggered when we experience something new, unexpected or that threatens our sense of self, or when we feel we have little control over a situation.

Everybody deal with stress differently. Our ability to cope each situation can depend on our genetics, early life events, personality and social and economic circumstances. When we encounter stress, our body produces stress hormones that trigger a fight or flight response and activate our immune system. This helps us respond quickly to dangerous situations.

Many things that can lead to stress are – bereavement, divorce or separation, losing a job and financial problems. Work-related stress can also have a negative impact on your mental health. People affected by work-related stress lose about 24 days of work due to ill-health. Even positive life changes, such as moving to a bigger house, gaining a job promotion or going on holiday can be sources of stress. If you feel stressed in these situations you may struggle to understand why or be unwilling to share your feelings with others.

If the stress is long-term, you may notice your sleep and memory are affected, your eating habits change, or you feel less inclined to exercise. Some research also linked long-term stress to gastrointestinal conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or stomach ulcers, as well as conditions like cardiovascular disease.

Some people are more likely to experience stressful situations than others like -- those who suffer from prejudice or discrimination, people with a lot of debt or financial insecurity, or people with disabilities or long-term health conditions 

If you're feeling stressed, there are some things you can try to feel less tense and overwhelmed.

Recognize when stress is a problem:

It’s always important to connect the physical and emotional signs you’re experiencing to the pressures you are faced with. Don’t ignore physical warning signs such as tense muscles, tiredness, headaches or migraines. It is necessary to think about what’s causing stress. Sort them into issues with a practical solution, things that will get better with time and things you can't do anything about. Take control by taking small steps towards the things you can improve. Make a plan to address the things that you can. This might involve setting yourself realistic expectations and prioritizing essential commitments. If you feel overwhelmed, ask for help and say no to things you can’t take on.

Think about where you can make changes:

Are you taking on too much work or responsibility? Could you hand over some things to someone else? Can you do things in a more leisurely way? You may need to prioritize things and reorganize your life so that you’re not trying to do everything at once.

Build supportive relationships:

Find close friends or family who can offer help and practical advice who can support you in managing stress. Joining a club or a course that can help to expand your social network and encourage you to do something different. Activities like volunteering can change your perspective and have a beneficial impact on your mood. 

Eat healthily:

A healthy diet can improve your mood. Getting enough nutrients, including essential vitamins and minerals and water can help your mental wellbeing.

Be aware of your smoking and drinking:

It is necessary to reduce or stop smoking and drinking if you can. They may seem to reduce tension but in reality, make problems much worse. Alcohol and caffeine can increase feelings of anxiety.

Get some exercise

Physical exercise can help manage the effects of stress by producing ‘endorphins’ that boost your mood. It can be hard to motivate yourself if you're stressed, but even a little bit of activity can make a difference. For example, you can walk for 15-20 minutes three times a week.

Take time out

Take time to relax and practice self-care, where you do positive things for yourself. For instance, you could listen to music to calm your body and mind. Striking a balance between responsibility to others and responsibility to yourself is vital in reducing stress levels.

Be mindful

Mindfulness meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time. Research has suggested it can be helpful for managing and reducing the effect of stress and anxiety.

Get some restful sleep

If you’re having difficulty sleeping or suffer from insomnia, you can try to reduce the amount of caffeine you consume and avoid too much screen time before bed. Write down a, to-do list for the next day to help you prioritize, but make sure you put it aside before you go to bed.

Be kind to yourself

Try to keep things in perspective and don't be too hard on yourself. Look for things in your life that are positive and write down things that make you feel grateful.
 

If you still continue to feel overwhelmed by stress, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It’s important to get help as soon as possible so that you can start to feel better.Talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling. They should be able to advise you on treatment and may refer you for further help. They may suggest talking therapies such as:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), can help reduce stress by changing the ways you think about stressful situations

Brief Interpersonal Counselling, can give you the chance to talk about what causes you stress and develop coping strategies

So, always try to lead a stress less life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sat, 24 Sep 2022 22:04:35 +0530
Use of Data Analysis in Finance Industry

 

Anupama Nair

In the data-driven world of the 21st century, data analytics in financial sector plays a very crucial role in informed decision-making to drive organizations to move forward, improve efficiency, increase returns, and achieve the business goals set. For the unversed, “data analytics is the process of discovery, interpretation, and conveying meaningful insights from data to help in the decision-making process”.

 

Big data is transforming the business and technical situations in the present era of modernization. Numerous financial events take place every day and the financial sector is greatly involved in the calculation of such events that leads to uncountable financial transactions and the generation of a huge amount of data in the financial world every day. Thus, consultants and analysts in the industry find the management and analytics of this data challenging for their products and services.

 

The finance industry needs to exploit this huge amount of data to fulfill the ever-changing and rising customer expectations and stay ahead in the increasing competition between the fintech players. Relatively, for financial institutions like banks and insurance companies it is mandatory to use data sets to strengthen customer understanding. Also, identifying the financial issues in which big data has an impact is another important matter that this industry can discover and address with the impacts of business analytics in fintech. Though a significant number of players in the market have started making use of big data, many companies are yet to explore its significance.

 

There are three major aspects of data as per the boards of modern companies providing financial services:

 

  • Data has an incredible amount of value for the organization to identifying customer requirements.
  • Data is essential for security and compliance.
  • Data is central for the transformation of every financial institution to improve their efficiencies and fulfill customer demands.

 

Augmented analytics

 

Financial augmented analytics helps finance executives to convert a huge amount of structured and unstructured data into useful insights that facilitate competent decision-making. It eliminates human errors from the financial transactions/processes through the autonomous extract, transforms and load (ETL) data transfer, autonomous data models and autonomous security.

With the help of augmented analytics, the finance teams can easily get all the information that they need to provide detailed view of various key performance indicators (KPIs) like net income, revenue generated, payroll cost and other expenditures.

Also, data analytics enables the finance team to closely examine and understand important metrics, detect parameters like fraud and manipulation in revenue turnover. It also allows the executives to take crucial actions and decisions to prevent/manage the same. On the whole, Big data contemplates distinctive fraudulent activities through predictive analysis.

 

Edge computing:

 

There are various benefits of edge computing in the finance industry, like:

1. Enhanced security – With edge computing, the need to send consumers’ data into the public cloud is completely removed, hence the risks associated with data transfer are eliminated.

2. Minimized latency – Data is processed at a very high pace with edge computing, which is very useful for businesses in real-time decision-making.

3. Increase in the use of IoT – Financial institutions like banks are now relying more on IoT to connect with their customers. Edge computing reveals more potential for IoT options due to fewer data limits.

4. Improved innovation – Edge computing provides security, speed and IoT implementation options that enable banks to innovate and integrate new solutions readily.

Reduced cost – With edge computing, the cost of data exchange with data centers/cloud and the costs associated with the data center is decreased since there is no need for a data center and computing takes place at the edge itself.

 

Personalization

Big data helps bank to understand client requirements and prioritize them before business needs. This advances the feasibility of banking by carrying out customer segmentation and providing customers with improved financial solutions. This is important because banks have to constantly modify their plans of action from business-driven to customer-driven models. Big data not only accomplishes such tasks effortlessly, but it also improves the analysis of groups and data.

 

Smart insights

Big data has revolutionized how stock markets used to work all over the globe. It has also improved decision-making for investment.

Machine learning (ML) includes the analysis of historical data from several business exchanges with onlookers and their responses. This data helps in finding out factors that improve the outcome of company communications. This may include targeting, offers, etc. Organizations can use this understanding in their upcoming campaigns to surge the success probabilities.

ML algorithms generate insights through predictive analytics which teams/individuals can take into consideration to define rules for running artificial intelligence. This yields better results throughout a number of significant metrics. The use of predictive analytics doubles the average profit and customer lifetime value. Equipped with the power of algorithmic trading, big data holds immense potential for the financial sector.

 

Financial models

Financial institutions like loaning bodies, banks, trading firms, etc., produce huge amount of data regularly. To extract useful insights out of this data, it is important to deploy a data handling language that can control and analyze it completely. Here, Big data and analytics come into the picture.

As stated above, these processes generate a massive amount of data regularly. In the absence of big data and analytics, these institutions are not able to leverage the data completely. When these companies integrate data analytics, it becomes easier for them to control and analyze full data. Greater data relevancy generates a stable model with minimum risks. All of this can be easily obtained by implementing a strategy based on data-driven models.

Big data has gradually taken over diverse industries in a very short period and financial industry is not an exception. The fintech companies have now realized that it is imperative to utilize the generated data completely in order to reap the best benefits. Besides, the implementation of business analytics in fintech increases effectiveness, provides exceptional solutions and develops customer-oriented approach for the industry. Nonetheless, it also lessens the number of frauds and risks that lie in the financial sector. To know more about the potential that data analytics holds to disrupt the finance industry, get in touch with our experts.

 

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 21:52:15 +0530
How were continents formed

 

Anupama Nair

We live on a beautiful planet called earth, along with a wide variety of living organisms. The earth, is part of the vast universe. The universe is about 15 to 20 billion years old. The age of the earth is approximately 4 to 5 billion years, while human beings evolved around 2 million years ago. The widely accepted theory of the origin of universe is the ‘Big Bang’ theory. According to this theory, universe started with a huge explosion and matter like dust and gases filled the entire space. The temperature of the universe then, was around hundred billion degrees Celsius.

Scientists believed that the Big Bang occurred about 15 to 20 billion years ago. The huge collection of dust and gases then began to spin. As it spun faster and faster, the center of the solar system became very hot and it became the Sun. From the Sun, big blobs or chunks of dust broke off and formed eight ball shaped planets. The earth broke off about 4.5 billion years ago with an explosion. It was a burning hot white mass of gas and dust. Over a long period of time, dust and gas gradually condensed to form solid rock.

The crust of the earth was formed from cooling and hardening of the molten matter and hot gases. With cooling of the earth, the crust hardened and formed the land. The cooling of the earth also condensed water vapor into liquid water filling the depressions to form the seas. “The earth with its blue skies, vast oceans and lush green forests is the home to wide variety of organisms. It has its own unique atmosphere. The atmosphere also helps to regulate the ambient temperature which is suitable for supporting life. If you could dig a deep hole into earth the deeper you go, the hotter it becomes”.

In the beginning, i.e., more than 4.6 billion years ago, the world was a ball of burning gas, spinning through space. At first, super-heated gases were able to escape into outer space, but as the Earth cooled, they were held by gravity to form the early atmosphere. Clouds soon began to develop as water vapor collected in the air, and then it began to rain, that caused the early oceans to rise up. It took hundreds of millions of years for the first land masses to emerge. Earth's first continents may have risen out of the ocean around 700 million years ago.

About 250 million years ago, long after the Earth was formed, all the continents of the time had joined together to form a super-continent called Pangaea, which broke up about 200 million years ago to form two giant continents, called Gondwana and Laurasia. Gondwana comprised what is now Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica and India. The Indian Sub-continent was then in the east coast of Africa, before it broke off and moved north quickly. It struck with the continent of Asia, creating one of the world’s greatest mountain ranges, that extended for more than 2,502,500 KM, called the Himalayas. By then, our world had almost started to look like the world of today.

Did you know that the first stable continental land to have risen about 3.2 billion years ago may have been the Singhbhum region of Jharkhand in India? The study was conducted in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). “The team of researchers from India, Australia, and the US had acquired the sandstones in Singhbhum having geological signatures of ancient river channels, tidal plains and beaches over 3.2 billion years old”. 

The study was led by author, Dr. Priyadarshi Chowdhury of Monash University, who said “we realized these were ancient riverine rocks, formed in rivers and estuaries. We had plate tectonics today to control the elevation. When two continents collide, you form the Himalayas, you form the Alps. That wasn't the case 3 billion years ago”. The Singhbhum craton (a large stable block of the earth's crust forming the nucleus of a continent) may have been formed from a pile of lava over time and the crust became so thick that it floated on the water just like an iceberg. 

 

The team of researchers removed zircon from the Singhbhum sediments. They estimated the age of the rocks by shooting lasers at the zircon and then measuring the relative amounts of elements released. The cratons parallel to that of Singhbhum one, existed in South Africa and Australia also. The researchers were of the view “that the weathering of the cratons would have led to nutrient runoff, supplying the ocean with phosphorus and other building blocks for early life in the planet”.

The scientists believed that once a landmass is created, shallow seas such as lagoons are also created, thereby accelerating the growth of oxygen-producing life forms that may have boosted oxygen in the atmosphere and ocean. The emergence of early continents would also have drawn carbon dioxide down from the atmosphere, leading to localized pockets of cold climate and the formation of glaciers which was the first step towards making the Earth more habitable. 

The astonishing process of plate tectonics, in which the Earth’s land masses move slowly across the Earth’s crust, is still continuing even now. They predicted far in the future, the present continents will join again, to form a new supercontinent.

When that will happen only time will open…

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 21:49:23 +0530
Dog Dementia A sad story

 

Anupama Nair

Dogs are considered as “man’s best friend” and I definitely agree, for I cannot imagine a life without my furry friend Rocky. He is the best stress-buster in the world. A wet nose and a wagging tail is a bundle of joy and comfort. I always think, how can some people not like dogs. I have always loved dogs and they are a pleasure to be with. The most saddening fact is our furry babies have short lives maybe up to 20 years and it never is enough for us.

Today I am going to write about a sad but serious condition in dogs called dog dementia. What is dog dementia? How does it affect our furry friends? And what can we do to prevent, treat, and care for dogs with dementia? Dog dementia, also known as Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD), is a “cognitive disorder in dogs associated with effects similar to Alzheimer’s in humans”. It’s a condition related to the ageing of a dog’s brain, which leads to changes in behavior and primarily affects memory, learning, and comprehension.

The symptoms of dog dementia are extensive, ranging from mild to severe as the disease progresses. 

Some common symptoms of dog dementia are:

  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Failing to remember routines and previously learned training or house rules
  • No longer responding to their name or familiar commands
  • Extreme irritability
  • Decreased desire to play
  • Aimless wandering
  • Staring blankly at walls or at nothing
  • Slow to learn new tasks
  • Lack of self-grooming
  • Loss of appetite
  • Changes in sleep cycle like night waking or sleeping during the day

What you need to realize is these symptoms might not necessarily mean, your dog is suffering from dog dementia, but could indicate other illness too, or may normal old age symptoms. The exact cause of dementia in dogs is unknown. Research done on dogs suggest it could be due to the fact that the brain function is affected by the physical and chemical changes that occur due to the ageing process in dogs. The sad part is there is no cure for dog dementia.

Hope no dog ever go through this condition.

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 21:46:28 +0530
How to lose your belly fat

Anupama Nair

Every one dreams of having a thin and fit body and belly fat makes our body look out of shape. It is more than a nuisance that makes your clothes feel tight and it’s seriously harmful too. One type of belly fat called as visceral fat  is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other serious conditions. Body mass index (BMI) is used to classify weight and predict the risk of metabolic disease. However, this is misleading, as people with excess belly fat are at an increased risk even if they look thin. The sad part is losing fat from this area can be difficult, there are several things you can do to reduce excess abdominal fat:

Eat Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber absorbs water and forms a gel that helps slow down food as it passes through your digestive system. Research indicate that this type of fiber promotes weight loss by helping you feel full, so you naturally eat less. It may also decrease the number of calories your body absorbs from food. Soluble fiber may help fight belly fat. A study in over many adults found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber intake, belly fat gain decreased by 3.7% over a 5-year period  Make an effort to consume high fiber foods every day. Good sources of soluble fiber are:

  • flax seeds
  • shirataki noodles
  • Brussels sprouts
  • avocados
  • legumes
  • blackberries

 

Avoid foods that contain trans fats

What are trans fats and how are they formed? Trans fats also called trans-fatty acids increase bad cholesterol and also lowers good cholesterol. A diet full of trans fats increases the risk of heart disease, which is the leading killer of adults. Trans fats are created by pumping hydrogen into unsaturated fats, such as soybean oil. They’re found in some margarines and spreads and also often added to packaged foods, but many food producers have stopped using them. These fats have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, insulin resistance, and abdominal fat gain in observational and animal studies. To help reduce belly fat and protect your health, you must read ingredient labels carefully and stay away from products that contain trans fats. These are often listed as partially hydrogenated fats.

Alcohol can have health benefits in small amounts, but it’s seriously harmful if you drink too much. Studies suggests that too much alcohol can also make you gain belly fat.Observational studies link heavy alcohol consumption to a significantly increased risk of developing obesity, that is, excess fat storage around the waist Cutting back on alcohol may help reduce your waist size. You don’t need to give it up altogether, but limiting the amount you drink in a single day can help a lot. One study on alcohol use involved more than 2,000 people. Results showed those who drank alcohol daily but averaged less than one drink per day had less belly fat than those who drank less frequently but consumed more alcohol on the days they drank.

Protein is an extremely important nutrient for weight management. A high protein intake increases the release of the hormone PYY, which reduces  appetite and fullness., and you end up eating less. Protein also raises your metabolic rate and helps you to retain muscle mass during weight. Many studies show that people who eat more protein tend to have less abdominal fat than those who eat a lower protein  Food high in protein are:

  • meat
  • fish
  • eggs
  • dairy
  • whey protein
  • beans

 

Reduce your stress levels

 

Stress helps in gaining belly fat by triggering the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone. Studies shows that high cortisol levels increase appetite and drive abdominal fat storage. Women who already have a large waist tend to produce more cortisol in response to stress. Increased cortisol further adds to fat gain around the middle. Engaging in pleasurable activities that relieve stress like meditation and yoga helps.

 

Don’t eat a lot of sugary foods

 

Sugar contains fructose, which has been linked to several chronic diseases when consumed in excess like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver disease.

There is a relationship between high sugar intake and increased abdominal fat. It’s important to realize that more than just refined sugar can lead to belly fat gain. Even healthier sugars, such as real honey, should be used in limits.

 

Cut back on carbs — especially refined carbs

 

Reducing your carb intake can be very helpful for losing fat, including abdominal fat.

Diets with less than 50 grams of carbs per day cause belly fat loss in people who are overweight, those at risk for type 2 diabetes, and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). You don’t have to follow a strict low carb diet. Some research suggests that by simply replacing refined carbs with unprocessed starchy carbs may improve metabolic health and reduce belly fat  People with the highest consumption of whole grains were 17% less likely to have excess abdominal fat than those who consumed diets high in refined grains.

 

Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages

 

Sugar sweetened drinks might taste good but are loaded with liquid fructose, which can make you gain belly fat. Studies show that sugary drinks lead to increased fat in the liver. Sugary beverages are even worse than high sugar foods. Since your brain doesn’t process liquid calories the same way it does solid ones, you’re likely to end up consuming too many calories later on and storing them as fat

 

To lose belly fat, it’s best to completely avoid sugar-sweetened beverages like:

 

  • soda
  • punch
  • sweet tea
  • alcoholic mixers containing sugar

 

Get plenty of restful sleep

 

A sound sleep of around 8 hours is important for many aspects of your health, including weight. Studies show that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to gain more weight, which may include belly fat. Those who slept less than 5 hours per night were significantly more likely to gain weight than those who slept 7 hours or more per night The condition known as sleep apnea, where breathing stops intermittently during the night, has also been linked to excess visceral fat. Apart from sleeping at least 7 hours per night, make sure you’re getting sufficient quality sleep. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea or another sleep disorder, speak to a doctor and get treated.

 

Eat fatty fish every week

 

Fatty fish are incredibly healthy. They’re rich in high quality protein and omega-3 fats that protect you from diseases. These omega-3 fats may also help reduce visceral fat. Studies in adults and children with fatty liver disease show that fish oil supplements can significantly reduce liver and abdominal fat  Try to eat 2–3 servings of fatty fish per week.

 

Some good fatty fish are:

  • salmon
  • herring
  • sardines
  • mackerel
  • anchovies

 

Eat probiotic foods or take a probiotic supplement

What are Probiotics? They  are bacteria found in some foods and supplements. They have many health benefits, including helping improve gut health and enhancing immune function. There is evidence that different types of bacteria play a role in weight regulation and that having the right balance can help with weight loss, including loss of belly fat. Those known to reduce belly fat include members of the Lactobacillus family, such as Lactobacillus fermentumLactobacillus amylovorus and especially Lactobacillus gasseri .Probiotic supplements typically contain several types of bacteria, so make sure you purchase one that provides one or more of these bacterial strains.

 

Drink green tea

 

Green tea is an exceptionally healthy beverage. It contains caffeine and the anti-oxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which appear to boost metabolism. EGCG is a catechin, which may help you lose belly fat. What is catechin? Catechins are phenolic compounds found excessively in tea, cocoa and berries. The effect may be strengthened when green tea consumption is combined with exercise.

Change your lifestyle and combine different methods

Just doing one of the items on this list won’t help on its own. If you want good results, you need to combine different methods that have been shown to be effective. Interestingly, many of these methods are things generally associated with healthy eating and an overall healthy lifestyle. Therefore, keep changing your lifestyle for the long-term helps in losing your belly fat and keeping it off forever. If you have healthy habits and eat healthy food, fat loss tends to follow as a natural side effect.

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 21:41:26 +0530
The British East India Company the beginning

 

Anupama Nair

I had written about the advent of the Europeans in India and how they lost their prominence after time. It was the only the British who could establish their supremacy and became the “empire where the sun never sets”. Most of the world was in their grasp. The East India Company was founded during the rule of Queen Elizabeth I and grew into a dominating global player with its own army, with huge influence and power. In 1600, a group of London merchants whose leader was Sir Thomas Smythe made an appeal to Queen Elizabeth I to grant them a Royal Charter to trade with the countries of the eastern hemisphere. The ‘Honorable Company of Merchants of London called East India Company started their colonial journey with America. Nobody could have predicted the seismic shifts in the dynamics of global trade that would follow, nor that 258 years later, the company would hand over the control of the  Subcontinent to the British crown. The question is how did this company gain and consolidate its power and profit?

At the same time as Elizabeth, I was signing the East India Company (EIC) into existence in 1600, her counterpart in India was  the Mughal  Akbar and ruling over an empire of 750,000 square miles, stretching from northern Afghanistan in the northwest, to central India’s Deccan plateau in in the south and the Assamese highlands in the northeast. By 1600, the Mughal empire was ruled by Akbar the Cruel, and the empire was formed by his grandfather Babar the Tyrant in 1526. and was embarking on a century of strong centralized power, military dominance and cultural productiveness that would mark the tyrannical  rule of the Mughals. India from ancient times had wealth and magnificence to overshadow anything that Europe could produce at the time, while India’s natural produce like Dacca Muslin and that of its artisans was coveted all over the world. It was no wonder the British wanted to covet the “sone ki chidiya”

When the East India Company first visited the Mughal court in the early 17th Century, they pretended to be supplicants attempting to negotiate favorable trading relations with Akbar’s successor, Jehangir. The company had initially planned to try and force their way into the lucrative spice markets of south-east Asia, but found this trade was already dominated by the Dutch. After EIC merchants were massacred at Amboyna (in present day Indonesia) in 1623, the company increasingly turned their attention to India.

With Jehangir’s permission, they began to build small bases, or factories, on India's eastern and western coasts. From these coastal toeholds, they orchestrated the profitable trade in spices, textiles and luxury goods on which their commercial success was predicated, dealing with Indian artisans and producers primarily through Indian middlemen. Meanwhile, the ‘joint stock’ organization of the company in which ownership was shared between shareholders spread the cost and risk of individual voyages between investors. The company grew in both size and influence across the 17th and 18th Centuries.

They were initially a junior partner in the Mughal empire’s sophisticated commercial networks, however in the 18th Century, the EIC became increasingly involved in politics of the Indian Subcontinent. They maintained their trading privileges in the face of declining Mughal authority after Aurangzeb and became successful.

European competitors also began to have an increased presence on the Subcontinent, with France emerging as a major national and imperial rival during the War of Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War. This particularly increased the strategic importance of the EIC's Indian footholds, and the country’s coastline became crucial to further imperial expansion in Asia and Africa, as  well as maintaining a large standing army consisting primarily of sepoys who were Indian mercenary soldiers trained in European Military techniques and EIC garrisoned Crown’s troops in India.

Such military advantages made the EIC a powerful player in local conflicts and disputes, as did the financial support offered by some local Indian merchants and bankers, who saw in the EIC's increasing influence an unmissable commercial opportunity.

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 21:33:43 +0530
My country under Colonial rule 1498 1947

Anupama Nair

Bharat, Aryavarta, or India whatever name you call her, has always been known as “cradle of civilization”. India is a country in the continent of Asia whose name comes from Sindhu or Indus River. The name 'Bharat' is also  a name used for the country after the Emperor Bharat, whose story is told, in the epic Mahabharata.

The Puranas stated Bharat conquered the whole of Indian Subcontinent and he was said to have ruled his country in peace and harmony. The country, hence came to be known as ‘Bharatavarsha’. Nearly  lakhs of years ago, Hominid activity was excavated in the Indian subcontinent and goes back to over 250,000 years, and we can proudly say, “one of the oldest inhabited regions on the planet”.

I spoke about ancient India and the pride I felt in my matrubhoomi and her greatness. Unfortunately, when Bharat Ma’s great son Prithvi Raj was martyred, it was an epoch-making event that heralded Islamic terrorism till 17th Century, when the Mughal rule thankfully lost its importance after the death of the most tyrannical and butcher of humans Aurangzeb.

Every one in Europe had a craze for Indian goods like Dacca Muslin and spices. The Royal families in Europe were addicted to them. The trade was done by Arabs who bought them from India and sold it to Europe. The trade route was through Constantinople, but the Turks conquered Constantinople in 1456 and put an end to the trade route. The Europeans were forced to look for an alternate route to India. It was Christopher Columbus who setout on a journey to India, He landed in an unknown land in 1492, which he thought was India. The New Land was called America after his death.

‘Colonial Rule’ was the part of the Indian subcontinent that was under the rule of European countries during the ‘Age of Discovery’. European power was exerted both by conquest and trade, especially in spices. A few years later, after Columbus Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama became the first European to re-establish direct trade links with India since Roman times by being the first to arrive by circling Africa. He arrived in Calicut, that was one of the major trading ports of the world. He obtained permission to trade in the city from the Zamorin who were the ruler of Malabar. The next to arrive were the Dutch, with their main base in Ceylon. Their expansion into India was halted after their defeat in the ‘Battle of Colachel’ by the Kingdom of Travancore, during the Travancore–Dutch War.

Trading rivalries among the seafaring European powers brought other European powers to India. The Dutch Republic, England, France, and Portugal all established trading posts in India in the early 17th  century. As the Mughal Empire disintegrated in the early 18th century, and then as the Maratha Empire became weakened after the Third Battle of Panipat with Ahmed Shah Abdali, and many relatively weak and unstable Indian states which emerged were increasingly open to manipulation by the Europeans, through dependent on Indian rulers.

In the later 18th  century, Great Britain and France struggled for dominance, by direct military intervention. The defeat of the formidable Indian ruler Tipu Sultan in 1799 reduced the French influence. This was followed by a rapid expansion of British power through the greater part of the Indian Subcontinent in the early 19th  century. Soon the British became the masters of the most of the Sub Continent excluding some territories like Gos, Pondicheri and Mahe.

Sat, 24 Sep 2022 21:31:11 +0530
Navratri Special offer

 

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Vile Parle East, one of Mumbai's such neighborhoods, is one such locale. Both homes and businesses can be found in it. It is closer to both Airports and highways are very reachable. The flat is not far from Vile Parle East. The famous Parle Agro, a large manufacturing company, have contributed to the area's fame. It is  refined luxury. It is also known for schools, colleges and of course temples (including some known Jain Temples.

Property Details:

A 2-BHK flat is on outright sale in Vile Parle (EAST) with a spacious drawing room and a premium property is the best feature. All rooms are bright and airy and east opening. You can see exquisite interiors and is semi furnished with top Condition. The main door is facing north  as per Vastu. The Italian marble adds to its beauty. The flat is located in a small peaceful and well-maintained society.

 

 

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Shashi Building(with OC)

SUBHASH ROAD

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Carpet Area: 821 sqft

Car Parking : 1 stilt Car

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Sat, 24 Sep 2022 21:20:30 +0530
The Nine Planets and their impact on our lives

 

Anupama Nair

From time immemorial man had loved to gaze at a star-studded sky and at gaze at galaxies many light years away, and it has been my hobby too as far as I remember. As  a child I had thought the stars were the souls of our ancestors. It took me some time to understand they were stars and planets as my science teacher taught me, and I learnt that the branch of science which dealt with celestial objects, space, and the physical universe as a whole is called astronomy.

I am now going to talk about the ancient civilizations and their studies and later about modern science.

 

Ancient India has been home to one of the most fascinating intelligent activities that mankind has in recorded history. India, is called the ‘cradle of civilizations’ and has one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Our ancestors had followed a strong tradition of science and technology as it is well-known ancient India was a land of sages or rishis as well as a land of scholars and scientists. 

From the Vedic times till present, the Indians have exhibited unmatchable deep understanding and mastery over ‘knowledge across the spectrum’. Our ancestors have left us a great treasure trove of “knowledge, and the rational interpretation of these ideas, which has become the basis of knowledge discovery across the civilization for several ages now. From astronomy to metallurgy, mathematics to medicine, our contribution to the global knowledge discovery is massive”.

Not satisfied with discovering and recording scientific treatises, the Indian sages had also tied to learn the scientific methods of the other cultures, thus displaying a real scientific attitude. As a fact what is interesting is, such an effort by the ancient Indians has been considered by prolonged observations, especially with the naked eye and simple tools, aided by techniques that we seem now to discard as crude and primitive. Indians also had produced lot of literature on different aspects of “astronomy, cosmology, numerology, measures of time, development of observatories, and many instruments”. The ancient Indians were also considered the first to study the planetary motions, design calendars, study time and the inter-disciplinary nature of many of these above aspects. India’s ambitious space program ‘Chandrayan’ or journey to the moon proved how far-thinking our ancestors were.

Similar to the Indians, the ancient Babylonians were also among the earliest civilization to document the movements of the Sun and the Moon. They maintained a very thorough record of the planetary motions including a daily, monthly, and yearly position of the celestial bodies. This information was earlier used to warn the Babylonian king about possible catastrophic events. It is believed that the first appearances of the famous Hailey’s comet were documented by the Babylonians many centuries before Sir Edmund Hailey and it is also they who first divided the sky into zones.

However, when we think of astronomy, the Greeks definitely first come to our mind. They are popularly known as the ‘fathers of ancient astronomy’ as they formulated theories and mathematical equations in an attempt to explain the mysteries of the universe.

One of the greatest and famous Greek scholars was  Eratosthenes. He has excelled not only in the field of astronomy but also in the field of geography, mathematics, poetry, and music as well. He is also renowned for several astronomical breakthroughs. He calculated the area earth’s circumference, and what is surprising, is his calculation was inaccurate by only a few hundred or thousand miles. He is also responsible for calculating the tilt of the earth’s axis and the leap day in a leap year.

Pythagoras is not only a Greek philosopher who is famous for mathematical theories, but also had contributions in Astronomy too. He assumed that the earth is spherical in shape as other celestial bodies are and he came up with this idea when he saw ships disappear past the horizon as they sail. He was the first to suggest that the movement of the planets, sun, moon, and stars could be equated in numbers.

The ancient Mayan astronomers always sought guidance from the sky. They were particularly interested in studying the motion of the stars, sun, and other planets. The ancient Mayans had managed to observe and document these movements through shadow-casting devices they invented. It is through these observations that they developed the Mayan Calendar to keep track of the passage of time.

Ancient Egypt also had significant contributions to astronomy. Just like any other ancient civilization, the movements and patterns of the stars and planets kindled the creation of myths to explain astronomical events. The pyramids and temples were built based on astronomical positions. The example is the Great Pyramid of Giza which was built to align with the North Star Thuban. The Nabta Playa is one of the most fascinating astronomical locations in Egypt where a circular stone structure can be found that is believed to be a giant calendar to identify the summer solstice.

They used the movements of the stars and planets to predict and this helped them be alert when there was flooding in the Nile River. The Egyptians are credited to have developed a calendar system similar to the one we use -- “it has 30 days in one month and 365 days divided into 12 months, the only difference is that they have 10-day week and a three-week month.

Astronomy was very popular in Persia too. Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi commonly known as Azophi was one of the most intelligent astronomers of all time. The Andromeda galaxy was first described in his work: “The Book of Fixed Stars”. He had only made some corrections and revisions on the original concept of constellations discovered by Ptolemy. Abu Mahmud Hamid ibn Khidr al-Khujandi was also a brilliant astronomer who built a giant sextant with the purpose of calculating the earth’s axis. It was his own invention that made it possible to come up with a lot of accurate calculation. His measurement was incorrect only by two minutes i.e., a level of accuracy that has never been attained till now.

You might be surprised to hear, that the nine planets in our solar system has a deep impact in our lives. We are aware that all the planets in the solar system affect us astrologically in some way or the other. Did you know that each planet signifies a certain part of our body and the ailments associated with it?

The Sun is also a star and is also responsible for providing the earth and other planets with energy, warmth and abundance. Hence, the Sun symbolizes how much energy a person has -- both physical and mental and also signifies the functioning of the heart. The planet Mercury is known as one of the brightest planets in the solar system, hence Mercury stands for the “smooth functioning of our brain, intelligence, the ability to take decisions and calmness”. Venus is, called as the planet of love and stands for everything ‘sweet’ in the body. It is believed this planet affects the level of sugar in our body and its malefic affect could result in a condition like Diabetes.

It is said that Mars governs the smooth functioning of our kidneys, bladder and pancreas. It also regulates the flow of blood in our body. The malefic effect of Mars results in a severe stomach disorder for all those affected by it. Jupiter is the biggest planet of the solar system and stands for “strength, physical stamina, and smooth functioning of our heart. Saturn rules the quantity of vitamins and minerals in our body. It is responsible for our strong bones and the build-up of calcium in our body. A person with a weak Saturn is prone to fractures in the body.

All the planets have positive and negative effects on any individual’s personal and professional life based on their birth chart and planetary positions of its native planets.

Disclaimer:

(What ever I have written here is based on knowledge of astrology based on Hindu and Western Astrology. The reader is advised to seek the help of a professional for remedies).

Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:42:30 +0530
Tips for good sales pitch

Anupama Nair

 

In today’s world, call centers and sales over phone is a very common thing. From credit, cards, loans, real estate and insurance, you name it you get sales call. Selling insurance over the phone can be a hard work and require great grit to continue after getting a not so desirable response. You will not be able to close a deal on every call. Some prospects will take a little more work to turn into buyers. However, with a little know-how and the assistance of modern technology, you can bump up your sales numbers.

 

Here are some tips:

 

Listen carefully and engage them

 

Every time you call a prospect or current client listen carefully for new opportunities. Ask questions about their hobbies like do they need motorcycle insurance and if they have any children, would it be beneficial to mention life insurance? Do they have investment properties? By giving them time to talk and asking open-ended questions, ‘you’ll have the opportunity to address their concerns. It will also help in engaging them instead of pitching them for the entirety of the call. You also want to pay attention to clues about what will affect their purchase decisions. Not all prospects are looking for the lowest price. Some are more concerned with ratings or current technology options. Consider taking notes during the conversation as you likely ‘won’t remember everything.

 

Avoid jargon and slang

 

It’s not entertaining to be speaking with a salesperson who is talking in another language. Save the industry-specific jargon to conversations with your colleagues and speak only in terms buyers can understand. Use professional language and avoid slang when calling a possible client. If it were an in-person meeting, you would be in business casual attire at the minimum, present yourself with the same decorum over the phone to boost your credibility. People want to buy from intelligent and confident individuals.

 

Be prepared for the call

 

You need to practice your pitch, understand where you stand against competitors, read everything you can get your hands on about sales, and ask more experienced insurance salespeople for advice.

 

Establish yourself as an expert

 

When you’re selling insurance over the phone, it’s crucial to establish credibility and authority. Your potential clients need to know that they’re purchasing from an expert who can provide all the information they need. Your credibility as an expert particularly applies to selling life insurance. It’s a big decision, so people want to buy from someone they can trust and who will take their best interest into consideration when creating an offer. 

 

Build rapport with your prospect

 

The first step towards establishing trust is building rapport and creating a comfortable environment that allows potential clients to open up, voice all of their concerns, and be sincere about what they need. Always smile when you’re opening a call because even though your prospects can’t see you, they can hear your smiling voice. As a result, you’ll come off as welcoming and friendly, and your prospects will feel relaxed.

Break the ice with small talk and by asking something along the lines of “How’s your day going?” This will humanize your approach and your prospects won’t be under the impression that they’re talking to a chatbot. Also, when your prospect is talking, let them know that you’re listening by using so-called verbal nods – I see, ah, right, mhm, etc.

 

Never give up

 

You may be able to sell some insurance policies in one call be prepared for a second or third call. Your prospect may want to do some research to compare your rates, they may need to consult with their spouse, or they may not trust you after one call. ‘Don’t take it personally, but be persistent. If you get a hard “no” ask if you can call again at their next renewal date.

 

Be organized

 

Have everything you need to make the sale available at your fingertips. ‘It’s a good idea to open any relevant files you might need before dialing, so ‘you’re not fumbling around searching for documents during the call. Underwriting guidelines are an important one ‘you’ll want to have easily accessible.

 

Script your pitch

 

Have a written script of what you need to say to your prospects. You can change the script around to match the tone of your contact once ‘you’re on the phone, but know your pitch so you can add inflections into your voice and not sound like a monotone recording.

 

Create a backup closing statement

 

Is your prospect still on the fence? Have a “backup” closing statement handy. It is ok ask if it’s okay to call again at their next renewal time or even if you can send them a comparison of quotes. Sometimes having a visual instead of just hearing the numbers gives the buyer a chance to understand the value of your services.

 

Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:28:46 +0530
History of Mutual Funds in India and the world

 

Anupama Nair

The mutual fund was born from a financial crisis that shattered Europe in the early 1770s.The British East India Company had borrowed heavily during the preceding years to support its ambitious colonial interests, particularly in America where there was a revolution in a few years. As expenses increased and revenue from colonial adventures decreased, the East India Company sought a bailout in 1772 from the already-shaken British treasury. It was the “original too big to fail corporation” and the repercussions were felt across the continent and across the world.

At the same time-period, the Dutch were facing their own challenges, expanding and exploring like the British and taking “copy-cat risks” in a pattern that had drawn parallels to the banking crisis that the world saw in 2008. Against this backdrop, a Dutch merchant, Adriaan van Ketwich, had the foresight to pool money from a number of subscribers to form an investment trust, which would be the world’s first mutual fund in 1774. The financial risk to the mainly small investors was spread by diversifying across a number of European countries and the American colonies, where investments were backed by income from plantations, that was an early version of today’s mortgage-backed securities.

Subscription to the closed-end fund, which Van Ketwich called “Eendragt Maakt Magt” or “unity creates strength”, was available to the public until all the 2,000 units were purchased. After that, participation in the fund was available only by buying shares from existing shareholders in the open market. The fund’s prospectus required an annual accounting, which investors could see if they requested. Two subsequent funds set up in The Netherlands increased the emphasis on diversification to reduce risk, escalating their appeal to even smaller investors with minimal capital.

Van Ketwich’s fund survived until 1824, but the vehicle he created is still a trademark of personal investing even after two centuries with around $ 27.86 trillion in global assets in July 2013. In Canada alone, mutual funds represent $ 1.43 trillion. The early mutual funds spread were of the closed-end variety, issuing a fixed number of shares. They spread from The Netherlands to England and France before heading to the U.S. in the 1890s.

The first modern-day mutual fund called the Massachusetts Investors Trust, was created on March 21, 1924. It was the first mutual fund with an open-end capitalization, allowing for the continuous issue and redemption of shares by the investment company. After just one year, the fund grew to $ 392,000 in assets from $ 50,000. The fund went public in 1928 and eventually became known as MFS Investment Management.

In 1932, the first Canadian fund, Canadian Investment Fund Ltd. (CIF), was established and by 1951 had assets of $ 51 million. It changed its name to Spectrum United Canadian Investment Fund in November 1996 and to CI Canadian Investment Fund in August 2002.

The growth of mutual funds and their impact on investing in general was epoch making and revolutionary. For the first time, ordinary investors with minimal capital could pool their resources in a professionally managed, diversified basket of investments, rather than going the more expensive route of buying individual stocks of varying risks. This was considered a “giant step in the democratization of investments for the common man”.

The first major sign of growth and popularity of mutual funds in Canada took place in the early 1960s when total assets doubled from $ 540 million in 1960 to more than $ 1 billion by the end of 1963. But the largest influx into mutual funds in Canada came during the 1990s when double-digit interest rates that had lured Canadians into investing with GICs tumbled and investors moved into investments with the potential for higher returns.

Interest rates and mutual fund sales had a direct association in the 1990s. In May 1990, the Bank of Canada, on which financial institutions base their interest rates, stood at one of its highest levels ever of 14.05%. From that point, the rate began a steady decline, hitting 6.81% in 1993 and 4.11% at the end of the year. As the bank rates fell, mutual fund sales surged, jumping 140% from the end of 1992 to the end of 1993 as strong markets sent assets climbing to almost $ 114.6 billion. The Bank rate dropped to 3.25% in January 1997 before slowly climbing to 5% in January 2000.

In 2008, global markets were rocked by a financial crisis, triggered by an over-extended housing crisis in the U.S. and was marked by financial sector collapses and bailouts similar to the European crisis in 1770s that spawned the original mutual fund. Canada escaped largely untouched compared to other countries, particularly the U.S., thanks to tighter mortgage rules and a regulated banking system. Canadian mutual funds survived, too, and after a brief downturn continue to thrive as a popular and valued savings device for Canadian investors.

The idea of pooling resources and spreading risk using closed-end investments found its way to the U.S. by the 1890s. The Boston Personal Property Trust, formed in 1893, was the first closed-end fund in the U.S. According to Collins Advisors, the investments were primarily in real estate and the vehicle might today be described as a hedge fund rather than a mutual fund.

The Indian mutual fund industry started in 1963 with the formation of the Unit Trust of India (UTI). It was a joint initiative by the Government of India (GOI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The history of mutual funds in India can be segregated into four distinct phases.

Currently, the industry has crossed a landmark of Rs 27 lakh crores AUM and stands at Rs 27,04,699 crore as on 30th November, 2019 while still having high-growth prospects. The recent regulations by SEBI namely on the re-categorization alongside changes in expense ratios and commission structure have helped the industry to grow by allowing fair competition while continuing to protect investors’ interests.

So, the Mutual Funds has a long and interesting history.

Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:22:01 +0530
Data Analytics in various Industries

Anupama Nair

Data analytics has been effective in solving many real-world problems and is being increasingly adopted across industries to power more intelligent and better-informed decision-making. With the increased use of computers for day-to-day business and personal operations, there is a huge demand for intelligent machines, that can learn human behavior and work patterns. So, data analytics becomes all the more important.

A study says that the global data science market is estimated to grow to USD 115 billion in 2023 with a CAGR of ~ 29%. A report by Deloitte Access Economics survey noted that a massive 76% percent of businesses have plans to increase their spend over the next two years on increasing their data analytic capabilities. Almost all industries can benefit from data science and analytics.

Retailers need to correctly forecast what their customers want and then provide the request. If it is not done, they will likely be left behind in the world of competition. Big data and analytics provide retailers the insights they need to keep their customers happy and be a return customer to their stores. A survey by IBM said that 62% of retail respondents claimed that insights provided by analytics and information provided them with competitive advantages.

There are many ways retailers can use big data and analytics to keep their shoppers coming back for more. For instance, retailers can use big data and analytics to create hyper-personal and relevant shopping experiences that make their customers highly satisfied and more prone to making purchase decisions.

The medical industry is using big data and analytics in a great way to improve health in a variety of ways. For instance, the use of wearable trackers to provide important information to physicians who can make use of the data to provide better care to their patients. Wearable trackers also provide information like whether the patient is taking his or her medication and following the right treatment plan.

The banking industry is generally not seen as one that uses technology a lot. However, this is slowly changing as bankers are beginning to increasingly use technology to drive their decision-making. The Bank of America in the US uses natural language processing and predictive analytics to create a virtual assistant called Erica to help customers view information on upcoming bills or view transaction histories. Erica, the virtual assistant, is also trained to get smarter with every transaction. India is not far behind. Today, most banks use chat bots, the most famous being EVA of HDFC Bank.

It is no surprise that construction companies are beginning to embrace data science and analytics in a big way. Construction companies track everything from the average time needed to complete tasks to materials-based expenses and everything in between. Big data is now being used in a big way in the construction industry to drive better decision-making.

Consumers now demand rich media in different formats as and when they want it on a variety of devices. ‘Collecting, analyzing, and utilizing’ these consumer insights is now a challenge that data science is stepping in to tackle. Data science is being used to leverage social media and mobile content and understand real-time, media content usage patterns. For example, Spotify, the on-demand music streaming service, in India uses Hadoop, which is a big data analytics to collect and analyze data from its millions of users to provide better music recommendations to individual users.

The increasing demand and supply of natural resources, such as oil, minerals, gas, metals, agricultural products, etc., has led to the generation of huge amounts of data that is complex, difficult to handle, and a prime candidate for big data analytics. The manufacturing industry also generates huge amounts of data that has so far gone unused.

Big data has many applications in the field of public services. Places where big data can be used include financial market analysis, health-related research, environmental protection, energy exploration, and fraud detection. One such specific example is the use of big data analytics by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to analyze large numbers of social disability claims that come in as unstructured data. Analytics is being used to rapidly process medical information and detect fraudulent or suspicious claims.

The term ‘Data Science’ was first coined in 2001 and it took less than two decades for it to become the phenomenon it is today. Finance was the first industry to understand the advantages of data science when no one could and used it to sift through and analyze large amounts of data and help companies reduce losses. Today, Data Science is a force to reckon with and almost all industries are trying to leverage it’s potential, and this number will only continue to increase as data science technology becomes more reliable and cost-effective. However, to capitalize on data science opportunities, you will need to understand industry-specific challenges, understand data characteristics of each industry, and match market needs with custom capabilities and solutions.

 

 

Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:14:20 +0530
Risk Management An introduction

 

Anupama Nair

In the financial world, “risk management is the process of identification, analysis, and acceptance or mitigation of uncertainty in investment decisions”. Fundamentally, risk management happens, when an investor or fund manager analyzes and attempts to measure the potential for losses in an investment, such as a ‘moral hazard’, and then takes the necessary action or inaction given the fund's investment objectives and tolerance to risk.

Risk never sleeps and will also not let you sleep -- risk management has never been more crucial than it is in today’s complex, and inter-connected markets. Market risk, counter-party risk, liquidity or operational risk, and portfolio risk management, whether you buy or sell, firms need a comprehensive solution with broad asset class coverage.

As we all know risk is inseparable from returns. Every investment involves at least some degree of risk, which is less in the case of a Government bond, or very high for something such as emerging-market equities or real estate in highly inflationary markets. Risk is measurable both in absolute and in relative terms. A solid understanding of risk in its different forms can help investors to better understand the opportunities, trade-offs, and costs involved with different investment approaches.

Risk management occurs everywhere in the world of finance. It occurs when an investor buys Government bonds instead of corporate bonds, or when a fund manager hedges his currency exposure with currency derivatives, and when a bank performs a credit check on an individual before issuing a personal line of credit. Stockbrokers use financial instruments like options and futures, and money managers use strategies like portfolio diversification, asset allocation and position sizing to mitigate or effectively manage risk.

We tend to think of ‘risk’ in predominantly negative terms. However, in the investment world, risk is necessary and inseparable from desirable performance. A common definition of investment risk is an ‘aberration from an expected outcome’. We can express this aberration in absolute terms or relative to something else, like a market benchmark. When that deviation may be positive or negative, investment professionals generally accept the idea that such deviation implies some degree of the intended outcome for your investments. Thus, to achieve higher returns one needs to accept the greater risk. It is also a generally accepted idea that increased risk comes in the form of increased volatility. While investment professionals constantly seek and occasionally find ways to reduce such volatility, there is no strong pact among them on how it's best done.

Consolidate all your risk calculations in one place with a complete risk analytics and reporting solution designed for all risk managers, from the chief risk officer to the risk analyst. With all the standard risk measures you need and integrated data and analytics, our solutions can keep you compliant  and competitive.

 

Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:12:07 +0530
The brave heart who fought against the Dutch and Portuguese

 

Anupama Nair

I had written previously how along with the Portuguese, and the Dutch East India Company also had designs on India. However, their stay in India was short lived due to this brave king of Travancore called Mathanda Varma I and Abakka Chowta.

To narrate her story, I need to take you to the 15th century. People in those days thought there were only three continents – Asia, Europe and Africa. Before, 1553 there was trade done between Asia and Europe, and Silk Route existed via Constantinople. The Arabs took goods from the East and sold it to the Europeans. Dacca Muslin, Indian Spices and silk were used by the Royal families of Europe. However, the capture of Constantinople by Turks in 1453 destroyed the trade route. The result of this event was imperialism and most of America, Asia, New Zealand and Australia came under the rule of European countries. When the trade route was blocked, the European royal families, who were addicted to Dacca Muslin, spices and silk were forced to find an alternate trade route. Many sailors set on a long journey through the Atlantic to come to India then known as the “golden bird”.

In the past India was invaded many times by invaders from time immemorial through the Himalayan passes. Did you know the first invader who invaded India through the ocean was the Portuguese? Vasco Da Gama reached Calicut in 1499. During the early part of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese were successfully carrying out trade in coastal India. However, with time their imperialist motives became clear and slowly by slowly, they began their reign of terror. If you thought Mughals, Khiljis or the British were cruel, Portuguese will emerge the winners. Goa and Brazil were the main victims. Much of the trade carried on in the Western coast of India was taxed by the Portuguese who looked to advance upon Ullal, near Mangalore Port, (Karnataka). That is how they came to face the brave queen Abbakka Chowta their nemesis. 

She was the first Tulluva queen of Ullal and  belonged to the  Chowta dynasty who ruled over parts of coastal Karnataka with the capital city Puttige.  Ullal was their subsidiary capital and was the capital of the Chowta king Thirumala Raya III who was the vassal of the Vijayanagar kingdom. The Chowtas were Jain kings who had originally migrated to Tulu Nadu (a province consisting of present-day Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka, portions of Udupi and Kasargod district in Kerala) from Gujarat in the 12th century.

As the Chowtas followed the matrilineal system, the king’s heir was his niece, Abbakka. She was a brave princess who had been trained in archery, cavalry, military strategy, and all other skills a young princess needed. When she became the queen of Ullal, she was aware of the threat posed by the Portuguese and was determined to resist it with all power she had. Before his death, Thirumala Raya III  married Abbakka with Lakshmappa Bangaraja, the ruler of Mangalore. She was so independent that even after her marriage she stayed in Ullal along with her three children. The marriage broke down when Bangaraja negotiated with the enemy of her kingdom the Portuguese. They wanted to keep control over trade in the Indian Ocean by using sailing permits. “In true colonial style, what the Portuguese could not achieve through bullying, they did through strength”, was the view of the historians. 

A friction with the Portuguese was inevitable and Ullal was strategically important as a port as it had a thriving spice trade. By this time, the Portuguese were alarmed about Rani Abbakka’s bravery inspiring other rulers. When threats failed, they resorted to treachery. A series of edicts were passed to make any alliance with the defiant queen illegal. Her ex-husband, Bangaraja of Mangalore, was also warned against sending any aid to Ullal.

Her first battle with the Portuguese was in 1555, when Admiral Dom Álvaro da Silveira and his army arrived with imperialistic designs in Ullal. In 1568, the Portuguese Viceroy Antony D’ Noronha sent Joao Peixoto with a fleet of soldiers. He however, managed to capture Ullal and enter the palace. Abbakka, managed to escape and took shelter in a mosque. She, along with 500 soldiers, killed Peixoto and seventy troops in the night. Historians said “the invaders were forced to flee to their ships in disgrace”.

This brave queen’s  words “save the motherland. Fight them on land and the sea. Fight them on the streets and the beaches. Push them back to the waters”, reverberated through the airstreams as she and her soldiers fired against the Portuguese ships. Many of the ships in the Portuguese fleet were burnt that night, but unfortunately Rani Abbakka was wounded in the crossfire and was captured with the help of  her own chieftains. The brave queen passed away in captivity, but her legacy will never die. After her death, her  brave daughters continued  the fight against the Portuguese. As a result, Portuguese rule was confined only in Goa, and were finally forced to leave in 1961.

It can be rightly said Rani Abbakka was the main thorn in the Portuguese’ side throughout her reign despite their superior military power. Thanks to the ultra-left influenced curriculum she remains buried in the sands of time. However, she still lives on in the folk culture of the Dakshin Kannada region and in the recent years, her story gained popularity across the country. There is an annual celebration in her memory, called “Veera Rani Abbakka Utsava” held in Karnataka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma  was also known as the "Maker of Modern Travancore". He was ruler of the Indian kingdom of Travancore previously called Venadu. He was the founder of the Travancore dynasty

Marthanda Varma is famous for defeating Dutch East India Company  at the Battle of Colachel in 1741. He then adopted a European mode of discipline for his army and expanded his kingdom northward(to what became the modern state of Travancore. He built a sizeable army of about 50,000 men, as part of designing an "elaborate and well-organized" war machine, with the role of the Nair nobility and fortified the northern boundary of his kingdom His alliance in 1757 with the ruler of Cochin, against the northern Kingdom of Calicut, enabled the kingdom of Kochi to survive.

Travancore under Marthanda Varma made a deliberate attempt to consolidate its power by the use of Indian Ocean trade. It was the policy of Marthanda Varma to offer assistance to Syrian Christian traders to limit the European involvement in the Indian ocean. The main good sold was  black pepper, but other goods also came to be defined as ‘royal monopoly items’ that required a license for trade between the 1740s and the 1780s. Eventually, the kingdom of Travancore challenged Dutch blockade of the Kerala coast.[4]

Trivandrum became a prominent city in Kerala under Marthanda Varma. He undertook many irrigational works, built roads and canals for communication and gave active encouragement to foreign trade.  In January, 1750, Marthanda Varma decided to ‘donate’ his kingdom to Lord Padmanabha or Vishnu and thereafter ruled as the deity's Sri Padmanabha Dasa. Even today the king of Travancore calls himself Sri Padmanabha Dasa. Marthanda Varma's policies were continued in large measure by his successor, Rama Varma or Dharma Raja. Travancore then launched a series of raids on the Dutch forts in the area and captured them all. In retaliation, a Dutch artillery force landed at Colachel from Ceylon and conquered up to Kottar. The Dutch forces then advanced against Kalkulam, Travancore's capital. Marthanda Varma, who was then in the north of his state promptly marched his forces to the south and arrived at Kalkulam just in time to avoid a defeat

In the following battle at Colachel the Travancore forces won a great victory over the Dutch. More than twenty Dutch soldiers were taken as prisoners of war from Colachel. Among them was Eustachius de Lannoy, whose bravery came under the attention of the king. Eustachius de Lannoy, commonly known in Travancore as the 'Valiya Kappittan'  was entrusted with the organization and drilling of a special regiment, which he did to the "entire satisfaction of the king". De Lannoy was raised to the rank of general in Travancore army and proved to be of considerable service to Marthanda Varma in subsequent battles.

Following the expulsion of the Dutch, Marthanda Varma now turned his attention once again towards Kayamkulam. In 1742, Travancore forces attacked Kayamkulam and fought the Kayamkulam army led by Achuta Warrier and chiefs from Valiya Kakkanadu Madhom. Although Travancore was defeated in this battle, Marthanada Varma reinforced his army with cavalry brought in from Tirunelveli before mounting an attack on Kayamkulam, which led to the final defeat of the chiefdom. A treaty known as the Treaty of Mannar (1742) was signed, under which Kayamkulam became a tributary of the Kingdom of Travancore. However, in 1746, the Kayamkulam chief once again showed signs of rebellion and when his ‘conspiracies’ with the northern chiefdoms such as KottayamChanganassery, Cochin and Ambalapuzha came to the attention of Marthanda Varma. Kayamkulam was annexed by a final battle in which the chief fled to Cochin and a branch of the family settled near Charamood known as "Moothantedom". The kingdom of Travancore now extended from Kanyakumari to Kayamkulam in the north. Following this, Ambalapuzha, Kottayam and Changanassery were also annexed to Travancore by 1753. The principality of Meenachil was also annexed.

The ascension of Travancore seemed to have been quicker around 1749. Marthanda Varma had declared a state monopoly on pepper in Travancore in 1743, thereby delivered a serious blow to the commerce of the Dutch.  The Treaty of Mavelikkara completely destroyed the Dutch. Thereafter, "considerable spice producing lands came under direct royal control, while those merchants participating in illegal trade in spices stood in danger of being executed".

If only we had shown such resistance to the British, we would not have been ruled for 190 years!

 

 

Fri, 23 Sep 2022 14:05:57 +0530
Tips to have shiny healthy and bouncy hair

 

Anupama Nair

When I see the advertisement of shampoos and hair oil, I am mesmerized by the beauty of the long shimmering bouncy hair of the models, I often ask the question is it possible? Is it a farfetched dream? However, if hair experts are to be believed, the dream of a healthy hair can be turned into reality with proper hair care. While genetics play a key role, your diet, the weather, pollution, and your overall approach to hair care are all critical to maintaining your crowning glory.

Here are some tips to ensure to have healthy hair:

  • Wash your hair regularly as it ensures that your scalp and hair is free of dirt and excess oil
  • Use chemical free shampoos
  • Use good-quality conditioner
  • Dry your hair naturally
  • Oil your hair properly
  • Use A Wide-toothed Comb
  • Style Your Hair Naturally
  • Trim Your Hair Regularly.
  • Pump up the protein. At least eat 45gm of protein a day
  • Eat food containing zinc like vegetables and fruits
  • Increase your intake of Omega 3 fatty acids
  • “Know thy hair” – whether it is dry, oily, etc.,
  • Harsh shampoo, hair treatments, styling products, and excessive brushing contribute most to poor hair health.
  • Some prescription drugs cause hair fall

Now I am going to write about what no to do:

  • Hot showers
  • Use of excessive chemicals
  • Stressful life
  • Hairstyling products

I for one will start using these health tips to have a good healthy hair.

 

 

Thu, 22 Sep 2022 14:59:01 +0530
The great children of Bharat Ma who stopped Islamic Terror

 

Anupama Nair

I had written about the degradation of Indian culture, tradition, religion after the mlechas set up their rule. Now I am writing about the brave sons and daughters of Bhatrat Ma who fought against these tyrants. Let me start with Naiki Devi

In the year 1173, the young Ghurid prince, Muhammad Shahabuddin Gori had just managed to conquer the Ghaznavids in Afghanistan, and he did something which no other king could do, -- the troops of Alexander the Great, the Persians, the Arabs and even Mahmud of Ghazni could not — conduct successful invasion deep into the heart of the Indian Subcontinent. Muhammad Ghori first invaded Multan and the fortress of Uch. After achieving victories in Multan and Uch, he eyed the Rajputana and Gujarat. Can you guess his target? -- the prosperous and well-fortified town of Anhilwara Patan (Gujarat). It was established by Vanraj of the Chapotkata dynasty in the 8th century, and Anhilwara Patan was the capital of the Chalukya (also known as the Solankis) who ousted the Chapotkatas.

Gori was confident he would defeat the kingdom as he assumed a mere woman and her child would not provide much resistance. But unfortunately for him , he learnt a lesson-- never to underestimate the great valor of a young Indian queen. Unconcerned about the prospect of Ghori’s impending attack, she took command of the Chalukyan army and threw herself into organizing a well-planned opposition to the invading army. Nayaki Devi now was thinking of a strategy to defeat the enemy. She even cleverly chose the site of the battle -- the hilly passes of Gadaraghatta at the foot of Mount Abu near the village of Kasahrada, (Kyara in Sirohi district which is 65 km away from Anahilavada). The narrow passes gained were a huge advantage and surprisingly, the invading army was at great disadvantage. The Chaulukyan army was headed by Nayaki Devi with the boy-king sitting on her lap. Her army and the troop of elephants crushed the massive army, which were famous for defeating the mighty Sultans of Multan. Nayaki Devi killed several enemy soldiers, and Ghori the coward he was, fled with a handful of bodyguards. The battle was known as Battle of Kasahrada.

Kurma Devi was the brave daughter of a braver mother. She was a witness to her mother defeating the cruel invader Ghori. She was married to Samar Singh, the Rawal of Chittorgarh, who had two wives. His first wife was Prithabai who was the sister of one of  India’s greatest sons – Prithvi Raj Chauhan and the other wife was Kurma Devi. Prithvi Raj Chauhan fought Muhammad Ghori, and was martyred, but killed Ghori too.

Unfortunately, Samar Singh and his eldest son were killed in the Second  Battle Of Tarain (1191-92 AD) that was fought between Prithvi Raj Chauhan and Muhammad Ghori. After the war Ghori returned to Multan and left Qutub-ud-din Aibak in charge of Delhi. Now let us talk about Quṭub-ud-Dīn Aibak who was the founder of the Mamluk dynasty and the first sultan of the Delhi Sultanate. He was born in Turkistan and was a slave. When his master died, he was sold by his master’s son to Muhammad of Gori, who made him the Amir-i-Akhur (Master of Slaves). Over the years, he joined Gori’s military and rose to become the general of Muhammad of Gori.

Kurma Devi had to look after her young son Karan Singh. After a couple of years, Kurma Devi led her army with nine other kings and eleven Rawats, in her march towards Delhi to seek revenge against the man who had killed her husband, and kill him -- Qutub-ud-Din Aibak. Kurma Devi and her army encountered Qutub-ud-Din Aibak and his army near the old Amber Fort. She herself confronted Aibak and challenged him in a duel. What a brave woman to challenge a sultan! In the duel, this brave queen managed to bury her sword deep into Qutub-ud-Din’s flesh, and he was so severely wounded that he tumbled from his horse. Aibak’s army believed he was dead, and the cowards that they were, instead of fighting back they fled from the battlefield. Kurma Devi thought that she had avenged the death of her dead husband with the death of Qutub-ud-din and she returned to Chittorgarh.

Now I am going to write about the brave Ratan Singh who was the Rana of Mewar. According to Jayasi, she was the daughter of the king of Singhal or Sri Lanka. She was famous for her beauty and her archery skills. She had a talking parrot Hiraman, and the king hated their friendship, So, the parrot was ordered to be executed. However, it somehow escaped and managed to reach the palace of the king of Mewar Rana Ratan Singh. The parrot praised the beauty of Rani Padmavati and Rana Ratan Singh who was enchanted by her beauty was determined to marry her. He reached Singhal and he married her after he fulfilled her vow of defeating her in a duel. However, his first wife Nagmati refused to accept her.

There was a Brahmin courtier in the court of Ratan Singh called Raghav Chetan. He was banished from the kingdom by Ratan Singh for fraud. Raghav reached Delhi to the court of the cruel and lusty Sultan Allaudin Khilji. He praised the beauty of Rani Padmavati and the womanizer that he was, Allaudin decided to obtain her and hence, attacked Chittor. However, he failed to conquer Chittor and offered a fake peace treaty to Ratan Singh and deceitfully captured him. However, a sequence of events followed and the brave Rana was released from his captivity by his loyal men, Gora and Badal who entered the fort by disguising as Rani Padmavati while they sat inside the palanquin. In a battle Rana Ratan Singh was martyred and Allaudin then attacked Chittor. The brave women of Chittor led by Padmavati committed Jauhar to save their honor from the lusty Islamic invaders.

Many centuries later Bharat was invaded by the Mughals who has the distinction of the most tyrannical rulers in mankind. It was Rana Sanga who managed to save his country was martyred. Rana Sanga was born to the Sisodia king Rana Raimal and his queen Ratan Kunwar. After he became the king, Sanga reunited the warring Rajput clans through diplomacy and marital alliances. According to folklores, Sanga had fought one hundred battles and lost only once. In various struggle he lost his wrist and was crippled.  He also removed the Jaziya tax which was earlier imposed by the Sultans who ruled India. He was the last independent Hindu king of Northern India to control a significant territory and contemporary texts described him as the “Hindu Emperor”.

After conquering Malwa, Sanga turned his attention towards North Eastern Rajasthan which was then under the control of an ally of  the Khillji’s Ibrahim Lodi of Delhi. This battle between Lodi and Sanga is called the Battle of Khanwa. It was the second major battle fought in modern-day India, after the Battle of Panipat. After hearing the news of Sanga attacking his territory, Lodi prepared an army and marched against Mewar in 1517. There was a fierce battle and the army of Lodi suffered serious injury and the cowards they were, they fled. One Lodi prince was captured and imprisoned. The brave Rana Sanga lost an arm by a sword cut, and an arrow made him lame for life.

On 21 April 1526, the Babur invaded India for the fifth time and defeated Ibrahim Lodhi in the First Battle of Panipat and executed him. After the battle, Sanga unified several Rajput clans for the first time since Prithvi Raj Chauhan, and built an army of 100,000 Rajput soldiers and proceeded to Agra. The Mughals managed to capture the Bayana Fort and a major clash took place in Bayana in 1527 in which Mughal forces led by Chin Timur Khan were defeated by Rajput forces led by Prithvi Raj Kachwaha and later by Rana Sanga  himself. The defeat was the last of Rana Sanga success.

The Mughals were terrified by Rajput valor and asked Babur to leave for Kabul. This is the main difference between Indian warriors and the foreigners from Muhammad Ghori as we fight till the last breath, while these cowards flee at the time of danger. In the battle fought at Khanwa, the Mughal were victorious due to their cannons, matchlocks and other firearms. Following his victory, Babur ordered a tower of enemy skulls to be erected, a practice followed by his ancestor Taimur the Lame, against his adversaries, irrespective of their religious beliefs. While he was preparing to wage another war against Babur, he was poisoned by his own nobles who did not want another battle. He died in Kalpi in 1528,  and was succeeded by his son Ratan Singh II.

We should appreciate such great souls who gave up their lives for their motherland.

 

 

 

 

Thu, 22 Sep 2022 14:55:28 +0530
Colonial Rule Portuguese and Dutch an overview

 

Anupama Nair

Long after the decline of the Roman Empire's maritime trade with India, nearly after a thousand years, the Portuguese were the next Europeans to arrive for the purpose of trade. Vasco da Gama requested permission to leave a person in charge of the merchandise he could not sell however, his request was refused, and the king Zamorin insisted that he should pay customs duty like any other trader, which strained their relations. The ruler of the Kingdom of Tanur, who was a vassal to the Zamorin of Calicut, helped  the Portuguese, against his overlord at Calicut As a result, the Kingdom of Tanur became one of the earliest Portuguese Colonies in India.  However, the Tanur forces under the king fought for the Zamorin of Calicut in the Battle of Cochin in 1504. However, the allegiance of the Muslims in Tanur was still with the Zamorin of Calicut. The Portuguese took advantage of the rivalry between the Zamorin and the Raja of Kochi and hence allied with Kochi.

When Francisco de Almeida was appointed as Viceroy of Portuguese India in 1505, his headquarters was established at  Fort Emmanuel rather than in Calicut. During his reign, the Portuguese managed to dominate relations with Kochi and established a few fortresses on the Malabar Coast. The Portuguese suffered setbacks from attacks by Zamorin forces in South Malabar; especially from naval attacks under the leadership of Kunjali Marakkar, which compelled them to seek a treaty. Kunjali Marakkar was credited with organizing the first naval defense of the Indian coast. In 1571, the Portuguese were defeated by the Zamorin forces in the Battle at Chaliyam Fort.

Even though their presence in India initially started in 1498, their colonial rule lasted only from 1505 until 1961. The Portuguese Empire established the first European trading center at Quilon in 1502. It is believed that the colonial era in India started with the establishment of this Portuguese trading center at Quilon. In 1505, King Manuel I of Portugal appointed Dom Francisco de Almeida as the first Portuguese viceroy in India, followed in 1509 by Dom Afonso de Albuquerque.

Almeida becomes the first Portuguese viceroy to reach Bombay. He defeated a joint fleet of the Sultanate of Egypt, the Ottoman Empire, the Zamorin of Calicut and the Sultan of Gujarat, with the naval support he received from the Republic of Venice and the Republic of Ragusa. Francisco de Almeida's called Bombay as  ‘Bombia’ which meant good bay. However, the Portuguese paid their first visit to the islands on 21 January 1509, when they landed at Mahim after capturing a Gujarat barge in the Mahim creek. After a series of attacks by the Gujarat Sultanate, the islands were recaptured by Sultan Bahadur Shah. The Portuguese acquired the seven islands from the Sultan of Gujarat in 1534 in exchange for military support.

Bahadur Shah had grown anxious of the power of the Mughal emperor Humayun and he was forced to sign the Treaty of Bassein with the Portuguese on 23 December 1534. According to the treaty, the islands of Mumbai and Bassein were offered to the Portuguese. Bassein and the seven islands were surrendered later by a Treaty of Peace and Commerce between Bahadur Shah and the Viceroy of the Portuguese India, Nuno da Cunha, on 25th October 1535, ending the Islamic rule in Mumbai.

There was then a twist in the story. In 1580, Spain conquered Portugal and it opened the doors of the country to other European powers like the Dutch and the British. The Dutch arrived first, and later the British. The merchants of the East India Company arrived in Bombay in November 1583, and toured through Bassein, Thane, and Chaul. The Battle of Swally was fought between the British and the Portuguese for an ambitious scheme for the construction of a seawall in Surat in 1612 for the possession of Bombay.  Castella de Aguada or the Fort of the Waterpoint was built by the Portuguese at Bandra in 1640, as a watchtower dominating the Mahim Bay, the Arabian Sea and the southern island of Mahim. 

Then Portuguese King John IV gave Bombay as a dowry for the marriage treaty of Charles II of England and Catherine of Portugal on 8 May 1661. The British Crown sold Bombay to the East India Company in 1668 for a mere sum of ten pounds or Rs. 1,48,000 today. So, Portuguese had to turn their attention to Goa or Gomantak. In 1510, Albuquerque conquered the city of Goa, and used the policy of marrying Portuguese soldiers and sailors with local Indian girls, and the consequence of which was a great miscegenation in Goa and other parts of Asia, Portuguese were infamous for  the brutal Goa Inquisition. When India became Independent in 1947, Portuguese refused to leave Goa and were forced by India Army to leave Goa in 1961.

The Dutch East India Company established trading posts along different parts of the Indian coast. For some time, they controlled the Malabar, Cochin, Quilon, Cannanore, Kundapura,  Surat, Golconda,  and Ceylon. They conquered Ceylon from the Portuguese. The Dutch also established trading stations in the kingdom of Travancore and coastal Tamil Nadu as well as at Rajshahi and Murshidabad. However, their expansion into India was halted, after their defeat in the Battle of Colachel by the Kingdom of Travancore, during the Travancore-Dutch War. The Dutch never recovered from the defeat and no longer posed a large colonial threat to India. They had the Dutch East Indies or Indonesia.

Following the Portuguese and the Dutch, the French also established trading bases in India. Their first establishment was in Pondicherry on the Coromandel Coast in southeastern India in 1674. Many French settlements were made in Chandernagore in Bengal, in 1688, Yanam in Andhra Pradesh in 1723, Mahe in 1725, and Karaikal in 1739. The French were constantly in conflict with the Dutch and later on mainly with the British East India Company in India. At the zenith of French power in the mid-18th century, the French occupied large areas of southern India. In the years  between 1744 and 1761, the British and the French repeatedly attacked and conquered each other's forts and towns in southeastern India and in Bengal in the northeast. After some initial successes of the French, the British decisively defeated the French in Bengal in the Battle of Plassey in 1757 and in the southeast in 1761 in the Battle of Wandiwash, after which the British East India Company was the supreme military and political power in southern India as well as in Bengal. In the following decades, it gradually increased the size of the territories under its control. The colonies of Pondicherry, Karaikal, Yanam, Mahe, and Chandernagore were returned to France in 1816 and were integrated with the Republic of India in 1954.

Next I will be writing about the Supremacy of the British in India as well as other parts of the world as they were called “empire where the sun never sets”. It pains me to see my great country degraded like this.

Thu, 22 Sep 2022 14:51:47 +0530
Food to eat for a healthy body

 

Anupama Nair

We humans need a wide range of nutrients to lead a healthy and active life. The question is how to provide these nutrients? Good nutrition or proper intake of food in relation to the body’s dietary needs is required. An adequate, well-balanced diet combined with regular exercise is a sure sign of good health. Poor nutrition can lead to reduced immunity, increased susceptibility to disease, impaired physical and mental development, and reduced productivity.

 

A healthy and natural diet consumed throughout our life helps in preventing malnutrition in all its forms as well as wide range of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and conditions. But rapid urbanization and globalization, increased consumption of processed foods and changing lifestyles has led to a shift in dietary patterns.

People are consuming more foods high in energy, fats, free sugars or salt, and many do not eat enough fruits, vegetables and dietary fibers such as whole grains. So, these factors contribute to an imbalanced eating habit. A balanced and healthy diet will vary depending on the individual needs like age, gender, lifestyle, degree of physical activity, cultural context, locally available foods and dietary customs but the basic principles of what constitute a healthy diet remain the same.

 

It is easy to talk about a balanced diet. What is balanced diet? A balanced diet is one which contains variety of foods in such quantities and proportion that the need of all nutrients is adequately met for maintaining health, vitality and general wellbeing and makes a small provision for extra nutrients to withstand short duration of leanness.

The major food issues of concern are insufficient or imbalanced intake of foods or nutrients.  One of the most common nutritional problems of public health importance in India are low birth weight, protein energy malnutrition in children, chronic energy deficiency in adults, micronutrient malnutrition and diet related non-communicable diseases. Health and nutrition are the most important contributory factors for human resource development in the country.

 

Healthy dietary practices begin very early in life. Recent evidences indicate that under nutrition in uterus  may set the pace for diet-related chronic diseases in later life. Breast-feeding promotes healthy growth and improves cognitive development, and may have longer-term health benefits, like reducing the risk of becoming overweight or obese and developing NCDs later in life. Since a healthy diet consists of different kinds of foods, the emphasis has been shifted from nutrient orientation to the food-based approach.

 

Foods can be categorized according to the function as:

 

  • Energy rich foods (Carbohydrates and fats)-whole grain cereals, millets, vegetable oils, ghee, nuts and oilseeds and sugars.
  • Body building foods (Proteins)- Pulses, nuts and oilseeds, milk and milk products, meat, fish, poultry.
  • Protective foods (Vitamins and minerals) - Green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, fruits, eggs, milk and milk products and flesh foods.

 

Let us now talk about nutrition in various stages of life. However, the requirement is different for every individual from an  infant, growing child, grown man or pregnant or lactating women and elderly people. The diet varies from person to person depending upon various factors like age, gender, physical activity, nutritional requirement during different physiological stages of the body and other various factors. Body weights and heights of children reflect their state of physical growth and development, while weights and heights of adults represent steps taken towards good health.

 

Diet for an Infant:

 

If you have an infant or toddler, make sure that they get enough nutrition in their growing years of age. Babies should be exclusively breast-fed for the first six months of life. Breast feeding should be started within an hour after delivery and do not discard first milk  called colostrum, as it boosts the immunity of the baby and protects the baby from several infections. Exclusive breast-feeding ensures safe nutrition to the infant thereby reducing the risk of infections and also helps in the overall development of the baby   Breast-milk is the most natural and wholesome food for growth and healthy development of infants.  Breast–fed infants do not need additional water.  After six months, you can feed your baby with complementary foods while continuing to breast-feed. Complementary food should be rich in nutrients. These complementary foods can be prepared at home from commonly used food materials such as cereals, pulses, nuts and oilseeds, oils, sugar and jaggery. You can feed your baby to variety of soft foods like potatoes, porridge, cereals, or even eggs. 

 

Infants cannot eat large quantities of food at a single time so they should be fed small quantities at frequent intervals (3-4 times a day). Also, the food should be of semi-solid consistency so that the infants can swallow it easily.  A balanced diet is the key to protect your child against nutritional deficiencies. Protein Energy Malnutrition more commonly affects young children till the age of 5. Malnutrition is defined as "a state of poor nutrition caused by insufficient or unbalanced diet".

 

Diet for a Growing Child:

 

Children who eat a balanced diet lay the foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle and this further lowers the risk of long-term health issues. Childhood is the most critical time for growth as well as for development of the mind and to fight infections. So, it is very essential that the children get a good dose of energy, proteins, vitamins and minerals. It is very important to see that hygienic practices are followed while preparing and feeding the complementary food to the child, otherwise, it might lead to diarrhea. A well formulated balanced diet is necessary for children and adolescents to achieve optimum growth and boost their immunity. Balanced Diet, playing outdoors, physical activities of the child are essential for optimum body composition and to reduce the risk of diet related chronic conditions later in life and to prevent any sort of vitamin deficiency.  Adolescence has various other factors attached to it: rapid increase in height and weight, hormonal changes and mood swings.

 

Development of bone mass is going on during this period so inclusion of dairy products milk, cheese, yoghurt and vegetables like spinach, broccoli and celery which are rich in calcium is a must. Children require good amount of carbohydrates and fats for energy. Therefore, it is very essential to give them a daily intake of energy rich foods as whole grains (wheat, brown rice), nuts, vegetable oils, vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruits like banana.

 

In case of children, proteins are essentials for muscle building, repair and growth and building antibodies. So, a diet which has meat, eggs, fish and dairy products are needed. A child needs vitamins for the body to function properly and to boost the immune system. A variety of fruits and vegetables of different colors should be added in the child’s food. Vitamin A is essential for vision and a deficiency of the same can lead to night blindness (difficulty in seeing in night). Dark green leafy vegetables, yellow, orange-colored vegetables and fruits such as carrots, papaya, mangoes are good sources of Vitamin A.

 

Vitamin D helps in bone growth and development and it is essential for absorption of calcium. Children get most of their Vitamin D from sunlight and a small amount from some food items like fish oils, fatty fish, mushrooms, cheese and egg yolks.

Teenage girls experience more physiological changes and psychological stress than boys because of onset of menarche or onset of menstruation .Therefore, teenage girls should eat diet which is rich in both vitamins as well as minerals to prevent anemia.

Now a days, children are more inclined towards junk food but it is very important to motivate your kids in teenage to eat nutrition rich foods. Many children have poor eating habits, which can lead to various long-term health complications, such as obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. As a parent, keep making frequent changes in their menu to avoid boredom of eating the same food every day.  Adolescence is the most vulnerable stage for developing bad food habits as well as bad habits like smoking, chewing tobacco or drinking alcohol should be avoided. In addition to consumption of a nutritious well-balanced diet, appropriate lifestyle practices and involvement in outdoor activities such as games or sports should be encouraged among children as well as adolescents. Regular physical exercises increase strength and stamina, and are necessary for good health and well-being of the teenager.

 

Thu, 22 Sep 2022 14:47:33 +0530
How did dinosaurs become extinct

 

Anupama Nair

What is a dinosaur? It is the common name given to a group of reptiles, often very large, that first appeared nearly 250 million years ago i.e., the beginning of the Middle Triassic Epoch and flourished across the world  for nearly 180 million years. Unfortunately, majority of them died by the end of the Cretaceous Period, about 66 million years ago, but researches on the topic revel that one lineage evolved into birds about 155 million years ago. The Triassic  is a geologic period  which began 50.6 million years ago, while the Cretaceous Period began 145.0 million years ago and ended 66 million years ago.

The name dinosaur was  derived from the Greek words deinos which meant  “terrible” or “fearfully great” and sauros  which meant reptile” or “lizard”. The great English scientist Richard Owen used  the formal term ‘Dinosauria’ in 1842 to include three giant extinct animals  i.e., MegalosaurusIguanodon, and Hylaeosaurus and were represented by the large fossilized bones that had been unearthed at several locations in southern England during the early part of the 19th century. Owen was of the belief that these reptiles were far different from other known reptiles found in the present and the past as they were large but  terrestrial, unlike the aquatic ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs that were already known. They had five vertebrae in their hips, whereas most known reptiles had  only two; and, rather than holding their limbs sprawled out to the side similar to lizards, dinosaurs held their limbs under the body in columnar fashion, like other large mammals. The question is where they reptiles or mammals?

They were originally used for just a handful of incomplete specimens, the clade Dinosauria now includes more than 800 generic names and at least 1,000 species, with new names being added to the roster every year as the result of scientific discoveries around the world. However, not all of these names are valid. A great many of them have been based on fragmentary or incomplete material that may actually have come from two or more different dinosaurs. In addition, their bones have sometimes been mistaken as dinosaurs when they are not.

There is a misunderstanding commonly described in popular books and media that all the dinosaurs became extinct at the same time and apparently quite suddenly at the end of the Cretaceous Period. This is not true, because birds are a living branch of dinosaurian lineage. The best records, which are almost exclusively from North America, show that dinosaurs were already in decline during the latest portion of the Cretaceous. The causes of this decline are complex and difficult to attribute to a single source. In order to understand extinction, it is necessary to understand the basic fossil record of dinosaurs.

Around 160 million years or so of the Mesozoic Era i,e., 252.2 million to 66 million years ago, from which dinosaurs are known, there were constant changes in dinosaur communities. Different species evolved quickly and were quickly replaced by others throughout the Mesozoic age. It is not possible that any particular type of dinosaur survived from one geologic formation into the next.

It is important to note that extinction is a normal, universal occurrence. Mass extinctions often come to mind when the term extinction is mentioned, but the normal background extinctions that occur throughout geologic time probably account for most losses of biodiversity. Just as new species constantly split from existing ones, existing species are constantly becoming extinct. The speciation rate of a group must, on balance, exceed the extinction rate in the long run, or that group will become extinct. The history of animal and plant life is full with successions as early forms were replaced by the new and often more advanced forms. In most instances the layered nature of the fossil record gives too little information to show whether the old forms were actually displaced by the new successors from the effects of competition, predation, or other ecological processes or if the new kinds simply expanded into the declining population’s ecological positions.

However, because of the knowledge of the various dinosaur groups is somewhat incomplete, the duration of any particular dinosaur can be gauged only approximately by stratigraphic boundaries and presumed “first” and “last” occurrences. The “moments” of apparently high extinction levels among dinosaurs occurred at two points in the Triassic i.e., about 221 million and 210 million years ago, or perhaps at the end of the Jurassic  around 145 million years ago, and, of course, at the end of the Cretaceous period.

The next question is whether the extinctions were simultaneous and instantaneous or whether they were non-synchronous and spread over a long time. The precision with which geologic time can be measured leaves much to be desired no matter what means are used. Only rarely does an “instantaneous” event leave a worldwide, or even regional signature in the geologic record in the way that a volcanic eruption does locally.

It is believed that dinosaurs left no descendants. However, it is not true as Archaeopteryx, discovered in 1861, and Xiaotingia, which was discovered in 2011, give compelling evidence that birds of class Aves evolved from the small theropod dinosaurs. Following the principles of genealogy that are applied to humans as much as to other organisms, and they are classified at a higher level within the groups from which they evolved. Archaeopteryx and Xiaotingia which are the oldest birds known are therefore classified as both dinosaurs and birds, just as humans are both primates and mammals.

It is still unclear how dinosaurs were extinct? Hope we will solve this mystery soon!

Wed, 21 Sep 2022 15:33:39 +0530
The evolution of Plants

 

Anupama Nair

 

The evolution of plants in itself resulted in a wide range of complexity i.e., from the earliest algal mats, through multicellular marine and freshwater green algae, like terrestrial bryophytes, lycopods and ferns, to the complex gymnosperms and angiosperms which in layman terms are flowering plants we see today. You can still find some of the earliest groups thriving, as exemplified by red and green algae in marine environments. The more recent derived groups have displaced previously ecologically dominant ones -- for example, the ascendance of flowering plants over gymnosperms in terrestrial environments. There is evidence that cyanobacteria and multi-cellular photosynthetic eukaryotes lived in freshwater communities on land as early as 1 billion years ago, and that communities of complex, multicellular photo-synthesizing organisms existed on land in the late Precambrian, Period that was around 850 million years ago.

Evidence of the emergence of embryophyte land plants first occurred in the mid-Ordovician Period which was nearly 470 million years ago, and by the middle of the Devonian Period nearly 390 million years ago, and has many of the features now found in land plants today including roots and leaves. By late Devonian Period  some plants such as Archaeopteris had secondary vascular tissue that produced wood and had formed forests of tall trees. Evolutionary innovation continued throughout the rest of the Phanerozoic eon and still continues today. Most plant groups were relatively unharmed by the ‘Permo-Triassic extinction event’. This may have set the scene for the appearance of the flowering plants in the Triassic nearly 200 million years ago, and their later diversification in the Cretaceous and Paleogene. The latest major group of plants to evolve were the grasses, which became important in the mid-Paleogene nearly 40  million years ago. The grasses, as well as many other groups, evolved new mechanisms of metabolism to survive the low CO2 and warm, dry conditions of the places near the equator called tropics around 10 million years ago.

Land plants evolved from a group of green algae, perhaps as early as 850 million years ago, but algae-like plants might have evolved as early as 1 billion years ago. The closest living relatives of land plants are called the charophytes, specifically Charales and we can assume that the habit of the Charales has changed not much since the divergence of lineages. We can safely say that the land plants evolved from a branched, filamentous alga dwelling in shallow fresh water, perhaps at the edge of seasonally desiccating pools. However, some recent evidence suggests that land plants might have originated from unicellular terrestrial charophytes resembling the  extant Klebsormidiophyceae. The algae would have had a haplontic life cycle. It would only very briefly have had paired chromosomes  i.e., when the egg and sperm first fused to form a zygote that would have immediately separated by meiosis to produce cells with half the number of unpaired chromosomes

Plants were not the first living organisms that photosynthesizes on land. Weathering rates suggest that organisms capable of photosynthesis were already living on the land 1,200 million years ago, and microbial fossils have been found in freshwater lake deposits from 1,000 million years ago. What are fossils? “Fossils are the preserved remains, or traces of remains, of ancient organisms. Fossils are not the remains of the organism itself! They are rocks. A fossil can preserve an entire organism or just part of one. Bones, shells, feathers, and leaves can all become fossils”. 

However, the carbon isotope record suggested that they were too less to impact the atmospheric composition until around 850 million years ago. Evidence of the earliest land plants occurred much later at about 470 million years ago, in lower middle Ordovician rocks from Saudi Arabia, and Gondwana in the form of spores with decay-resistant walls. These spores, called as crypto spores, were produced either singly or in pairs or groups of four, and their microstructure resembles that of modern liverwort spores,

A ‘snowball earth’, from around 720-635 million years ago in the Cryogenian period, is believed to have been caused by early photosynthetic organisms, which reduced the concentration of carbon dioxide and increased the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere.

The evolutionary history of plants is recorded in fossils were preserved in lowland or marine sediments. Some fossils preserve the external form of plant parts, while others show cellular features and still many others consist of micro-fossils such as pollen and spores. In rare instances, fossils may even display the ultrastructural or chemical features of the plants they represent.

In fact, plants and trees today are a necessity as they purify the air.

Wed, 21 Sep 2022 15:27:06 +0530
The brave children of Bharat Ma who fought the Mughals

The brave children of Bharat Ma who fought the Mughals

Anupama Nair

I had written about Rana Sanga, who gave up his life against Babur. However, his ancestor Pratap Singh I, popularly known as Maharana Pratap never lost to Akbar and remained victorious till the end. He was given the title “Mewari Rana” and was notable for his military resistance against the expansionism of the Mughals and is well known for his participation in the Battle of Haldighati. Pratap Singh was unhappy he had not been to his beloved city Chittor since 156, as Akbar had control of Chittor but not the kingdom of Mewar. His home now beckoned to him. The pain of his father's death, and the fact that his father also had not been able to see Chittor again, troubled the young Maharana deeply. But he was not the only one troubled at this time. Akbar realized that his ambition of being the “Shehanshah-e-Hindustan” was doomed to failure,  so long as the people of Mewar supported their Maharana.

Akbar sent several emissaries to Mewar to get Rana Pratap to agree to sign a treaty, but Pratap was only willing to sign a peace treaty whereby the sovereignty of Mewar would be intact. In 1573, Akbar sent six diplomatic missions to Mewar to get Rana Pratap to agree to his orders, but Rana Pratap turned down each one of them. The last of these missions was headed by Raja Man Singh, the brother-in-law of Akbar. Maharana Pratap, was infuriated that his fellow Rajput was with someone who had forced the submission of all Rajputs. The lines were completely drawn now -- Akbar understood that Maharana Pratap would never submit and he would have to use his troops against Mewar. Akbar’s course of action like any tyrant was first try with false promises of peace, if it did not work attack by treason.

In preparation for the inevitable war with the Mughals, Maharana Pratap decided to change the city of his administration. He moved his capital to Kumbhalgarh, where he was born. He commanded his subjects to leave for the Aravali mountains and leave behind nothing for the approaching enemy – and the war would be fought in a mountain terrain which the Mewar army was used to but not the Mughals. It is a testament to the respect the young king had amongst his subjects that they obeyed him and left for the mountains. The Bhils of the Aravalis also supported him. The army of Mewar now raided all the Mughal trade caravans going from Delhi to Surat. A section of his army guarded the all-important Haldighati Pass, the only way to get into Udaipur from the North. Maharana Pratap himself undertook several penances, not because his finances forced him to do so, but because he wished to remind himself, and all his subjects, why they were undertaking this pain -- to win back their freedom, their right to exist as they wished. He made a promise to eat from leaf-plates, would sleep on the floor and would not shave. In his self-inflicted state of penury, the Maharana lived in mud-huts made from mud and bamboo.

The famous battle of Haldighati was fought in 1576, with 20,000 Rajputs against a Mughal army of 80,000 men commanded by Raja Man Singh. The battle was fiercely fought, and there was no decisive result which was a matter of great astonishment to the Mughals. Maharana Pratap's army was not defeated even though his army was surrounded by the Mughal soldiers. It is said that at this point, his estranged brother, Shakti Singh, appeared and saved the Rana's life. The greatest casualty of this war was the loyal, horse Chetak, who gave up his life trying to save his master. After the Battle of Haldighati, Akbar tried several times to take over the kingdom of Mewar but  failed each time.

Rattled by Pratap’s strength and valor, Akbar relinquished his obsessive pursuit of Maharana Pratap and took his battles into Punjab and India's Northwest Frontier. For the last ten years of his life, Maharana Pratap ruled in relative peace and eventually freed most of Mewar, including Udaipur and Kumbhalgarh, but not Chittor. “Maharana Pratap Singh called the light and life of the Hindu community. There were times when he and his family and children ate bread made of grass”.

Next I am going to talk about the greatest sons of Bharat Ma – Chattrapati Shivaji, who fought against the tyranny. Shivaji Bhonsle, also known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, was a great warrior king and a member of the Bhonsle clan. Shivaji carved out an “enclave from the declining Adilshahi Sultanate of Bijapur that formed the genesis of the Maratha Empire”.

It was his brave mother Jija Bai, who made her great son Chhatrapati. Right from his childhood, Jija mata would tell him about the lives of Shri Ram, Maruti, Shri Krishna and also stories from Mahabharata and Ramayana to make him pious and patriotic. Thus, she molded him into an ideal ruler by sowing seeds of devotion to the idea of Swaraj and Swadharma. She was not only a mother to Shivaji, but also a source of inspiration to her son.

Shivaji's army marched towards Konkan and Kolhapur. They seized the Panhala Fort, and defeated again the army of Bijapur under Rustam Zaman and Fazl Khan in 1659. In 1660, Adilshah sent his general Siddi Jauhar to attack Shivaji's southern border, in alliance with the Mughals who planned to attack from the north. At that time, Shivaji was living in Panhala Fort with his forces. Siddi Jauhar's army attacked Panhala, cutting off all supply routes to the fort. For the bombardment of the Panhala Fort, Siddi Jauhar had earlier, purchased grenades from the English East India Company at Rajapur to increase his efficiency, and also hired some English artillerymen to assist him in his war with Shivaji. The betrayal angered Shivaji, who retaliated by plundering the English factory at Rajapur and captured four men, who were released after some months. When Shivaji Maharaj was trapped for four months when Siddi Jauhar had besieged Panhala fort, Jija had shouldered the responsibility of Swaraj till Shivaji escaped from the besieged fort. Jija Bai led the Marathas who were fighting Shaista Khan thus protecting the idea of Swaraj.

Shivaji’s greatness and love for Swaraj reached the ears of the cruelest Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who wanted to add the parts of Maratha Empire to his own. For expansion of  his idea of  Swaraj, conflict with the Mughals was inevitable. Aurangzeb chose Shaista khan, to be the Viceroy of the Deccan, ordering him to invade and annex Shivaji dominions. Shaista khan left Ahmednagar in 1660 and arrived in Pune. He decided to capture the fort of Chakan to obtain supplies. Though the killedar of the fort of Chakan, Firangoji Narsala offered a strong resistance to Shaista khan’s army, the Mughals captured the fort of Chakan. Shaista khan captured Swaraj's territories Pune and Supe and set up a camp at Lal Mahal in Pune.

The Mughal army began to destroy the regions around Pune. Shaista Khan adopted the strategy to occupy as much of Shivaji Maharaj’s territories as possible. Forces were dispatched to invade the Konkan region below the Ghats, Kalyan and Bhiwandi were captured by the Mughal army. Shaista Khan appointed Kartalab Khan on an expedition to the North Konkan. Shivaji defeated Kartalab Khan in Umbarkhind. He left Netoji Palkar to defend the North Konkan and he himself marched southwards and captured Dabhol, Chiplun, Sangameshwar, Rajapur, Palavani and Shringarpur.

Even after two years, Shaista Khan still would not think of leaving Pune. Shivaji Maharaj devised a bold plan, to drive away Shaista Khan. He raided Lal Mahal and in this raid, Shaista Khan lost his fingers. He was forced to leave Pune and shifted his camp to Aurangabad. The successful attack on Shaista khan resulted in the people believing the capabilities of Shivaji. He then devised a plan of attack on Surat. The Subedar of Surat could not put up any resistance to the Maratha army. Shivaji Maharaj obtained enormous wealth from Surat. The Surat campaign was a stunning blow to emperor Aurangzeb’s prestige. Shivaji then built  forts Suvarnadurg,  Sindhudurg and Vijaydurg. He also built a fort named Padmadurg on a small island near Rajpuri in order to counter the power of the Mughals.

The greatest achievement of Shivaji was to inculcate the spirit of independence in his people. Shivaji Maharaj’s personality and message are as relevant today as they were in the past. “Shivaji breathed new life into a moribund race that for centuries had resigned itself to abject serfdom and led them against Aurangzeb, a powerful Mughal ruler. Above all, in a place and age stained by religious savagery, he was one of the few rulers who practiced true religious tolerance.

Budelkhand Kesri, Maharaja Chhatrasal  was a warrior who chose to turn against the “cruelest and a man who killed millions for his sport”, Aurangzeb and seek to establish his  own kingdom in Bundelkhand. His father had raised “the banner for freedom” a generation earlier but was killed in battle with the Mughals but only after killing the favorite of the emperor, Abu Fazal. Chhatrasal also raised the banner of revolt against the Mughals in Bundelkhand at a young age of 22, with only an army of 5 horsemen and 25 swordsmen. During the first ten years of his revolt, he conquered a large tract of land between Chitrakoot and Panna on the east and Gwalior on the west. His domains stretched from Kalpi in the north to Sagar, Garah Kota and Damoh in the south.

Chhatrasal was a disciple of Pran Nathji and accepted him as his guru and accepted Pranami Dharma.  It was Swami Pran Nathji who told Raja Chhatrasal Bundela, regarding Diamond mines of  Panna  and  thus  strengthen  his  financial position.  He also persuaded Chhatrasal to make Panna his capital and arranged his coronation there. When Aurangzeb introduced Jaziya, the freedom loving people of Bundelkhand refused to pay and fight for freedom. As a result, deadly struggle which eventually spread over nearly fifty years, ensued with wave after wave of Mughal and Pathan attacks over the land. The atrocities of the Mughals against the innocent people of my country, only deepened the intensity of the people of Bundelkhand, to fight for freedom and vengeance of the killing of their own.

People who came to collect Jaziya were killed to send a message that they will not pay the tax. Aurangzeb himself led a huge expedition to Bundelkhand to capture them, but was forced to retreat without achieving any lasting success, leaving behind trails of horror and destruction, but still failing to subdue Chhatrasal and the Bundelas. With great happiness I would like to tell you, from then onwards the Maratha attacks began to shake and almost caused the disintegration of the Mughals and, after the death of Aurangzeb, the Bundelas steadily began to gain ground over their adversaries. The cream of the Mughal generals were sent one after the other to subdue the Bundelas but all their campaigns ended up in failure.

Chhatrasal, who was always inspired by the Hindu Hriday Samrat Shivaji’s call of Swaraj and Swadharm wanted to meet him. Shivaji was already the most celebrated and heroic Hindu figure of his times, who had faced the Mughals on equal terms and whose exploits and achievements, courage and idealism had won for him respect throughout India. Chhatrasal offered to serve Shivaji in latter’s war against Aurangzeb. But Shivaji suggested to him to start hostilities against Aurangzeb in Bundelkhand where he would gain many adherents. “Illustrious Chief! Conquer and subdue your foes. Recover and rule your native land …”.

These great sons of Bharat Ma did not bow to the tyrannical Mughals and fought hard to free Bharat Ma from their clutches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wed, 21 Sep 2022 15:22:36 +0530
Delete Button of the Brain

Anupama Nair

Did you know, like the delete button on our computers or phones, there is a delete button in our brain too? I am not joking, it is true. According to scientific research you can erase your memories too. Surprising isn’t it? “The brain is a complex organ that controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger and every process that regulates our body”. Together, the brain and spinal cord that extends from it make up the central nervous system, or CNS.

The brain weighs around 3 pounds in an average adult, and the brain is about 60% fat. The remaining 40% is a combination of water, protein, carbohydrates and salts. The brain is a not a muscle and contains blood vessels and nerves, including neurons and glial cells. Gray and white matter are two different regions of the central nervous system. In the brain, gray matter refers to the darker, outer portion, while white matter describes the lighter, inner section underneath. Gray matter comprises neuron somas  which is the round central cell bodies. The white matter is mostly made of axons  or the long stems that connects neurons wrapped in myelin.

Brain makes space and builds new connections. According to neuroscience, there is a neuro circuit in the brain, which means the more you use, the stronger it becomes. Here the saying that through practice, humans become perfect. The proof of the statement being true is when we start learning new things like a language or music etc., we need to practice repeatedly. Ability to learn increases by strengthening and building the neural connections. Hence, we are able to forget old things or forget the old incident over the time and it is called  as ‘synaptic pruning’.

Scientists state our brain is like a garden too. “The way we sow flowers and fruits in the garden, in the same way, you can increase synaptic connections between the neurons in the brain”. The gardener looks after the garden, similarly, ‘glial cells’ act as the gardeners of the brain. ‘ The cells which prune the gardeners of the brain are called ‘microglial cells’ and they prune our synaptic connections.

Here are some unknown and interesting facts about our brain:

  • Our brain uses 20% of its total energy and oxygen intake and 25% percent of the glucose circulating in our bloodstream.
  • Scientists, believe that the brain is more active at night than in the day!
  • During pregnancy, neurons multiply more quickly that is more than 200,000 neurons per minute.
  • All it needs is only 5 minutes without oxygen to have a brain damage!
  • Did you realize, the brain generates 12-25-watt electricity, that is enough to power a low wattage LED light?
  • From childhood we’ve been taught people are left-brained or right-brained, but it is a myth. We are ‘whole-brained’ instead.
  • Our brain cannot do multi-tasking! Strange isn’t it?

 

The synaptic connections that are used less often are marked or bound with a protein called C1q. When microglial cells detect that mark or sign, then they are bound to the protein and then they destroy or prune the synapse. This is how the process of deleting is done, and physical space is generated in the brain and that is how you can learn and remember new things.

All of us know about the importance of a good sleep at night. Sometimes when we read more or work more we tend to feel tired as our brain is exhausted, and it seems like now you can't learn new things. The reason is your sleep was not complete. “When you learn a lot of new things, your brain makes connections, but they are inefficient or ad hoc”. Hence the brain needs pruning and has to build more streamlines and efficient pathways, which is only possible when we take proper sleep. Scientists opine “when you sleep, your brain cleans itself, and cells of the brain shrink up to 60% and create space for glial gardeners to take away the waste. That's why we must take 10 or 20 minutes of nap so that microglial gardeners get an opportunity, to finish the unused connection or prune the synapses and establish a place to make new ones.

When you sleep, the brain deletes the connection that you have not been used for a long time and that is why the brain also requires refinement and you need to be careful what you are thinking about. To take advantage of your brain's ‘natural gardening system’, just think about the things that are most important to you as the brain strengthens the connections that you use most often in your life-system and will suppress those thoughts which you think less or things you pay less attention to.

The proven truth is for a well-functioning brain, always think good, be positive so that your brain also works in the same direction!
 

 

Tue, 20 Sep 2022 15:09:15 +0530
Data Analytics a glimpse

 

Anupama Nair

The concept of big data had been around for many years, and most organizations now understand that if they capture all the data that streams into their businesses, they can apply analytics and get significant value from it. But even in the 1950s, decades before anyone uttered the term ‘big data’, businesses were using basic analytics i.e., essentially numbers in a spreadsheet that were manually examined) to uncover insights and trends. 

“The new benefits that big data analytics brings to the table, however, are speed and efficiency”. A few years ago, a business would have gathered information, run analytics and unearthed information that could be used for future decisions, today that business can identify insights for immediate decisions. The ability to work faster and stay agile gives organizations a competitive edge they was not there before.

What is data analytics? It is the science of analyzing ‘raw data’ to make conclusions about that information. Many of the techniques and processes of data analytics have been automated into mechanical processes and algorithms that work over raw data for human consumption. Data analytics is a broad term that includes many varied types of data analysis. Any type of information can be subjected to data analytic techniques to get insight that can be used to improve things. Data analytic techniques can reveal trends and metrics that would otherwise be lost in the mass of information and can then be used to optimize processes to increase the overall efficiency of a business or system.

For example, manufacturing companies often record the runtime, downtime, and work queue for various machines and then analyze the data to better plan the workloads so the machines operate closer to peak capacity. Data analytics can do much more than point out bottlenecks in production. Gaming companies use data analytics to set reward schedules for players that keep the majority of players active in the game. Content companies use many of the same data analytics to keep you clicking, watching, or re-organizing content to get another view or another click.

Data analytics is significant because it helps businesses to optimize their performances. Implementing it into the business model implies, companies can help reduce costs by identifying more efficient ways of doing business and by storing large amounts of data. A company can also use data analytics to make better business decisions and help analyze customer trends and satisfaction, which can lead to new and better products and services. 

The process that is involved in data analysis are in different steps:

  1. The first step is to determine the data requirements or how the data is grouped. Data may be separated by age, demographic, income, or gender. Data values may be numerical or be divided by category.
  2. The second step in data analytics is the process of collecting it. This can be done through a variety of sources such as computers, online sources, cameras, environmental sources, or through personnel.
  3. Once the data is collected, it must be organized so it can be analyzed. This may take place on a spreadsheet or other form of software that can take statistical data.
  4. The data is then cleaned up before analysis. This means it is scrubbed and checked to ensure there is no duplication or error, and that it is not incomplete. This step helps correct any errors before it goes on to a data analyst to be analyzed.

Data analytics is broken down into four basic types.

  1. Descriptive analytics describes what has happened over a given period of time. It answers the questions, have the number of views gone up? Are sales stronger this month than last?
  2. Diagnostic analytics  focuses more on why something happened. This involves more diverse data inputs and a bit of hypothesizing. Did the weather affect beer sales? Did that latest marketing campaign impact sales?
  3. Predictive analytics moves to what is likely going to happen in the near term. What happened to sales the last time we had a hot summer? How many weather models predict a hot summer this year?
  4. Prescriptive analytics suggests a course of action. If the likelihood of a hot summer is measured as an average of these five weather models is above 58%, we should add an evening shift to the brewery and rent an additional tank to increase output.

Data analytics reinforces many quality-control systems in the financial world, including the eternally popular Six Sigma Program. If you aren’t properly measuring something, whether it's your weight or the number of defects per million in a production line, it is nearly impossible to optimize it. Some of the sectors that have adopted the use of data analytics include the travel and hospitality industry, where turnarounds can be quick. The industry can collect customer data and figure out where the problems, if any, lie and how to fix them.

Healthcare combines the use of high volumes of structured and unstructured data and uses data analytics to make quick decisions. Similarly, the retail industry uses abundant amounts of data to meet the ever-changing demands of shoppers. The information retailers collect and analyze can help them identify trends, recommend products, and increase profits. 

Data analytics has been adopted by several sectors, such as the travel and hospitality industry, where turnarounds can be quick. This industry can collect customer data and figure out where the problems, if any, lie and how to fix them. Healthcare is another sector that combines the use of high volumes of structured and unstructured data and data analytics can help in making quick decisions. Similarly, the retail industry uses numerous amounts of data to meet the ever-changing demands of shoppers.

 

Tue, 20 Sep 2022 15:03:38 +0530
The Essence of Bhagavad Gita in the time of Corona

The Essence of Bhagavad Gita in the time of Corona

Anupama Nair

India is known as the “spiritual guru” of the world. In India, “spiritualism is not an obsession of the human mind, rather it is a heritage as well as a continuous tradition”. India is famous for her culture, civilization, traditions, literature and epics, ancient medicine – Ayurveda, Yoga , ancient scientific theses like gravitation, atomic theory (later proved by modern science), ancient temples and holy cities, you imagine and we have it all.  However, the greatness of Indian culture, especially “spiritualism” have contributed a lot —connecting the spirit of Indians throughout the ages. As a result, the spiritual-minded Indians have succeeded in maintaining their Indianness which could not have been possible otherwise. Indian life is dominated by personality which is well linked to spiritualism.

The Vedas offer spiritual direction to the Indians giving them the basics of spiritual and moral life. Our rishis should be applauded as the earliest spiritual masters on earth as their mantras resound with the seed of spiritualism, and India can be called the “cradle of spiritualism and civilization”. In India, spiritualism is not a mere  obsession of the mind, but, it is a heritage and tradition. India is home to two great epics Ramayana written by Valmiki and Mahabharata written by Veda Vyas. The Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, often called as the Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of Mahabharata, dated to the second half of the first millennium BC and exemplary for the emerging Hindu synthesis. It is considered to be one of the holy scriptures.

Gita is the divine discourse spoken by the Supreme Lord Krishna himself and is the most popular and well known of all the sacred scriptures from ancient India. It is revered as a true source of spiritual knowledge; it reveals the purpose and goal of human life. It is especially relevant in the modern world traumatized by a “mere virus”, you need to read it again and again to find salvation. It is curious though, it may seem that such an ancient text from a “foreign culture” has been so enthusiastically received by Westerners, the Gita, like all truly great works of literature, can be read on many levels -- metaphysical, moral, spiritual, and practical, hence its appeal to the world. According to some, Bhagavad Gita is written by the Lord Ganesh when the great Saint was dictating to him.

For those who still haven’t had the pleasure of reading it, the Gita is a dialogue between Arjuna, one of five Pandava princes, and the Lord, who is “Parthasarthi” or the charioteer of Arjuna. Arjuna and his brothers have been exiled from their kingdom for 13 years and cut off from their rightful heritage by the Kauravas, their cousins. The Gita takes up the struggle to reclaim the throne, which requires the Pandavas wage war against their own kinsmen,

The story begins on the dusty plains of Kurukshetra, where Arjuna, a famed archer, is poised to fight. But he hesitates as he sees the army of friends, teachers, and kin, and believes that to fight—and likely kill—these men would be to commit a grievous sin and could bring nothing good even if he were to win the kingdom back. Krishna chides him for his cowardice—Arjuna is a Kshatriya after all, and warriors are meant to fight—but then goes on to present a spiritual journey that encourages him to fight his enemies, one that encompasses a discussion of the karmajnana and bhakti yogas, as well as the nature of divinity, mankind’s ultimate destiny, and the purpose of mortal life.

Gita is a work of luminous and startling intensity, and Henry David Thoreau calls it a “stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy…in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seem puny and trivial.” Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke of the influence of Gita on him and wrote a book “Brahma”. Albert Einstein, however was moved by the Gita’s depiction of creation, and once remarked, “When I read the Bhagavad Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous”.

The essence of Bhagavad Gita comes to each one of us when we start distinguishing it humbly, paying respect to it and have direct liaison with it. The Gita is also known as tri marga or three ways to attain liberation imparted by the Lord. Krishna represents pure attraction and attainment while, Arjuna stands for an average human. Hence, Gita is for every one of us for accomplishing salvation. The Gita is the root of all the Vedas, Puranas and other holy scriptures. The 18 chapters of Gita are separated into three main categories hence known as tri marga. The three main categories are “Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jyana yoga”.

The essence of Bhagavad Gita is in each and every verse and each verse encompasses words and each word contains an alphabet. The chapters one and two describes the battlefield of Kurukshetra while the chapters three to six divulges Karma Yoga or the yoga of actions i.e., how to perform routine work and how it should be converted into swadharma. The Lord addresses the significance of karma that should be completely surrendered to the divine and deals with just doing our work without any expectations of the benefits attained from the work. The essence lies when each and every work is done for the Lord. Hence, our Karma becomes Karma yoga just by offering every action unto the Lord.
 

Further, the essence of Bhagavad Gita lies in the next six chapters i.e., chapter seven to twelve, which stands for Bhakti Yoga or the Yoga of Devotion, where it is stated that we should remember God every time. You do not become a Bhakta by meditating on the Lord for some time, but for twenty-four hours remembering him.
 

The last part again contains six chapters i.e., chapter thirteen to eighteen which stands for Jyana Yoga or the Yoga of Knowledge. “Self” is the true knowledge than one could be a Gyani. The gunas of material nature is unveiled as Sattva, Rajas and Tamo gunas having their own significance in everyone’s life. Lord even says that “Gyani is my true reflection”. It now becomes easy for us to choose any of the three means and ways to attain liberation. Now which one could be better is also so enunciated and elicited by Lord Krishna when he states “knowledge is better than practice without discernment, meditation on God is superior to knowledge, and renunciation of the fruit of actions is even superior to meditation: for, peace immediately follows renunciation”. So, attaining liberation by becoming a Karma yogi is the preferred one as clearly shown by the Lord. We need to remember “Krishna” in order to attain him,  as he says “fix your mind on Me, and establish your intellect in Me alone, thereafter you will abide solely in Me. There is no doubt in it”. We can choose any of the tri margas and start reading it first and then implementing it practically into our life and then “we can taste the real essence of the Gita”.

There is a raging debate about reincarnation or rebirth. However, Gita makes it very clear when the lord states “ The atma or soul is indestructible, unbreakable and insoluble. The soul cannot be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can it be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind. All souls are therefore eternally separated individuals”. The soul is seen as immortal and the only thing that becomes perishable is the body. Upon death, the soul moves into a new body to live again and again. Krishna says that for the soul there is neither birth nor death. Nothing actually dies, but we call the soul leaving the body as death, when there's no such thing as death. However, the Lord deals with what we call death and doesn't hide the fact that He is behind it.

Reading the Gita has changed my thought of life and how to live. It is the Lord, who inspired me to write this article, so that those of you, who has not  read it still, will get some knowledge.

Tue, 20 Sep 2022 14:58:43 +0530
Rana Sanga the last Hindu Emperor

 

Anupama Nair

In the last part I spoke about the establishment of the kingdom of Mewar

On 21 April 1526, the Babur invaded India for the fifth time and defeated Ibrahim Lodhi in the First Battle of Panipat and executed him. After the battle, Sanga unified several Rajput clans for the first time since Prithvi Raj Chauhan, and built an army of 100,000 Rajput soldiers and proceeded to Agra. The Mughals managed to capture the Bayana Fort and a major clash took place in Bayana in 1527 in which Mughal forces led by Chin Timur Khan were defeated by Rajput forces led by Prithvi Raj Kachwaha and later by Rana Sanga  himself. The defeat was the last of Rana Sanga success.

The Mughals were terrified by Rajput valor and asked Babur to leave for Kabul. This is the main difference between Indian warriors and the foreigners from Muhammad Ghori as we fight till the last breath, while these cowards flee at the time of danger.

In the battle fought at Khanwa, the Mughal were victorious due to their cannons, matchlocks and other firearms. Sanga was struck by an arrow in middle of the battle and was removed from the battle by his brother-in law  Prithvi Raj Kachwaha along with prince Maldev Rathore. Following his victory, Babur ordered a tower of enemy skulls to be erected, a practice followed by his ancestor Taimur the Lame, against his adversaries, irrespective of their religious beliefs. Historians state “the objective of constructing a tower of skulls was not just to record a great victory, but also to terrorize opponents. Earlier, the same tactic had been used by Babur against the Afghans. I do not know what to say about such cruelty as they are glorified here. As I said before an actor couple named their son Taimur, as if there was shortage of names in the world, and we have a street named after Babur

In this battle Sanga was also betrayed by Silhadi  who soon began to fight for Babur. After regaining consciousness, he took an oath to never return to Chittor till he defeated Babur and conquered Delhi. He also stopped wearing a turban and used to wrap a cloth over his head. While he was preparing to wage another war against Babur, he was poisoned by his own nobles who did not want another battle. He died in Kalpi in 1528,  and was succeeded by his son Ratan Singh II.

Many historians falsely claim, Babur attacked India after he was invited by Sanga to help him against Ibrahim Lodi. It was refuted by some other historians and it is true for many reasons. The first reason is that the book Baburnama claimed Daulat Khan Lodi, the Governor of Punjab invited Babur to India as he wanted to take advantage of the weak leadership in the Lodi dynasty and usurp power with the help of Babur’s army. The second reason is that, it was Babur himself, who had extended the invitation to Rana Sanga in quest of help. Babur had already decided to attack India and asked Sanga for a helping hand to defeat the common enemy – Ibrahim Lodi.

The third reason is Rana Sanga was victorious in most battles and the Mewar confederacy was at the height of its glory, defeating the Sultan of Gujarat at that time. This was perhaps the last time many Rajput kings united under the leadership of Rana Sanga. The Rajputs had already defeated Ibrahim Lodi in Khatoli and Dholpur and there is no reason for them to seek the help of an outsider, to take on an enemy which had already been defeated. Then, if Rana Sanga had extended invitation to Babur to help defeat Ibrahim Lodi, why didn’t he join Babur against Lodi? Why did Rana Sanga fight a battle against Babur at Bayana?

The last and the most important point is Babur didn’t need any invitation as he had already decided to invade India. In fact, Babur first attacked Punjab in 1519, but was unsuccessful. Our history books unfortunately give importance to the Battle of Panipat, even after knowing that the Lodi empire was disintegrating much before this. In 1526 there were two forces who could stake claim to the throne of Delhi -- Mewar under Rana Sanga and the Mughals. Therefore, it was the battle of Khanwa that sealed the fate of India rather than the battle of Panipat. If Rana Sanga would have won we would have “laid the foundations of a Hindu empire”, stated some scholars, instead the Mughal Empire was established.

Rana Sanga was truly a great son of Bharat Ma indeed.

Tue, 20 Sep 2022 14:53:04 +0530
Rana Sanga the last Hindu Emperor

 

Anupama Nair

Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of  India’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British. Today I am going to write about Rana Sanga, the great King of Chittor, who was very famous for his battles against the cruel butcher of humans the founder of Mughal dynasty Babur. Babur is glorified by the ultra-left oriented historians, who unfortunately wrote our History. I even found his portrait in the party office of a political party I do not wish to mention here. However, Rana Sanga is unfortunately forgotten in the annals of History.

The city of Chittor and her history is one of the most stirring chapters in Indian history for it was here that the “flower of Rajput chivalry sprang to life and the immense stretch of its sacred walls and ruined palaces relate the saga of innumerable sieges and heroism which has almost become a myth now”. However, any patriotic Indian will never forget the tales of valor of our great kings and queens even if our History curriculum says differently.

Chittorgarh was one of the most fiercely contested seats of power in ancient and medieval India. Bappa Rawal, the legendary founder of the Sisodia dynasty, received Chittor as a dowry for his marriage to the Solanki princess. Highly fortified, “it crowns a seven-mile- long hill, covering 700 acres with its fortifications, temples, towers and palaces”. Historians claim the palace was a sight to behold. For eight centuries from the 8th to the 16th century,  his descendants ruled over an important kingdom called Mewar stretching from Gujarat to Ajaymeru (Ajmer). The city of Chittorgarh is located on the banks of rivers Gambhiri and Berach.

Chittorgarh is home to the Chittor Fort, which is the largest fort not only in India but also the continent of  Asia. In its history of eight centuries, it was ransacked thrice – in1303 AD by the cruel Alauddin Khilji, by 1535 AD by Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, and lastly by the cruel Akbar  in  1568 AD. The great Hindu Rajput rulers fought fiercely to maintain their independence. On all three occasions mentioned above, faced with a certain defeat, the men fought to death while the women committed Jauhar (mass self-immolation). Chittorgarh is not only famous for the valor and bravery of its warriors, but also for the beauty of Rani Padmini and her Jauhar, the land of the great devotion of Meera Bai and the great sacrifice of Panna Dai!

Rana Sanga was born to the Sisodia king Rana Raimal and his queen Ratan Kunwar. The exact year of his birth is not mentioned, but it is said, some of the “astrological planetary positions at the time of his birth,  was auspicious”. Based on these positions, and assuming certain other planetary positions and on basis of inscriptions in Kumbalgarh, historians calculated Sanga's birth year as 1482 AD. Sanga was youngest of the four sons of the royal couple. However, due to the circumstances and after a fierce struggle with his brothers where he lost one of his eye, he finally succeeded throne of Mewar in 1508.

After he became the king, Sanga reunited the warring Rajput clans through diplomacy and marital alliances. According to folklores, Sanga had fought one hundred battles and lost only once. In various struggle he lost his wrist and was crippled in leg.  In his illustrious military career, Sanga defeated Sultans of  Delhi, Malwa and Gujarat in eighteen battles and expanded his domain by conquering much of  today’s Rajasthan, Western Madhya Pradesh and Northern part of Gujarat. He re-established Rajput rule in Malwa first time after the fall of Paramara kingdom in 1305 AD.

He also removed the Jaziya tax which was earlier imposed by the Sultans who ruled India. He was the last independent Hindu king of Northern India to control a significant territory and contemporary texts described him as the “Hindu Emperor”.

After conquering Malwa, Sanga turned his attention towards North Eastern Rajasthan which was then under the control of an ally of  the Khillji’s Ibrahim Lodi of Delhi. This battle between Lodi and Sanga is called the Battle of Khanwa. It was the second major battle fought in modern-day India, after the Battle of Panipat. After hearing the news of Sanga attacking his territory, Lodi prepared an army and marched against Mewar in 1517. There was a fierce battle and the army of Lodi suffered serious injury and the cowards they were, they fled. One Lodi prince was captured and imprisoned. The brave Rana Sanga lost an arm by a sword cut, and an arrow made him lame for life.

Lodi, reportedly stunned by the unprecedented aggression of the Rajputs, once again attacked in 1518-19 but was humbled again at  the Battle of Dholpur. Lodi fought Sanga repeatedly, only to be defeated each time, losing his entire land in Rajputana, while the influence of Sanga extended up to Agra.

Like many other kings before and after him, he was also betrayed by one of his own. This is a tale common in the history of the Subcontinent.

In the next part I will talk about his battle with Babur and the Battle of Bayana, and how he was betrayed by his own men and then lost to Babur in the Battle of Khanwa.

Tue, 20 Sep 2022 14:48:53 +0530
Garden in a concrete jungle

 

Anupama Nair

From time immemorial, forests with lush green trees has always fascinated us. World over children grew up hearing tales of animals and men living near the forests. Unfortunately, with the passing of time and increase of technology man began to cut trees and lush green woods began to be a rarity. The result is for everyone to see. Deforestation is a silent killer. It is depleting our fresh oxygen and help in increasing the pollution.

Since we are living in a city and in a concrete jungle and if you love the greenery, this article will help you as I am going to write about tips to grow your own green space in your apartment. Do you have limited space, you should not worry as I believe space should not reduce the pleasure of gardening which is a stress buster these days.

I am now going to write about the benefits of gardening.

  • Outdoor gardening helps in boosting your immunity.
  • It increases your Vitamin D Level.
  • Gardening prevents insomnia
  • Gardening helps you fights pollution as you breathe clean air.
  • Gardening is a ‘mood-booster’.
  • ‘Horticulture therapy’ helps you fight addictions.
  • Gardening encourages you to go outdoors, interact with people, take care of your exercise and help in creating a greener environment.

Here are some tips for you to build a garden in the terrace or balcony of your apartment:

  • Choose the best spot.
  • Choose a spot near a source of water and where you get enough sunlight – not too much or nothing at all.
  • Use nutrient-rich and well-drained soil.
  • Choose plants according to your weather zone.
  • Always opt for mixed species of plants.
  • Use manure regularly for healthy plants.
  • Choose the pots wisely.
  • Automatic watering space is the best.
  • Add mulch (layer of material applied to the surface of soil).
  • Feed plants regularly.
  • Always remember amazing soil + top-notch plant food = super garden.

So, since winter is starting it is the best time to start your garden.

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 22:07:52 +0530
A museum in Rakhigarhi to showcase the bygone era

 

Anupama Nair

Bharat has one of the oldest civilizations in the world. In a time when we are forgetting our heritage and culture, I am making a humble effort to make everyone proud of our country and Bharat Ma. The major ancient civilizations of the world were Indus Valley Civilization (3300 BC–1900 BC), Greek (2700 BC–479 BC), Roman (550 BC–465 AD), Egyptian (3150 BC 332 BC), Mesopotamian (3500 BC–500 BC), Mayan (2600 BC–900 AD) among a few.

When a patriotic and a person who is proud of our Hindu heritage became the Prime Minister, he decided to build the world’s largest museum on Indus Valley Civilization in Rakhigarhi, Haryana, and would display many 5,000-year-old artefacts belonging to the Harappan Civilization. The world class museum would proudly display photographs and artefacts depicting Rakhigarhi’s bygone era. The museum, which is currently under construction, would give much needed recognition to Rakhigarhi at the international and national levels and increase job opportunities for the local communities. The government announced a creation of special zone for children to make them aware of the history in a recreational manner. The museum would also an open-air theatre and a library.

The Central Government announced the development of five iconic sites – Rakhigarhi (Haryana), Hastinapur (Uttar Pradesh), Shivasagar (Assam), Dholavira (Gujarat) and Adichanallur (Tamil Nadu). Museums will be developed in these sites with a total outlay of Rs.2,500 crore

 

The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was a Bronze Age Civilization in the northwestern regions of Indian Subcontinent from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Western Northwestern Bharat. It existed from 3300 BC to 1300 BC, and in its mature form from 2600 BC to 1900 BC. Along with Egyptian and Mesopotamian, it was one of three early civilizations of the Asian continent. It flourished in the basins of the Sindhu River (Indus), which flows through Pakistan, and is perennial, mostly monsoon-fed, rivers that once coursed in the vicinity of the seasonal  Ghagar-Hakra river northwestern Bharat and eastern Pakistan.

It is to be noted that this is the only urban civilization while the rest of the above-mentioned civilizations were rural. The civilization's cities were noted for their urban planning, baked bricks houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, clusters of large non-residential buildings, and new techniques in handicraft (seal carving) and metallurgy (copper, bronze, lead, and tin).  The large cities of Mohenjo-Daro (Sind) and Harappa (Punjab) likely had a population of between 30,000 and 60,000 and the civilization itself during its florescence may have contained between one and five million people.

The Indus civilization is also known as the Harappan Civilization, after one of the sites, Harappa which was the first of the sites to be excavated in the 1920s while trying to lay a railway line.  The discovery of Harappa and soon afterwards Mohenjo-Daro was the culmination of work beginning in 1861 with the founding of the Archaeological Survey of India during the colonial rule. There were however earlier and later cultures often called Early Harappan and Late Harappan in the same area.

By 2002, over 1000 Mature Harappan cities and settlements had been reported, of which just under a hundred had been excavated. There are only five major urban sites: Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, Dholavira, Ganeriwala, and Lothal. The Indus civilization was roughly contemporary with the other civilizations of the ancient world around the rivers: Egyptian along the river Nile, Mesopotamia in the lands watered by the Euphrates and the Tigris. By the time of its mature phase, the civilization had spread over an area larger than the others, which included a core of 1500 kilometers (900 miles) up the alluvial plain of the Indus and its tributaries. In addition, there was a region with disparate flora, fauna, and habitats, up to ten times as large, which had been shaped culturally and economically by the Indus river.

The Indus Valley Civilization extended from Pakistan's Baluchistan in the west to India's western Uttar Pradesh in the east, from northeastern Afghanistan in the north to India's Gujarat state in the south. The largest number of sites are in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, in India, and Sindh, Punjab, and Baluchistan provinces in Pakistan. Coastal settlements extended from Suktagan Gor in Western Baluchistan to Lothal in Gujarat. The southernmost site of the Indus valley civilization is Daimabad in Maharashtra. Indus Valley sites have been found most often on rivers, but also on the ancient seacoast, for example, Balakot, and on islands, for example, Dholavira.

As seen in Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and the recently partially excavated Rakhigarhi, included the world's first known urban sanitation systems. Within the city, individual homes or groups of homes obtained water from wells with clean water. From a bathroom, waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets. Houses opened only to inner court-yards and lanes. The house-building in some villages in the region still resembles in some respects the house-building of the Harappans. The village of Rakhigarhi was part of the Indus Valley Civilization from 2600 to 1900 BC. The two villages Rakhi Khas and Rakhi Sahapur currently host the archeological remains of the Indus Valley site. It was excavated for the first time in 1969. It is currently the largest settlement of the Indus Valley Civilization. Since 1998, 56 skeletons have been discovered in the site. Among them, two women were found in mound number 7. They are estimated to be 7,000 years old. The presence of shell bangles in the site provides evidence of trade links to faraway places such as Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Jewelry trade is among the most prominent in this site. People in this civilization are known to melt precious metals like copper, carnelian, agate and gold to make garlands of beads.

 

The ancient Indus systems of sewerage and drainage throughout the Indus region were far more advanced than ones found in in the Middle East, Pakistan and Bharat today. The advanced architecture of the Harappans is shown by their impressive dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms, and protective walls. The massive walls of Indus cities most likely protected the Harappans from floods and may have dissuaded military conflicts.

Most city dwellers appear to have been traders or artisans, who lived with others pursuing the same occupation in well-defined neighborhoods. Materials from distant regions were used in the cities for constructing seals, beads and other objects. Among the artefacts discovered were beautiful glazed beads. Seals have images of animals, people and gods, and other types of inscriptions, including the yet un-deciphered language. Some historians argue the language was similar to Dravidian languages especially Tamil. Some of the seals were used to stamp clay on trade goods.

Seals have been found at Mohenjo-Daro depicting a figure standing on its head, and another, on the Pasupathi (resembling Bhagwan Shiva) seal, sitting cross-legged in yoga-like pose and an harp-like instrument depicted on an Indus seal and two shell objects found at Lothal indicate the use of stringed musical instruments.

Although some houses were larger than others, all the houses had access to water and drainage facilities. This gives the impression of a society with relatively low wealth concentration.

There was an extensive maritime trade network operating between the Harappan and Mesopotamian civilizations as early as the middle Harappan Phase, with much commerce being handled by "middlemen merchants from Dilmun " (modern day Bahrain) Such long-distance sea trade became feasible with the development of plank-built watercraft, equipped with a single central mast supporting a sail of woven rushes or cloth.

Around 1900 BC signs of a gradual decline began to emerge, and by around 1700 BC most of the cities had been abandoned. Recent examination of human skeletons from the site of Harappa has demonstrated that the end of the Indus civilization saw an increase in inter-personal violence and in infectious diseases like leprosy and tuberculosis. Many historians believe the great civilization ended due to Aryan invasion, while others believe it was floods in the Indus, climate change and earthquakes. Whatever be the reason a great civilization came to end. If modern city planners bothered to learn about the city planning skills of our ancestors, we would have great cities, roads, and drainage systems etc. We need to have a pride in our heritage and culture.

 

 

 

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 22:00:51 +0530
Human Life Value An over view

What is Human Life Value  or HLV? It is a number that tells the present value of future income expenses, liabilities and investments. The HLV number is taken usually to understand how much money would be required to secure the lives of your dependents with term insurance, in case you are no longer around.

Dr. Solomon S. Huebner had discovered the concept of human life value. Thus, he is credited with making HLV the standard method of calculating insurance value and need.

HLV = Retirement Age—Current age X annual ctc.

There are 7 points that are taken into account to assess your HLV. These are:

 

Your age
Your gender
Your occupation
Your target retirement age
Your annual income
Your employment benefits
Your financial information on spouse and children

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 21:41:37 +0530
My country Dark Ages tears of shame and despair

 

Anupama Nair

Bharat, Aryavarta, or India whatever name you call her, has always been known as “cradle of civilization”. India is a country in the continent of Asia whose name comes from Sindhu or Indus River. The name 'Bharat' is also  a name used for the country after the Emperor Bharat, whose story is told, in the epic Mahabharata.

The Puranas stated Bharat conquered the whole of Indian Subcontinent and he was said to have ruled his country in peace and harmony. The country, hence came to be known as ‘Bharatavarsha’. Nearly  lakhs of years ago, Hominid activity was excavated in the Indian subcontinent and goes back to over 250,000 years, and we can proudly say, “one of the oldest inhabited regions on the planet”.

I spoke about ancient India and the pride I felt in my matrubhoomi and her greatness. Unfortunately, when Bharat Ma’s great son Prithvi Raj was martyred, it was an epoch-making event that heralded Islamic terrorism till 17th Century, when the Mughal rule thankfully lost its importance after the death of the most tyrannical and butcher of humans Aurangzeb. The history books written by the ultra-left who were haters of anything Hindu glorified these looters. As a young child I refused to learn such glorification and got low marks in history for the first time in my life. Your blood will boil when you learn of these Islamic terrorists.

In 1191, Gori the Gurid prince was defeated by Prithvi Raj, the ruler of Ajmer and Delhi, in the First Battle of Tarain. In 1192 however Prithvi Raj was defeated by Mohammad Ghori at Tarain. Prithvi Raj killed the tyrant before he was killed. This marked the commencement of permanent Muslim rule in India. He then took Ajmer, Delhi, Kanauj, Banaras, Gwalior etc.

Qutub-ud-din set up the Slave Dynasty. The Vishnu Dwaj was destroyed and Qutab Minar was built instead. The cruel dynasty continued till 13th Century. Then came the even crueler Allaudin Khilji who was famous for his treachery and his lustful nature. The attack of Chittor is famous because of his lust the brave Rajputs sacrificed their lives  After the Khiljis came the Tughlaqs who were known for their foolishness. Muhammad Tughlaq might be the most foolish ruler in the history of India.

Later on, after him the cruel assassin who butchered humans, Taimur also took the same route taken by Gori in his conquest of North West India in 1383

Ibrahim Lodi was the son of Sikandar Lodhi. He was very tyrannical by nature. His people and nobles were disgusted with him. In 1526, Babar defeated him at Panipat which resulted in the end of Lodhi dynasty. Babar then laid the foundation of Mughal rule in India. It was an unfortunate event as Babar laid the foundation of the cruelest empire in history. All the Mughal emperors destroyed temples, killed innocent Hindus and forced people to convert. They were responsible for the death of many Sikh Gurus like Guru Arjan and Guru Teg Bahadur. Babar, Akbar, Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb were known for destroying temples for their pleasure. Ram Temple was destroyed by Babur, Kashi and Mathura was destroyed by Aurangzeb. Even the Taj Mahal was once a Hindu temple! There was a reign of terror and bloodbath. How much Bharat Ma must have cried to see her children suffer, but she could do little as she was in chains? It was truly Dark Ages, as Bharat known for her inventions in the Ancient times had nothing but backwardness to show. The West meanwhile caught up.

In the beginning of the Mughal period, they met resistance from Sher Shah Suri. He  humbled the Mughal ruler Humayun, and forced him into exile. During the brief period of his rule, he attempted to set up a national state and introduced some reforms which brought him the title of the forerunner of Akbar. His tomb at Sasaram (Bihar) is considered to be a noble specimen of art.

Aurangzeb’s intolerance, policy of over-centralization, suspicious nature and his lack of the qualities of a statesman were are responsible for the downfall of the Mughal Empire in 1707. I breathe a sigh of relief that thankfully Islamic terrorism ended. If you compare the British were less tyrannical than these terrorists as they bought many modern reforms which in turn helped us.

These invaders are glorified by the historians in India as if they came to my great country for the benefit of Indians and not to loot the great wealth which India was always famous for. They have streets named after them; their portraits are hung in the party office of a political party I do not want to name here. An actor couple named their son after one such invader, as if there was shortage of names.

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 21:38:45 +0530
My country My pride and Passion

Bharat, Aryavarta, or India whatever name you call her, has always been known as “cradle of civilization”. India is a country in the continent of Asia whose name comes from Sindhu or Indus River. The name 'Bharat' is also  a name used for the country after the Emperor Bharat, whose story is told, in the epic Mahabharata.

The Puranas stated Bharat conquered the whole of Indian Subcontinent and he was said to have ruled his country in peace and harmony. The country, hence came to be known as ‘Bharatavarsha’. Nearly  lakhs of years ago, Hominid activity was excavated in the Indian subcontinent and goes back to over 250,000 years, and we can proudly say, “one of the oldest inhabited regions on the planet”.

However, unfortunately, the West overlooked our greatness and only writes about the greatness of the Egyptian, Greek, Roman or Mesopotamian civilization, even though our Indus Valley Civilization is older and greater than any of these. The inventions of the people of ancient India include many like the flush toilet, drainage and sewer systems, public pools, mathematics, veterinary science, plastic surgery, board games, yoga, meditation, Ayurveda and many more.
 

However, Indus Valley Civilization, spread in the north western side of my country during the period of 3300 BC to 1300 BC being India's first civilization, and is marked as the main beginning of the ancient history of India. Starting from that period till the end of the Golden Age is roughly marked as the country's ancient history. I by mentioning India is intending the geographical area which is now Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh too.

The ancient period in the Indian history can be broadly categorized as:

  • Pre-historic Period
  • Early Historic Era
  • The Golden Age

The stone age period begins from the age of Homo erectus and continues till the starting of the Indus Valley Civilization. Homo erectus remains including crafted tools found near the Narmada Valley prove that the central part of India was inhabited during the period dating back in between the past 5,00,000 years and 2,00,000 years. The oldest archaeological site was found near the river valley of the Soan River, which is a site of Paleolithic Hominid. The Neolithic Age featured by extensive settlements followed the Mesolithic Age. The findings of Mehrgarh, dated back to 7000 BC is near Baluchistan in Pakistan and represented the early South Asian Neolithic culture. This culture even gets reflected from the remains of the Civilization

The earlier part of the Indus Valley Civilization, which is even known as the Mohenjo-Daro-Harappa Civilization dating back to 3300 BC is the start of the Bronze Age in India. This Civilization flourished in the banks of the river Indus and its tributaries and was located in the present-day Gujarat, Haryana, Rajasthan and Punjab (in both India and Pakistan), and Sind. The archeological findings revealed that the handcrafted and metallurgical techniques developed by the Harappans who were the inhabitants of that region. The civilization of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa reached its matured stage during the period between 2600 BC to 1900 BC. Indus Valley Civilization is known for its improved brick multi-storied establishments and modernized drainage system, and includes some famous urban centers in India like Dholavira, Kalibangan, Lothal, Rakhigarhi and Rupar.

The period from 1500 BC to 500 BC, is called Vedic period and this historical period gained its name from the sacred text of Hindus, the Vedas. It is believed that the Aryans invaded India in this time. Vedic Civilization marked the foundation of Hindu religion and its association with Indian culture. The Rig-Vedic period witnessed the social as well as agricultural development of the Aryan society. It was during this time that the Ramayana and the Mahabharata – the two great epics were written.

The starting of the Iron Age in India's north western side portrayed the Kuru's association with the “painted red, black and grey wares dating back to about 1000 BC”. Those grey painted wares flourished more in between the period of 1100 BC and 600 BC. The later part of this era was associated with the Mahajanapadas (great kingdoms), or the sixteen kingdoms. They were a combination of sixteen small republics and monarchies that extended over the region from present day Afghanistan to Bangladesh on the Indo-Gangetic plains. The early Jaina and Buddhist texts of 1000 BC have the names of those Janapadas mentioned in them. The sixteen Mahajanapadas formed by 500 BC are as follows – Anga, Assaka, Avanti, Chedi, Gandhara (Afghanistan), Kamboja, Kasi, Kosala, Kuru, Magadha, Malla, Matsya or Machcha, Panchala, Surasena, Vajji or Vriji and Vatsa or Vamsa. I am sure you must have heard of these kingdoms in Mahabharata.

It is seen that during the period of Gautama Buddha, these sixteen monarchies were combined to make four big kingdoms -- Avanti, Magadha, Kosala and Vatsa. The language spoken was Prakrit and for the learned Sanskrit. Apart from that, the different rituals of Hinduism were conducted by the class of priests.

Then Cyrus, the Persian King of the Achaemenid Empire conquered the country in 530 BC. During their rule of two centuries, Takshashila emerged as a major university. Persian supremacy was stopped by Alexander the Great as he invaded Persia and North-west India in 326 BC. These invasions had remarkable influence over Indian civilization.

The Maurya Empire ruled India between 322 BC and 185 BC, and is regarded as the first main kingdom in the ancient history of India who was geographically extensive as well as politically powerful. The kingdom was founded in Magadha by Chandragupta Maurya, However, the empire flourished most during the 37 years' rule of Ashoka the Great from 268 BC to 232 BC. Apart from an efficient and modern socio-economic society, this period of Indian history even witnessed the massive development of slavery. The Ashokan inscriptions and the Arthashastra written by Kautilya are the main written records of this period.

The Golden Age in the ancient history of India included the rule of the following dynasties:

 

The decline of the Maurya dynasty marked the emergence of a new empire called Satavahanas, that was established by King Simuka. Besides the flourishing of Buddhism, their rule was featured with great works of art as well as architecture. Many Buddhist Chaityas, Stupas and Viharas were constructed in the country during this period. Among the several kingdoms emerging during the period in between 185 BC and 300 AD, Kushans were the biggest. It was during this period that India witnessed a rise in foreign trade, art and culture. Originating from Turkistan in China, the Kushans established their empires in Peshawar and Taxila. Numerous foreigners migrated to India during the period from 200 BC to 100 AD. Kanishka who was the third emperor of this dynasty made the empire flourish most.

 

I have no words to describe the greatness of the Gupta Age. Being one of the largest empires in the world, who had military and political strength, the rule of the Gupta Empire is said to be India's Golden Age. Though the empire was established by Srigupta I, a Magadhan ruler, Chandragupta laid the foundation of this great dynasty as well as fought foreign invasions. Some of the other prominent rulers of this dynasty were Samudragupta, Chandragupta II, Kumargupta I and Skandagupta. In spite of his heroic efforts, it was during the time of Skandagupta that the Gupta dynasty failed to survive the repeated Hun invasions.

Despite formidable barriers in the form of the mighty Himalayas and the deep ocean, India had succession of invaders, many of them carrying swords and guns. The period of history after when Prithvi raj Chauhan lost to the butcher of Humanity Gori can rightly be called Dark Ages. I wish we did not have to study about Islamic terrorist attacks on this Punya Bhoomi. They corrupted our religion and the land. I hope the Government removes 800 years of Islamic rule. Waiting hopefully for the day! Vandemataram.

 

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 21:36:00 +0530
Anorexia how to prevent it

 

Anupama Nair

 

Everybody dreams of a lean and fit body. However, all do not have the fortune to have such a body. Instead of working hard to achieve, many especially fall prey to a medical condition Anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by an abnormally low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of weight. People with anorexia have a high value on controlling their weight and shape, using extreme efforts that tend to significantly interfere with their lives.

 

To prevent weight gain or to continue losing weight, people with anorexia usually severely restrict the amount of food they eat. They control calorie intake by vomiting after eating or by misusing laxatives, diet aids, diuretics or enemas. They may also try to lose weight by exercising excessively, even after losing much weight, the person continues to fear a gain in weight. Anorexia is never really about food, but  extremely unhealthy and sometimes life-threatening way to try to cope with emotional problems. When you have anorexia, thinness is treated as  self-worth. Anorexia, like other eating disorders, can take over your life and can be very difficult to overcome. However, with treatment, you can gain a better sense of who you are, return to healthier eating habits and reverse some of anorexia's serious complications.

 

The physical signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa are related to starvation. Anorexia also shows emotional and behavioral issues involving an unrealistic perception of body weight and an extremely strong fear of gaining weight or becoming fat. It may be difficult to notice signs and symptoms because what is considered a low body weight is different for each person, and some individuals may not appear extremely thin and  people with anorexia often disguise their thinness, eating habits or physical problems.

 

Symptoms

 

  • Extreme weight loss or not making expected developmental weight gains
  • Thin appearance
  • Abnormal blood counts
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Bluish discoloration of the fingers
  • Hair that thins, breaks or falls out
  • Soft, downy hair covering the body
  • Absence of menstruation
  • Constipation and abdominal pain
  • Dry or yellowish skin
  • Intolerance of cold
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Swelling of arms or legs
  • Eroded teeth and calluses on the knuckles from induced vomiting

 

Emotional and behavioral symptoms

 

  • Severely restricting food intake through dieting or fasting
  • Exercising excessively
  • Bingeing and self-induced vomiting to get rid of food, which may include the use of laxatives, enemas, diet aids or herbal products
  • Emotional and behavioral signs and symptoms may include:
  • Preoccupation with food, which sometimes includes cooking elaborate meals for others but not eating them
  • Frequently skipping meals or refusing to eat
  • Denial of hunger or making excuses for not eating
  • Eating only a few certain "safe" foods, usually those low in fat and calories
  • Adopting rigid meal or eating rituals, such as spitting food out after chewing
  • Not wanting to eat in public
  • Lying about how much food has been eaten
  • Fear of gaining weight that may include repeated weighing or measuring the body
  • Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws
  • Complaining about being fat or having parts of the body that are fat
  • Covering up in layers of clothing
  • Flat mood (lack of emotion)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Reduced interest in sex

 

If you have any of these symptoms see a doctor immediately. Unfortunately, many people with anorexia don't want treatment, at least initially. Their desire to remain thin overrides concerns about their health. If you're experiencing any of the problems listed above, or if you think you may have an eating disorder, get help. If you're hiding your anorexia from loved ones, try to find a person you trust to talk to about what's going on.

 

The real cause of anorexia is unknown. As with many diseases, it's probably a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors. Even though it's not yet clear which genes are involved, there may be genetic changes that make some people at higher risk of developing anorexia. Some people may have a genetic tendency toward perfectionism, sensitivity and perseverance, all traits associated with anorexia. Some people with anorexia may have obsessive-compulsive personality traits that make it easier to stick to strict diets and forgo food despite being hungry. They may have an extreme drive for perfectionism, which causes them to think they're never thin enough. And they may have high levels of anxiety and engage in restrictive eating to reduce it. Modern culture emphasizes thinness. Success and worth are often equated with being thin. Peer pressure may help fuel the desire to be thin, particularly among teen-age girls. When I look at thin models, I used to feel a desire to be thin like them. As I grew up, I expected who I am .

 

Anorexia is more common in girls and women. However, boys and men have increasingly developed eating disorders, possibly related to growing social pressures.

Anorexia is also more common among teenagers. Still, people of any age can develop this eating disorder, though it's rare in people over 40. Teens may be more at risk because of all the changes their bodies go through during puberty. They may also face increased peer pressure and be more sensitive to criticism or even casual comments about weight or body shape.

 

Certain factors increase the risk of anorexia,  like:

 

  • Genetics.
  • Dieting and starvation.
  • Life changes

 

Anorexia can have numerous complications, and can be fatal. Death may occur suddenly even when someone is not severely underweight. This may result from abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or an imbalance of electrolytes that are minerals such as sodium, potassium and calcium that maintain the balance of fluids in your body.

 

Other complications of anorexia are:

 

Anemia

Heart problems,

Bone loss (osteoporosis),

Loss of muscle

In women, absence of a menstrual cycle

In males, decreased testosterone

Gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, bloating or nausea

Electrolyte abnormalities, such as low blood potassium, sodium and chloride

Kidney problems

Depression, anxiety and other mood disorders

Personality disorders

Obsessive-compulsive disorders

Alcohol and substance misuse

Self-injury, suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts

 

There's no guaranteed way to prevent anorexia nervosa. Family doctors may be in a good position to identify early indicators of anorexia and prevent the development of full-blown illness. They can ask questions about eating habits and satisfaction with appearance during routine medical appointments. If you notice that a family member or friend has low self-esteem, severe dieting habits and dissatisfaction with appearance, you need to help them and talk about these issues. Although you may not be able to prevent an eating disorder from developing, you can talk about healthier behavior or treatment options.

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 21:33:00 +0530
Sarada Devi the woman behind Ramakrishna and Vivekananda s greatness

 

Anupama Nair

As a woman, freedom and empowerment of women is a topic close to my heart. I remember Rousseau’s famous statement during the French Revolution, “man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains”. But for men a lot changed but what has not changed is for women. So, we can correctly say “women are born free, but she is everywhere in chains”. Even in the 21st century there is not much change anywhere in the world. She is a victim of domestic violence, rape and many horrors. The US has the most cases of domestic violence in the world. To add to misery, religions play a huge part in their condition. Today I am going to write about the wife of  Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. Sarada Devi was a ‘spiritual giant’ like her husband and Naren who was like a son to her.

Sarada Devi was born on December 22, 1853 in Bengal. She was born as Saradamani Mukhopadhyaya, and was lovingly and reverentially addressed as the Holy Mother by the followers of the Ramakrishna Mission. She held an important role in the growth of the Ramakrishna Movement. Even though she was uneducated herself, she advocated education for women and entrusted Sister Nivedita to open a girls school so that they could study.

It is said that  from an early age she prayed to Mother Goddess to have ‘purity in abundance’. Looking at the full moon, she would always say: “O God, there are dark spots even on the moon. But make my character spotless.” Sarada Devi was born in Jayrambati, a small village near Calcutta. At the age of five, she was engaged to Sri Ramakrishna, whom she joined at Dakshineswar when she was eighteen years old. Even though married, both lived a life of unbroken celibacy, which was the ideal of the combination of a proper householder and the monastic ways of life. Ramakrishna’s frequent ‘spiritual ecstacies’ and unorthodox ways of worship led some people to doubt his mental stability, while others regarded him as a great saint. Sarada found Ramakrishna to be a kind and caring person. As a priest, Ramakrishna performed the ritual ceremony, the ‘Shodashi Puja’ where Sarada Devi was made to sit in the seat of goddess Kali and to Sri Ramakrishna Sarada Devi was the incarnation of Divine Mother, addressing her as Sri Maa and it was by this name that she was known to his disciples.

 

She woke up at 3 AM. After bathing in the Ganges river, she would practice japa (meditative repetition of a mantra or name of God) and meditation until daybreak. “Ramakrishna had taught her the sacred mantras, and instructed her how to initiate people and guide them in spiritual life”. Most of her time was spent in cooking for Ramakrishna and the growing number of his devotees. “While Sarada Devi remained completely in the background, her unassuming but warm personality attracted some female devotees to become her lifelong companions. Her life was very simple and, characterized by humility, modesty and a loving spiritual disposition”.

During Ramakrishna’s last days, when he suffered from throat cancer, Sarada Devi played an important role in nursing him and preparing suitable food for him and his disciples. It is said that after Ramakrishna’s death in August 1886, when Sarada Devi tried to remove her bracelets as the widows do, she had a vision of Ramakrishna in which he said, “I have not passed away, I have just gone from one room to another.” According to her, whenever she thought of dressing like a widow, she had a vision of Ramakrishna asking her not to do so.

 

After Ramakrishna’s death Sarada Devi was deeply respected by Swami Vivekanda and other monks of the Ramakrishna Mission, and she continued to play an important role in the emerging religious movement. She remained the spiritual guide of the movement for the next three decades. Ramakrishna had asked her to continue his mission after his death and wanted his disciples not to make any distinction between himself and her.

 

Before Mother Sarada’s death  in 1920, she gave a long-remembered advice to her grief-stricken devotees, “But I tell you one thing—if you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger my child: this whole world is your own!”.

There is a story told about her. When the young Sarada was walking through the meadows with several companions for the journey to the river Ganga for a holy bath, she could not keep pace with the sturdier men and women, and she was left to trail behind. A bandit appeared from nowhere and asked her threatening questions. With a smile she said “father I am going to take bath in the Ganga, but my companions have gone ahead.” The sweet and gentle words softened the hard-hearted robber whose childless wife then appeared on the scene. With great affection, Sarada was taken into a humble wayside shop where they rendered her their sweet and sincere service. The next day, the bandit “father” took his adopted daughter to Dakshineswar with great care. The “son-in-law”, Sri Ramakrishna, on hearing the story, paid great respect to this strange “father-in-law”. Such a great woman she was!

 

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 21:28:23 +0530
Great Women of India and the World A trip down Memory Lane

 

Anupama Nair

As a woman, freedom and empowerment of women is a topic close to my heart. I remember Rousseau’s famous statement during the French Revolution, “man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains”. But for men a lot changed but what has not changed is for women. So, we can correctly say “women are born free, but she is everywhere in chains”. Even in the 21st century there is not much change anywhere in the world. She is a victim of domestic violence, rape and many horrors. The US has the most cases of domestic violence in the world. To add to misery, religions play a huge part in their condition.

Abbaka Chowta

The first European to enter India through the Indian Ocean was Vasco Da Gama. He reached Calicut in 1499. During the early part of the sixteenth century, the Portuguese were successfully carrying out trade in coastal India. However, with time their imperialist motives became clear and slowly by slowly, they began their reign of terror. If you thought Mughals, Khiljis or the British were cruel, Portuguese will emerge the winners. Goa and Brazil were the main victims. Much of the trade carried on in the Western coast of India was taxed by the Portuguese who looked to advance upon Ullal near Mangalore Port, (Karnataka). That is how they came to face Abbakka their nemesis.

Abbakka Chowta inherited the throne through the matriarchal system of inheritance followed by her community called Aliyasantana. Prior to her succession she was married to Lakshmappa Arasa, the King of Banga and had three daughters. However, she continued to remain at Ullal, her capital. Rani Abbakka was quite aware of the Portuguese threat and sought peace at first. However, she refused to pay any tax to the Portuguese administrators. The Portuguese in 1527 attacked Ullal several times in succession but in vain were defeated each time. In the end they only managed to capture it for a short time. The escaped queen returned the favor by raiding the Portuguese camp at night and slaughtering many. The defeated Portuguese then managed to influence Abbakka’s resentful husband into refusing to give her any aid. Unable to defeat the queen after several attempts of treachery, eventually the Portuguese launched a surprise attack with a large army in Ullal in 1570. Abbakka Chowta immediately rode to combat but was severely injured and captured. She continued her fight in captivity and died as a martyr. Her daughters continued her fight against the Portuguese after her death. As a result, Portuguese rule was limited to Goa and finally forced to leave in 1961.

Ahilyabai Holkar

Ahilyabai Holkar was the hereditary noble sardar of the Maratha Empire. Ahilyabai was born in the village of Chondi, Ahmednagar (Maharashtra). Ahilyabai's husband Khande Rao Holkar was killed in the battle of Kumher in 1754. Twelve years later, her father-in-law, Malhar Rao Holkar died. A year after that she took over the affairs of Holkar kingdom. She tried to protect her land from the plundering invaders. She personally led armies into the battle.

Ahilyabai was a great pioneer and builder of temples. She built hundreds of temples and Dharmashalas throughout India. Her greatest achievement was to rebuild the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in 1780, which was dedicated to Bhagwan Mahadev; the presiding deity of the holy city of Varanasi, that had been demolished by cruelest Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in 1696.

Among Ahilyabai's accomplishments was the development of Indore from a small village to a prosperous and beautiful city. She also developed nearby Maheshwar, a town on the banks of the Narmada river. She also built forts and roads in Malwa, and sponsored festivals and gave donations to temples. Outside Malwa, she built many temples, ghats, wells, tanks and rest-houses across an area stretching from the Himalayas to pilgrimage centers in South India.  She was also considered as a pioneer in education of girls.

Velu Nachiyar

Velu Nachiyar was the first Indian queen to fight the British Imperialism. She was the only daughter of the King of Ramnad  (Tamil Nadu). She was born in 1730. In absence of any brothers, she was brought up like a prince with training in martial warfare and weaponry. The British had just started their conquest of India through the East India Company. The dream of the British East India was to capture the “sone ki chidiya”—India and become “the masters of the subcontinent from Khyber to Chittagong and Kashmir to Comorin (Kanya Kumari)”. For this they gained the support of the Nawab of Arcot (Tamil Nadu), Muhammad Ali Khan  who wanted to defeat the French Imperialists and Hyder Ali (father of Tipu Sultan), who was the Sultan of Mysore (Karnataka).

Velu Nachiyar was married to Muthuvaduganatha Periya, the King of Sivagangai (Tamil Nadu) who lost his life in the war between the British and the French in 1772. However, she escaped with her daughter. Just as all looked well for the British, in 1780 the queen returned with Hyder Ali as her ally and accompanied by a large army was prepared to fight the British again. She had found out where the British stored their ammunition and set it ablaze through a suicide attack when her army commander the great and brave woman Kuyili immolated herself in the storage.

Under her instructions her adopted daughter Udaiyaal blew up the British arsenal through another suicide attack. In the memory of Kuyili and Udaiyall, she formed a women’s army. Despite several attacks, she fought on and eventually seized Sivagangai. Thereafter, she imprisoned the Nawab of Arcot, who was later released to the British in exchange for Sivagangai’s independence. Velu Nachiyar is famous as “Veeramangai” as she remained the undefeated ruler of Sivagangai until her death in 1790.

Rani Chennamma

Rani Chennamma was born in Belgaum (Karnataka) in 1778 to the Lingayat community. She became the queen of Kittur district (Karnataka) after her marriage to Raja Mallasaraja and had a son by him. Unfortunately, the son did not live long. This was before the Doctrine of Lapse was codified by Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General of the East India Company, who then used paramountcy, as a flimsy excuse to grab Kittur, like every other Princely State in the Sub-continent.

Rani Chenamma had sent a letter to Mountstuart Elphinstone, Lieutenant-Governor of the Bombay Presidency to allow her adopted son whom she wanted to inherit the throne. When her request was turned down and the British administration advanced upon Kittur, they met with a fierce resistance from its queen in 1824. Rani Chenamma, not only won the war, but also imprisoned two British officials who were released in exchange of the promise of non-interference. This promise was ultimately broken in 1829 as the British East Indian Company attacked  Kittur with more reinforcements. While they suffered significant fatalities, Rani Chenamma was ultimately captured and breathed her last in their captivity the same year.

Avanti Bai

Avanti Bai of Ramgarh (present-day Dindor in Madhya Pradesh) is often compared to her contemporary Rani Laxmi Bai of Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh). It is quite astonishing that there are many similarities in their lives. Both were born outside royalty and subsequently married to kings. They assumed monarchy due to unusual circumstances in their families. Both died fighting to keep their respective states from the British Imperialism and both participated in the First War of Indian Independence (1857).

However, there were some differences too, as no two people can be the same. Avanti Bai was born into the Lodhi community which was on the lower rungs of feudalism. She was widowed in 1851 when her husband Lakshman Singh died and her two minor sons unfit to inherit the throne. The British refused to accept her son Vikramaditya Singh as the next ruler. Avanti Bai responded by throwing out the British administrator in Ramgarh and seizing regency of the throne. Swiftly she requested the help of neighboring kings and managed to gather an army of four thousand. She met the British army in combat near Mandla where she defeated but could not kill the British commander. Humiliated by  the defeat, the British retaliated with a huge army which she fought fiercely. Upon facing imminent loss, the brave queen committed suicide by using her sword. Even drawing her last breath, she refused to reveal the names of her supporters.

Rani Lakshmibai

What is Indian history without Manikarnika or Lakshmibai, the brave queen of Jhansi? With immense pride I am writing about her. Even today, for every Indian she is the icon for the freedom struggle against the British Raj for Indian Independence.

Manikarnika was born in Benares (Manikarnika Ghat), in 1828 as Manikarnika Tambe and was nicknamed Manu. Her father was Moropant Tambe, and her mother Bhagirathi Sapre. Her mother died when she was four-year old. Her father was working with Peshwa Baji Rao II in Bithoor (near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh). The Peshwa called her "Chhabili", which means "playful". She was educated at home, able to read and write, and was more independent in her childhood than many others of her age. Her studies included shooting, horsemanship, fencing with her childhood friends Nana Sahab and Tatya Tope.

She married the King of Jhansi, Gangadhar Rao and as per tradition given a new name Lakshmibai. She  was widowed without bearing an heir to the throne, as her son Damodar Rao died as a baby. Just before his death the King adopted a boy Anand Rao, also renamed as Damodar Rao, as his heir. Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General of India, refused to recognize the adopted heir and annexed Jhansi in accordance with the Doctrine of Lapse. An agent of the East Indian Company, was posted in the small kingdom to look after administrative matters. When she was informed of this she cried out " I shall not surrender my Jhansi”. In March 1854, Rani Lakshmibai was ordered to leave the palace and the fort by the Administrator.

She returned to Jhansi, when the First War of Independence started in May 1857. From August 1857 to January 1858 Jhansi under the Rani's rule was at peace. The British who was fighting the rebellion could do nothing. They summoned their greatest war hero, General Hugh Rose to fight against the queen. Sir Hugh Rose commanding the British forces, demanded the surrender of the city , and threatened if this was refused it would be destroyed. Rani refused and said that after due deliberation she issued a proclamation, "We fight for independence”. She defended Jhansi against British troops when Sir Hugh Rose besieged Jhansi on 23 March 1858.

The company’s forces surrounded the fort of Jhansi, and a fierce battle raged. Offering stiff resistance to the invading forces, Lakshmi Bai did not surrender even after her troops were overwhelmed and the rescuing army of Tatya Tope, was defeated at the Battle of Betwa. Lakshmi Bai managed to escape from the fort with a Damodar Rao, on her back on her favorite horse Badal, and is still in our memory. A small force of palace guards left with her and headed eastward, where other leaders joined her.

Tatya Tope and Lakshmi Bai then mounted a successful assault on the city-fortress of Gwalior, and the Scindia the ruler ran away to London. The treasury and the arsenal were seized, and Nana Sahib, a prominent leader, was proclaimed as the Peshwa. After taking Gwalior, Lakshmi Bai marched east to Morar to confront a British counterattack led by Sir Rose. Dressed as a man, she fought a fierce battle and was killed in combat on 17 June 1858, in Kotah-ki-Serai near the Phool Bagh in Gwalior.

The British captured the city of Gwalior, after three days of her martyrdom. Sir Hugh Rose commented “personable, clever and beautiful" and she is "the most dangerous of all Indian leaders”. Colonel Malleson said “Whatever her faults in British eyes may have been, her countrymen will ever remember that she was driven by ill-treatment into rebellion, and that she lived and died for her country, we cannot forget her contribution for India.”

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, a great poetess wrote “Khub ladi mardani, woh to Jhansi wali Rani thi”.  On the 164th year of the Great War of Independence, let us remember her and others like Bhagat Singh, Khudiram Bose, Netaji Subhash Bose, Veer Savarkar, and Sardar Patel, who sacrificed their lives so that we could be a free nation. But are we forgetting them in our busy slives?

 

Sun, 18 Sep 2022 21:23:10 +0530
RIP King s English

 

Anupama Nair

To speak global English i.e., the English which is easily understood everywhere in the world, is a dream of most people. But that is easier said than done. No one can dispute the assertive position of English as a communicative language in the world today. It is enjoying the status of medium of instruction as well as compulsory subject in many parts of the world. The failure rate of the students learning English, is increasing which is deplorable. The failure in English, means the failure in the public examinations and all other walks of life.

The English language is one of the most popular languages to learn, and is perhaps the most spoken language around the world, and many people choose to learn the language simply to place them in a better position to secure work, or communicate more effectively with more people from around the globe. English might be a popular language to learn, but this doesn't necessarily mean it is a simple language to master, and there are many challenges people face while learning English and if you are aware of these challenges beforehand you stand a much greater chance of mastering the language.

The major hurdles faced by foreign speakers of English are:

  • Literal translation from vernacular language to English and vice-versa.
  • Grammatical and phonetical errors.
  • Uses of phrases and expressions in the wrong context or place.

 

What foreign users do is literally translate from their native language to English, forgetting that English is spoken differently. English has part of speech which should be used in a particular place only.

 

How to Think English

 

  • Start using small and simple sentences. Start your day with “good morning”, “how are you doing today?’’
  • Make conversation with others.
  • Get creative and use alternative words if you are struck on a word.
  • Build your vocabulary by reading good books and watching movies and documentaries.
  • Use English to English Dictionary

English Grammar is complex, making it so difficult to remember, master and use logically. When I was in Middle School, we learnt grammar using the famous Wren and Martin, which ensured I learnt to master the Queen’s English. Nowadays, Wren and Martin is no longer in the curriculum, and the result is there for all to see. I would be correct to say “RIP Wren and Martin and good English”. The usage of correct grammar can be tricky, especially when you are in conversation with someone and they speak at an alarmingly fast pace. Learning grammar is like learning swimming, you can learn all of the theory, rules and regulations, but you won’t be good at it unless you practice it and it starts to become like a second nature to you. Grammar is extremely important, and incorrect use of grammar can confuse the person you are speaking to and even change the meaning of what you are trying to communicate. English speakers are incredibly proud of the language and look negatively on it being used incorrectly.

 

 These are some grammatical errors people in the Indian subcontinent use:

 

What are you discussing about? (what are you discussing?)

I am going to give an exam. (I am going to take/write an exam.)

I saw a dream. (I had a dream.)

I am having four brothers and three sisters. (I have 4 brothers and 3 sisters.)

Myself John Smith (I am John Smith.)

What’s your good name? (What’s your name.)

There are some expressions used in the wrong context in the Indian Subcontinent:

Expire for dead

Cousin Brother/Sister

Pass out for graduating from College

Would be for fiancé

Picture for movie

Wedding anniversary for marriage anniversary

Comprise of instead of comprise

Explain me instead of explain to me

Revert back for revert

            

English has one of the biggest vocabularies -- more than any other language, and it can be very confusing for non-English speakers to master. Using wrong vocabulary is easily noticeable to anyone who’s first language is English.

 

The next hurdle is pronunciation as English words can be very difficult to pronounce as it isn't always obvious. Furthermore, depending on the first language of the English student, it can often be difficult to pronounce certain words properly, having not ever had to create that phonetic sound before.

 

For example, these words are pronounced as:

 

DENGUE (dengi)

TIER (tear)

BICYCLE (bi-si-kul)

PLUMBER (plu-muh)

WEDNESDAY (wen-sday)

TUESDAY (chooz-dei)

CAREER (kuh-riah)

TUITION (twishn)

VILLAGE (vil-idj)

PAPER (peipe)

VINEYARD (vin-yed)

YATCH (yot)

RENDEZVOUZ (rondevu)

DEBRIS (debri:)

TOUR (tua)

FAUX PAS (fau-pa)

DEBUT (debyu)

CHAOS (kaos)

When I hear English being murdered as a British friend Roger Anderson told me I think of the poor professor in the blockbuster series “Mind Your Language”. Roger believes by murdering English, the former colonies are taking their revenge on England and the Language. I sure agree with him as I feel a similar pain, when I see my beloved English being murdered every day in India and elsewhere in the world.

Sat, 17 Sep 2022 22:24:29 +0530
Bathu ki ladi a mysterious temple of Incredible India

 

Anupama Nair

Popular for its beautiful vegetation and snow-clad mountains Dev Bhoomi, India is also home to mysterious and unique places that is deep rooted in history and culture. Bathu ki Ladi temple in the state of Himachal Pradesh is one such place. What makes this temple a place worth visiting is the fact that this temple remains submerged in water for eight months of the year. It is mainly a clutter of six different temples, and even has connection to the Mahabharata. Most of you must not be even aware of the existence of this hidden temple. So, I thought of writing about this hidden beauty in Himachal.

Many secrets and mysteries are connected to this temple. This temple has been constructed in such a way that after twilight, the dying rays of the sun seems to touch the holy feet of the Lord Mahadev. Even after being submerged in water for such a long period, you won’t notice any major damage to the structure of the temple. It is because the temple is made up of a powerful stone called ‘bathu’. “It’s an enticing sight, looking at the temple which is mostly covered in water and only a few towering pillars can be seen trying to reach out”.

According to the local legends, it was built by a local king who ruled the region around 800 AD. Many stories about the origin of the temples are well known among the folklore. Some sources say that temple was built by Pandavas when they attempted to build a staircase to ascend to Heaven at monolithic Masrur Rock Temples located at the opposite side of the lake but the King of Gods Indira intervened. However, the Pandavas successfully built the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ at Bathu ki Ladi temples where that staircase still exists and you can climb to the top most part to have a feel of the place. The central temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The best time to visit the submerged Bathu ki Ladi temples is in winters when water recedes.

It is situated close to Pong Dam, around three kilometers from Dhameta, which is a small town in district of Kangra. The temple remains under water from July to February, and can only be witnessed and visited between the months of March and June. As the water level of Pong Dam Lake rises, the temple becomes a part of underwater world.

You can see figures of Goddess Kali and Lord Ganesha carved on the stones, while inside the temple you’ll notice Lord Vishnu’s statue resting on his Shesh Naag.

If you are someone who loves nature and wishes to spend some time away far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife, then you’ll definitely love the location of Battu temples. This place is a also a paradise for birdwatchers as Pong Dam wetland is renowned for being home to a wide range of migratory birds, with more than 200 bird species seeking refuge.

So, pack your bags and travel to this submerged paradise in Incredible India.

Sat, 17 Sep 2022 22:14:05 +0530
Narendra Modi Bharat ka Veer Putra ko Happy Birthday

 

Anupama Nair

Bharat Maa has given birth to many great sons and daughters who lived and died for their motherland. Hira Ben, a great woman of Gujarat gave birth to a Kohinoor – Narendra, named after a great saint Narendra Dutta aka Swami Vivekananda. Our great Prime Minister was born on 17th September 1950 to a Gujarati family of grocers in Vadnagar, Gujarat. His father was Damodardas Mulchand Modi. In fact, he was the first Indian Prime Minister born in Independent India.

Modi helped his father sell tea at the Vadnagar railway station when he was a child, and he later ran a tea stall with his brother near a bus terminus. He completed his higher secondary education in Vadnagar in 1967, where a teacher quoted him as “an average student and a keen debater, with interest in theatre”. He had an extra-ordinary skill for rhetoric in debates and preferred playing larger-than-life characters in theatrical productions, which later influenced in creating his political image.

He was introduced to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the tender age of 8 and began attending the local shakhas . There, Modi met Lakshmanrao Inamdar, also known as Vakil Saheb, who initiated him as a balaswayamsevak in the RSS and later became his political guru. While Modi was training with the RSS, he had the good fortune to meet Vasant Gajendragadkar and Nathalal Jaghda, who were then the leaders of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, who later were founding members of the Bhartiya Janata Party’s Gujarat unit in 1980.

He was engaged to a girl, Jashodaben Chimanlal Modi, and they were married when she was 17 and he was 18. Soon afterwards he left home, and the couple went onto lead separate lives, neither marrying again, and the marriage itself unmentioned in Modi's public pronouncements for many decades. In April 2014, shortly before the Lok Sabha elections which he won with majority, he publicly confirmed that he was married and the couple has remained married, but estranged.

Modi then spent the subsequent two years travelling across Northern and North-eastern India, and not much details of where he went are available. However, Modi said he visited Hindu ashrams founded by Swami Vivekananda -- the Belur Math near Calcutta, the Advaita Ashrama in Almora and the Ramakrishna Mission in Rajkot. He was deeply inspired by the other Narendra -- Swami Vivekananda. In 1969, Modi returned to Vadnagar for a brief visit before leaving for Ahmedabad. He lived with his uncle, working in his canteen at the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation.

In Ahmedabad, Modi again met Inamdar, who was at the Hedgewar Bhavan (RSS headquarters) in the city. Modi's first known political activity as an adult was in 1971 when he joined a Jana Sangh satyagraha in Delhi led by the former Prime Minister the great Atal Bihari Vajpayee to enlist for the battlefield.  After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, he stopped working for his uncle and became a full-time pracharak for the RSS working under Inamdar. Shortly before the war, Modi took part in a non-violent protest against the then Indian government in New Delhi, for which he was arrested. This had been the main reason cited as a reason for Inamdar selecting to mentor him. Many years later Modi wrote a biography of Inamdar, that was published in 2001. In 1978 Modi graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the School of Open Learning from the University of Delhi.  In 1983, he got a master’s degree in political science from Gujarat University.

In June 1975, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in India which lasted for 2 years . Many of her political opponents were jailed and opposition groups were banned.  Shortly afterwards, the RSS was banned. Modi was forced to go underground in Gujarat and frequently travelled in disguise to avoid arrest. He became involved in printing pamphlets that opposed the government, and later organized demonstrations. He was also involved in creating a network of safe houses for individuals wanted by the government, and in raising funds for political refugees and activists. During this period, Modi wrote a book Sangharsh Ma Gujarat (The Struggles of Gujarat), that narrated the events during the Emergency.

Modi rose within the party and was named a member of the BJP's National Election Committee in 1990, and he helped in organizing L.K. Advani's Ram Rath Yatra in 1990 and Murli Manohar Joshi's Ekta Yatra (Journey for Unity) in 1992. However, he took a brief break from politics in 1992, and established a school in Ahmedabad. Modi returned to electoral politics in 1994, partly at the insistence of Advani, and as party secretary, Modi's electoral strategy was considered central to the BJP victory in the 1995 state assembly elections.

In November 1995, Modi was elected BJP national secretary and transferred to New Delhi, where he assumed responsibility for party activities in the states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Modi was promoted to the post of general secretary of the BJP in May 1998.

Modi became the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, and remained in office till 2014 till he was elected as Prime Minister of India. As the Chief Minister, Modi favored privatization and in his view it was the way for development of the state. His policies during his second term have been credited with reducing corruption in the state. He established financial and technology parks in Gujarat and during the 2007 Vibrant Gujarat Summit, real-estate investment deals worth ₹6.6 trillion were signed.

The Modi government completed the process of bringing electricity to every village in Gujarat. Modi significantly changed the state's system of power distribution, greatly impacting farmers. Gujarat expanded the Jyotigram Yojana scheme, in which agricultural electricity was separated from other rural electricity, the agricultural electricity was rationed to fit scheduled irrigation demands, reducing its cost. The state's GDP growth rate averaged 10% during Modi's tenure, a value similar to other highly industrialized states, and above that of the country as a whole.

In September 2013, Modi was named the BJP's candidate for prime minister ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Modi played a dominant role in the BJP's election campaign. Many people who voted for the BJP stated that if Modi had not been the prime-ministerial candidate, they would have voted for another party. The focus on Modi as an individual was unusual for a BJP election campaign. The election was described as ‘a referendum on Narendra Modi’.

The party won 31% of the vote share and more than doubled its tally in the Lok Sabha to 282, seats becoming the first party to win a majority of seats on its own since 1984. Modi, who was unanimously elected leader of the BJP, was appointed Prime Minister of the country. He was re-elected in 2019 with a thumping majority. According to international survey, he is currently the most popular leader in the world. Many countries, like United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Maldives, Palestine, Bahrein  and Afghanistan honored him by giving him the highest civilian award in their country.

It is to be noted that the great Nostradamus predicted Modi’s rise to power. He stated “that a person from India with a spiritual background and the name of a saint will make the country great again. This is also true with India becoming a world leader under the rule of our charismatic Prime Minister. Happy Birthday Modiji, you sure are my inspiration.

 

 

Sat, 17 Sep 2022 22:05:18 +0530
Tips for confident public speaking

Tips for confident public speaking

Anupama Nair

What is communication? Communication is the backbone of our life. It allows you to form “connections, influence decisions, and motivate change”. It is true that without excellent communication skills, it is difficult to advance in your career or life itself. Public speaking is a good way of building or developing your personality on many levels, since improving communication skills is helpful in almost every walk of life. Skill in public speaking can help you meet your goal whether your goal is to engage in political debate, or make a career as a motivational speaker or gain confidence in front of an audience.

Public speaking is one of the most important and most dreaded forms of communication. Have you heard the term glossophobia? Glossophobia or speech anxiety, is the most common phobia, people have across the world. It is alright if you do not have much skills in effective communication till high school, but when you are starting or already have a career in your life, public speaking is a vital skill to have and to improve. “It effects simple, everyday interactions between co-workers, bosses and employees, marketing professionals and clients, etc., and it can have an enormous impact on your career path and your level of success in your industry”.

There are many reasons why public speaking is important. They are:

To win over the crowd:

The ability to win over the crowd is an important skill to have in business -- especially in the public relations arena. To win over the crowd you need the skill of persuasion, and it can carry you far and it all starts by refining the public speaking skills. If you master the art of public speaking the result is an increase in confidence and with that, a cool and collected presence in front of an audience. Of course, it is necessary to be well-informed about the subject you are presenting, but beyond that,” while making a persuasive speech of any kind, including a sales pitch to a client, you need to be prepared to answer the opposition, and to speak with poise”.

To make a strong case, the ability to speak publicly is not only important, but also essential to make strides forward. “For example, in order to express why a certain product or idea would be an interesting topic to an editor of a publication, one must use strong enough, convincing language to elicit intrigue and curiosity. A great pitch will persuade the consumer or editor to want to know more. While addressing any audience with an idea or argument for or against something, public speaking allows you to make your case compellingly and convincingly”.

To motivate people:

A great public speaker achieves the power to motivate his or her audience to do something, not do something, change a behavior, or work towards your goal. However, to put an idea forward, you should be able to excite and cheer your audience. Who are public speakers? “Public speakers are leaders who are able to inspire their audience to work harder to achieve their goals”. As a public speaker, your role is to influence your audience and create an environment where everyone walks out ready to roll. You are not merely giving a speech in the attempt to get your audience to take a certain action; speakers are part of the action and can convey their passion and drive. It is not enough to simply know about the issues at hand but to make your audience share your passion. Elections have been won simply because one candidate was a better public speaker than the other like Modi ji and Kennedy for example. Though, knowledge about the topic is necessary, but more important point, being able to arouse passion in people through skilled public speaking will motivate your audience to make a move.  “When people talk about having a voice in the world, they mean having an impact on the world by voicing your thoughts and your knowledge in an exciting way”. A mastery of public speaking allows you to relate to the audience and gain their trust. As a skilled public speaker, you become likable and believable, and you will be able to inspire and even entertain the crowd.

To inform people:

‘The ability to inform’ is one of the most important aspects of public speaking. “From presenting research papers and PowerPoint presentations in school to presenting ideas to your superiors or client, informative public speaking is a vital component of a successful career across all work fields”. Once you have their attention, a good informative speech, sharing your knowledge of a subject with an audience, enhances their understanding and makes them remember your words long after you’ve finished.

For example, you might be asked to instruct a group of coworkers on how to use new computer software or to address your employees on company events. Whether it is giving demonstrations or sharing an area of expertise, this form of public speaking is an essential skill in today’s world.

According to a study conducted by sociologist, Andrew Zekeri, “oral communication skills were the number one skill that college graduates found useful in the business world”. Communication skills enhances a person’s ability to interact with professionals and fellow colleagues in a qualified and composed manner.

Career advancement:

Effective public speaking skills can help you with career advancement, “as they indicate creativity, critical thinking skills, leadership abilities, poise, and professionalism, qualities which are very valuable for the job market.

Speaking at events and conferences is a good way of building credibility. The more well known the event the better, as you can add these speaking achievements to your resume.

Public speaking can also help you stand out at work. You'll learn to speak up in meetings, to promote your ideas, and to present yourself as a professional. Speaking skills can also help you excel in job interviews.

After speaking at a few events, people will remember you and begin to see you as an authoritative figure in the area of your expertise. Soon you’ll find getting new clients and business from people who were your audience.

Boost confidence:

Public speaking helps in boosting your confidence, overcoming the fears and insecurities that is part and parcel of public speaking. Additionally, connecting with audiences can be a strong reminder that you have valuable insights and opinions to share with the rest of the world. The confidence levels will grow once you start speaking -- starting from speaking to small groups of people and then to large audiences. This will benefit you not just on stage, but in everyday life as well, whether it be in a meeting or on a date.

A research conducted by North Carolina Cooperative Extension from age group 9 to 18, who participated in a public speaking program found that public speaking increased confidence of a person. The study revealed that achieving a goal was an important factor when it came to increasing the confidence of an audience. It is inevitable that nervousness that comes with speaking in front of an audience won’t entirely disappear, however it will teach you how to deal with your fears and turn your weakness into strength.

Critical thinking:

Public speaking is an excellent way to build the critical thinking skills. Writing a speech requires a great deal of careful thinking, i.e., from the audience analysis to the final closing sentence. It's just not enough to have a message for the audience, you also need to figure out how to adapt the message to fit the needs of the audience.

“How can you make your points relevant to your listeners? How can you help the audience understand your views? If you start thinking critically about your speaking style, you may find ways to improve your general communication style at home and at work”.

Personality Development:

Communication skills are very important for your personal and professional success and improving this area is one of the greatest benefits of public speaking. Preparing a speech makes it mandatory for speakers to take a step back and think critically about effective ways of communication. In fact, it’s easy to fall back on your communication skills we formed many years ago.

Improve communication skills

Always remember when you write a speech, you have to think carefully about the best framework, persuasive strategy, and diction to communicate your message to the audience. This helps in you improving your communication skills in other areas of your life.

Personal relationships, social interactions and work situations require you to communicate ideas to other people. Public speaking stresses on communicating ideas. You can learn to calmly take up an opposing view, to present your ideas in an organized and coherent manner, and to defend your views to others.

Make new social connections:

Public speaking engagements are good places to meet other people with whom you have common interests. You’ll find that people approach you after  a presentation to engage in conversation and this helps to make new social connections. Try to mingle with the audience for as long as you can after your speech, answering questions and seeking fresh perspectives on your topic.

You need to give audience the option of getting in touch with you at a later date by listing contact information on handouts or slides. If you have a website, request audience to find more information there.

If there are many speakers in a single event, reach out to your fellow presenters. Congratulate them or, if you miss a talk, ask how it went. There are lots of opportunities for networking in the realm of public speaking, so plan ahead and make use of them.

Thu, 15 Sep 2022 15:45:00 +0530
Career Management an overview

Anupama Nair

Having a good career is an individual's metaphorical ‘journey’ through learning, work and other aspects of his/her life. What is career? As per Oxford Dictionary “career is a person’s course or progress through life or a distinct portion of life”. So, we can relate ‘career’ to a range of aspects of an individual's life, learning, and work. The word ‘career’ is derived from the Latin word ‘carrus’, which means chariot.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary in 1803, the  word career meant "course of one's public or professional life", and it is used in dozens of books published in the year 1800, which was in reference to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's literary career, business career and professional career, and then the phrase began to be regularly used by the year 1800. Who was Goethe? Goethe was a famous German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, critic, and amateur artist, considered the greatest German literary figure of the modern era.

Career management is the combination of structured planning and the active management choice of one's own professional journey. Career Management is a term that includes, Career Planning, Career Development either on an individual or at an organizational level. Career management also talks about talent management, as part of a talent retention strategy. Career management, was in 1978, first defined in a doctoral thesis by Mary Valentich “as the implementation of a career strategy through the application of career tactics in relation to chosen career orientation”.

By Career orientation I mean the overall design or pattern of one's career, shaped by particular goals and interests and are identifiable by particular positions that embody these goals and interests. Career strategy pertains to the individual's general approach to the realization of career goals, and to the specificity of the goals themselves. Two general strategy approaches used are adaptive and planned. Career tactics are actions to maintain oneself in a satisfactory employment situation. Tactics may be more or less assertive, with assertiveness in the work situation referring to actions taken to advance one's career interests or to exercise one's legitimate rights while respecting the rights of others.

According to Valentich and Gripton success is managing one's career effectively through the attainment of the desired positions and other rewards. The outcome of successful career management includes personal fulfillment, work–life balance, goal achievement, and financial security. “A career includes all types of employment ranging from semi-skilled through skilled, and semi-professional to professional”. Careers have often been restricted to an employment commitment to a single trade skill, profession or business firm for the entire working life of a person. However, in modern times, a career includes changes or modifications in employment during the foreseeable future.

The career management process begins with setting goals or objectives. A relatively specific goal or objective must be formulated. This task may be quite difficult when an individual lacks knowledge of career opportunities and is not fully aware of their talents and abilities. The entire career management process is based on the establishment of defined goals whether specific or general in nature. Utilizing career assessments may be a crucial step in identifying opportunities and career paths that most resonate with someone.

 

 

Thu, 15 Sep 2022 15:38:41 +0530
Ramakrishna the Guru of The Monk Who Changed the Perception of Bharat to the West

Anupama Nair

The story of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is a story of religion in practice. His life embraces us to see God face to face. We cannot read the story of his life without being convinced that God alone is real and the rest is illusion. He was the living embodiment of Godliness, and his sayings are not those of a learned man, but they are the pages from the book of his life. They are revelations of his own experiences. In today’s world of skepticism, he is a living example of bright and living faith, which gives solace to us, in this troubled times if we bother to read his books. Ramakrishna’s life was a lesson in Ahimsa or non-violence. His love encompassed all and knew no limits.

He is the Guru of Swami Vivekanand. He is responsible for converting Narendra Dutta to Swami Vivekananda. Swamiji is one of the persons who has inspired me in every aspect of my life. Just reading his book “My India, Eternal India” on a train journey changed my views of my great Bharat Maa. In the words of a disciple of Swamiji Sister Christine “Our love for India came to birth, I think, when we first heard him (Swami Vivekananda) say the word, "India", in that marvelous voice of his. It seems incredible that so much could have been put into one small word of five letters. It seems incredible that so much could have been put into one small word of five letters. There was love, passion, pride, longing, adoration, tragedy, chivalry, and again love. Whole volumes could not have produced such a feeling in others. It had the magic power of creating love in those who heard it.” The result was me--, a big fan of the Western life and philosophy began to look towards my own country of birth.

I came to know about Sri Ramakrishna as my family for years were associated with the Ramakrishna Mission and a visit to the Mission was frequent in childhood. When I grew up, I worked as a teacher for the Rama Krishna Mission, Jamshedpur. That was the first time I saw a school, where children who could not afford to pay the school fees were not penalized. The education provided to the children was of highest quality. From Jamshedpur, I had the good fortune to visit Dakshineshwar and the Belur Mutt.

He was born as born Gadadhar Chattopadhyaya in February 1836 in the village of Kamarpukur in the Hoogly district of the Indian state of Bengal, into a very poor, pious, and orthodox Brahmin family. Kamarpukur was undamaged by the glamour of a city and contained paddy fields, tall palms trees, royal banyans, a few lakes etc., unlike Calcutta. His parents were Khudiram Chattopadhyay and Chandramani Devi. It is believed that Sri Ramakrishna's parents experienced supernatural incidents and visions before his birth. In Gaya, his father Khudiram had a dream in which Lord Vishnu or  Gadadhara appeared and said that he would be born as his son. Chandramani Devi  had a vision of light entering her womb from a Shiva temple. The family was devoted to Hindu Lord Rama, and all their male children were given names --Ramkumar, Rameshwar, and Ramakrishna.

He rejected the traditional method of schooling, but was well versed in Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas etc. He however, was a  talented boy, and could sing and paint well. He was fond of serving holy men and listening to their discourses. He was often found to be absorbed in spirituality. At the age of six, he experienced the “first ecstasy” while watching a flight of white cranes moving against the background of black clouds near a paddy field. This tendency to enter into ecstasy intensified with age. His father’s death when he was only seven years old, served to deepen his introspection and increase his detachment from the samsara or the world.

 

When Sri Ramakrishna was sixteen, his elder brother Ramkumar took him to Calcutta to assist him in his priestly duties. In 1855, the Kali Temple at Dakshineswar was built by Rani Rasmani  (a rich zamindarin) , was sanctified and Ramkumar became the chief priest there. When he died a few months later, Ramakrishna was appointed as the priest. Ramakrishna developed intense devotion to Mother Kali and spent hours in loving adoration, forgetting the rituals of the temple and his priestly duties. His intense longing concluded into the vision of Mother Kali as boundless effulgence engulfing everything around him.

To the world who has seen many intoxication – alcohol, power, money, god-intoxicated state was new. This state alarmed his relatives in Kamarpukur and they got him married to Sarada, a girl from the neighboring village of Jayrambati. After his marriage, Sri Ramakrishna plunged into even more intense spiritual practices and impelled by a strong inner urge to experience the different aspects of God he was helped by a series of Gurus who taught him the various paths described in the Hindu scriptures, and he realized God through each one of them. His first guru in 1861 was a remarkable woman known as Bhairavi Brahmani who was well versed in scriptures. With her help Sri Ramakrishna practiced various difficult disciplines of the Tantrik path, and attained success in all of them. Three years later came a wandering monk by name Totapuri, under whose guidance Sri Ramakrishna attained Nirvikalpa Samadhi, the highest spiritual experience mentioned in the Hindu scriptures. He remained in that state of non-dual existence for six months without the least awareness of even his own body. In this way, Sri Ramakrishna relived the entire range of spiritual experiences of more than three thousand years of Hindu religion within a few years. Remarkable isn’t it!

With his voracious thirst for God, Sri Ramakrishna broke the frontiers of Hinduism, he glided through the paths of Islam and Christianity, and attained the highest realization through each one of them in a short span of time. He looked upon Jesus and Buddha as incarnations of God, and venerated the ten Sikh Gurus. He expressed the quintessence of his twelve-year-long spiritual realizations in a simple belief “Yato mat, tato path (As many faiths, so many paths)”. He now habitually lived in an exalted state of consciousness in which he saw God in all beings.

In 1872, Sarada, who was now nineteen years old, came from the village to meet him. He received her cordially, and taught her how to attend the household duties and at the same time lead a spiritual life. It is said, one night he worshipped her as the Divine Mother in his room at the Dakshineswar temple. Although, Sarada continued to stay with him, they lived pure lives, and their marital relationship was only spiritual. They never lived like a married couple. It should be mentioned here that Sri Ramakrishna had been ordained a Sannyasi, and he observed the basic vows of a monk to perfection. But outwardly he lived like any lay man -- humble, loving and with childlike simplicity. During Sri Ramakrishna’s stay at Dakshineswar, Rani Rasmani acted as his patron and  after her death, her son-in-law Mathur Nath Biswas took care of his needs.

Sri Ramakrishna’s name began to spread across the country. Mathur (son-in-law) of Rani Rasmani) convened an assembly of scholars, and they declared him to be the Avatar of the Modern Age. In those days, the socio-religious movement known as Brahmo Samaj (founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy), was  very popular in Bengal. Brahmo Samaj was formed to reform the Hindu religion. His teaching on harmony of religions attracted many people belonging to different communities, and Dakshineswar became a “Parliament of Religions”.

In 1875, Sri Ramakrishna met the influential leader of Brahmo Samaj  Keshab Chandra Sen. Keshab had accepted Christianity, and had separated from the Adi Brahmo Samaj. Keshab had rejected idolatry, but under the influence of Ramakrishna he accepted Hindu polytheism and established the "New Dispensation"  or “Nava Vidhan”, based on Ramakrishna's principles of "Worship of God as Mother", "All religions are true" and "Assimilation of Hindu polytheism into Brahmoism". Sen published Ramakrishna's teachings in the journals of New Dispensation over a period of several years, that was instrumental in bringing Ramakrishna to the attention of a wider audience, especially the Bhadralok (English-educated classes of Bengal) and the Europeans residing in India.

Many of the prominent people of Calcutta, Pratap Chandra Mazumdar, Shivanath Shastri and Trailokyanath Sanyal visited him in the period from 1871–1885. Mazumdar was the author of the first English biography of Ramakrishna, “The Hindu Saint” in the “Theistic Quarterly Review (1879), that played a vital role in introducing Ramakrishna to Europeans like the German Indologist (study of India) Max Mueller. Newspapers of that time reported that Ramakrishna was spreading "Love" and "Devotion" among the educated classes of Bengal and that he had succeeded in reforming many youths with corrupt morals. Sri Ramakrishna also had interactions with Debendranath Tagore (father of Rabindranath Tagore), and the great Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, who was a renowned social worker. He had also met the founder of Arya Samaj, Dayanda Saraswati. Sri Ramakrishna was considered one of the main contributors to the Renaissance in India,

Then happened a chance meeting with a young student Narendranath Dutta, who was an atheist that changed the course of Indian history and world’s concept of India. Among the Europeans who were influenced by Sri Ramakrishna was the Principal of the  Scottish Church College, Calcutta Mr. William Hastie. While explaining the word trance in the poem “The Excursion” by William Wordsworth, Hastie told his students that if they wanted to know its "real meaning", they should go to "Ramakrishna of Dakshineswar." This prompted some of his students, including Naren to visit Ramakrishna.

It is said he asked several prominent Calcutta residents if they had come "face- to-face with God", but none of their answers gave him satisfaction. At this time, Narendra met Debendranath Tagore, and asked if he had seen God. Instead of answering his question, Tagore said "My boy, you have a Yogi’s eyes." According to Banhatti,  a historian it was Sri Ramakrishna who really answered Narendra's question, by saying "Yes, I see Him as I see you, only in an infinitely intense sense." It was also due to Sen that he met his Guru and idol Sri Ramakrishna in 1881.

In late 1881 or early 1882, Narendra went to Dakshineswar with two friends and met Sri Ramakrishna. This meeting proved to be a turning point in the life of Naren. Although, he did not initially accept Ramakrishna as his teacher and rebelled against his ideas, he was attracted by his personality and began to frequently visit him at Dakshineswar. He initially saw Sri Ramakrishna's ecstasies and visions as "mere figments of imagination" and "hallucinations". As a member of Brahmo Samaj, he opposed idol worship, polytheism and Ramakrishna's worship of Devi Kali. He even rejected the Advaita Vedanta of "identity with the absolute", and often ridiculed the idea. Narendra even tested Sri Ramakrishna, who faced his arguments patiently, "Try to see the truth from all angles", he replied to his shishya

Narendra's father's sudden death in 1884 left the family bankrupt, creditors began demanding the repayment of loans, and relatives threatened to evict the family from their ancestral home. Narendra, once a son of a well-to-do family, became one of the poorest students in his college. He unsuccessfully tried to find work and became an atheist. He found solace in Sri Ramakrishna and his visits to Dakshineswar became more frequent

One day, Narendra requested Sri Ramakrishna to pray to Devi Kali for their family's financial welfare. Ramakrishna advised him to go to the temple himself and pray. Following Sri Ramakrishna's suggestion, he went to the temple thrice, but failed to pray for any kind of worldly necessities and ultimately prayed for true knowledge and devotion from the Devi. Narendra gradually grew ready to renounce everything for the sake of God realization, and accepted Sri Ramakrishna as his Guru.

Sri Ramakrishna did not write any book, nor did he deliver public speeches. Instead, he chose to speak in a simple language using parables and metaphors by way of illustration, drawn from the observation of nature and ordinary things of daily life. His conversations were charming and attracted the cultural elite of Bengal. These conversations were noted down by his disciple Mahendranath Gupta who published them in the form of a book, “Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita” in Bengali and “The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna” in English,  and these books are popular even today.

In the beginning of 1885, Sri Ramakrishna suffered from clergyman's throat, which gradually developed into throat cancer. The best medical treatment available at that time was provided to him, but his condition aggravated and he left his mortal body on 16 August 1886 in Cossipore. Narendra decided to convert a dilapidated house at Baranagar into a new matt for the remaining disciples. Rent for the Baranagar Matt was low, raised by "holy begging". The matt became the first building of the Ramakrishna Matt, the monastery of the monastic order of Sri Ramakrishna. Narendra and other disciples used to spend many hours in practicing meditation, and religious austerities every day. 

On the Christmas Eve of 1886, Narendra and eight other disciples took formal monastic vows. They decided to live their lives as their master Sri Ramakrishna lived. In 1888, Narendra left the monastery as a Parivrâjaka— the Hindu religious life of a wandering monk, "without fixed abode, without ties, independent and strangers wherever they go". His sole possessions were a kamandalu (water pot), staff and his two favorite books: The Bhagvad Gita and the Imitation of Christ written by Thomas Kempis. Narendra travelled extensively in India for five years, visiting centers of learning and familiarizing himself with diverse religious traditions and social patterns. He developed sympathy for the suffering and poverty of the people, and resolved to uplift the nation. Living primarily on bhiksha (alms), Narendra travelled on foot and by railway (with tickets bought by admirers). During his travels he met, and stayed with Indians from all religions and walks of life --scholars, dewans, rajas and government officials.  He adopted the name Vivekananda.

The Parliament of the World's Religions was inaugurated on 11 September, 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago, in Chicago, as part of the World’s Columbian Exposition. On this day, Vivekananda gave a brief speech representing India and Hinduism. Though he was initially nervous, he bowed to Saraswati Devi (the Hindu goddess of learning) and began confidently with "Sisters and brothers of America!". At these words, Vivekananda received a two-minute standing ovation from the crowd of seven thousand. According to Sailendra Nath Dhar, when silence was restored, he began his address, “greeting the youngest of the nations on behalf of the most ancient order of monks in the world, the Vedic order of sannyasis, a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance”. Though, "it was only a short speech, but it voiced the spirit of the Parliament of Religions."

John Henry Barrows, the President of the Parliament, hailed "India, the Mother of religions was represented by Swami Vivekananda, the Orange-monk who exercised the most wonderful influence over his auditors". Vivekananda attracted widespread attention in the press, which called him the "cyclonic monk from India". The New York Critique reported, "He is an orator by divine right, and his strong, intelligent face in its picturesque setting of yellow and orange was hardly less interesting than those earnest words, and the rich, rhythmical utterance he gave them". According to American newspapers Vivekananda was "the greatest figure in the Parliament of religions" and "the most popular and influential man in the Parliament". The Boston Evening Transcript stated that Vivekananda was "a great favorite at the Parliament, if he merely crosses the platform, he is applauded". He spoke several more times  "at receptions, the scientific section, and private homes", topics related to Hinduism, and harmony among religions until the Parliament ended on 27 September 1893. He soon became known as a "handsome oriental" and made a huge impression as an orator.

After the Parliament of Religions, he toured many parts of the US as a guest. His popularity opened up new views for expanding on "life and religion to thousands". During a question-answer session at Brooklyn Ethical Society, New York, he stated, "I have a message to the West as Buddha had a message to the East."

Vivekananda spent nearly two years lecturing in the eastern and central United States, primarily in Chicago, Detroit, Boston and New York. He started the Vedanta Society of New York in 1894. During his visit to the West, he visited England twice, in 1895 and 1896, lecturing successfully there.  During his second visit to the UK in May 1896 Vivekananda met Max Mueller, who was a noted Indologist, who wrote Ramakrishna's first biography in the West. From the UK, Vivekananda visited other European countries. Vivekananda was offered academic positions in two American universities (Eastern Philosophy at Harvard University and University of Columbia). However, he declined both, since his duties would conflict with his commitment as a monk.

He initiated several followers -- Marie Louise who became Sister Abhayanda and Leon Landsberg became Swami Kripananda, so that they could continue the work of the mission of the Vedanta Society. This society still has foreign nationals and is also located in Los Angeles, California. During his stay in America, Vivekananda was given land in the mountains to the southeast of San Jose, California, to establish a retreat for Vedanta students. He called it "Peace retreat, or Shanti Ashrama. The largest American center is the Vedanta Society of Southern California in Hollywood. There is also a Vedanta Press in Hollywood which publishes books about Vedanta and English translations of Hindu scriptures and texts.

Vivekananda founded the The Ramakrishna Mission in 1897 for social service. Its ideals are based on Karma Yoga and its governing body consists of the trustees of both Ramakrishna Matt and Ramakrishna Mission and have their headquarters at Belur Matt, Calcutta. Vivekananda founded two other monasteries: one in Mayavati in the Himalayas (near Almora), the Advaita Ashram. Two journals were founded—Prabudha Bharatam in English and Udbhodan in Bengali. However, the greatest of Swamiji’s disciple of Margaret Noble who was named as Sister Nivedita, and she lived for many years following her Guru’s ideals. She died in India, and was buried here,

Vivekananda had earlier inspired Jamshed ji Tata (founder of Tata Sons) to set up a research and educational institution when they travelled together from Yokohoma to Chicago on Swamij’s first visit to the West in 1893. Tata, asked him to head his Research Institute of Science. Vivekananda declined the offer, citing a conflict with his "spiritual interests". After brief visits to Lahore, Delhi and Khetri, he returned to Calcutta in January 1898. He consolidated the work of the matt and trained disciples for several months.

On 4 July 1902, Vivekananda awoke early, went to the monastery at Belur Matt and meditated for three hours. He discussed with his colleagues and planned to establish a Vedic college in the Ramakrishna Matt. At 7:00 pm Vivekananda went to his room, asking not to be disturbed. He died at 9:20 p.m. while doing meditation. According to his disciples, Vivekananda attained “maha-samadhi”. The rupture of a blood vessel in his brain was reported as a possible cause of death. Vivekananda prophecy that he would not live forty years came true. He was cremated on bank of the Ganga in Belur Matt, opposite where his Guru, Sri Ramakrishna was cremated sixteen years ago.

Charles Freer Andrews a social reformer stated, "The Swami's intrepid patriotism gave a new color to the national movement throughout India. More than any other single individual of that period Vivekananda had made his contribution to the new awakening of India".  His nationalistic ideas influenced many other Indian thinkers and leaders, like Sri Aurobindo who regarded Vivekananda as the one who awakened India spiritually.

Quotes of Sri Ramakrishna

 

“You see many stars in the sky at night, but not when the sun rises. Can you therefore say that there are no stars in the heaven during the day? O man, because you cannot find God in the days of your ignorance, say not, there is no God.”

“He is born in vain, who having attained the human birth so difficult to get, does not attempt to realize God in this very life.”

“There are pearls in the deep sea, but you must hazard all perils to get them, if you fail to get them by single dive, do not make conclusion that the sea is without them. Dive again and again, and you are sure to be rewarded in the end”.

“God is the infinite being, while the Jiva is only a finite being. How then, can the finite grasp the infinite? It is like a doll made of salt trying to fathom the depth of the ocean”.

 

These are very valid quotes for today’s life. I can only hope every one is inspired by the Master and his disciple Vivekananda. At the outset, it was Sri Ramakrishna, Sarada Devi and Swamiji who inspired me to write this article. I am only an instrument and it was Mother Kali who came as thoughts in my mind, which got converted into words.

 

(Dedicated to Ramakrishna Mission --Trivandrum, Vivekananda Ashram – Kanyakumari, Ramakrishna Mission School – Jamshedpur, and Belur Matt – Calcutta. Picture courtesy: Ramakrishna Mission School, Jamshedpur)

Thu, 15 Sep 2022 15:34:12 +0530
Subhrak the faithful horse who killed Qu ub ud D n Aibak

 

Anupama Nair

The topic I am going to write about will shock most of you, especially those who are proud of Bharat and Bharat Maa and her great history, culture and for those whom she is the mother too. As it is said “Janani Janmabhumishcha Swargadapi Gariyasi” which means “mother and motherland are superior even to heaven” in Dev Bhasha Sanskrit, from our great epic Ramayana. I believe in this motto and think my mother and Bharat maa are superior to heaven.

Now put you thinking cap and think have you heard about a loyal horse Subhrak. Ninety percent would say no. He was also loyal like Chetak of Maharana Pratap and Badal of Rani Lakshmibai. What do our history books teach us about Quṭub-ud-Dīn Aibak, he fell from his pet horse, while playing polo. After Independence, due to the fact that our history is written by Left-oriented historians, they never forgot to glorify our invaders from Ghori to Aurangazeb. What is more shocking is, station where you alight to visit the Nalanda University is named as Bhaktiyarpur after the fiend Bhaktiyar Khilji, who burned the world-famous University, and our capital Delhi has streets named after all these invaders. What have we become?

Like the great and loyal sons and daughters of Bharat Maa, even our animals like horses are faithful and willing to sacrifice their lives for their masters. Subhrak was the horse of the hero of this story. I am confident our books have never mentioned him as I have never heard any mention of him – Kuar Karan Singh, the great Prince of Mewar. Subhrak saved his master’s life and took him to Mewar and sacrificed his life instead!

Now let us talk about Quṭub-ud-Dīn Aibak who was the founder of the Mamluk dynasty and the first sultan of the Delhi Sultanate. He was born in Turkistan and was a slave. When his master died, he was sold by his master’s son to Muhammad of Ghor, who made him the Amir-i-Akhur (Master of Slaves). Over the years, he joined Ghori’s military and rose to become the general of Muhammad of Ghor.

Samar Singh Deva was the Rawal of Chittorgarh. He had two wives. His first wife was Prithabai who was the sister of one of Bharat Maa’s greatest sons -- Prithviraj Chauhan. His other wife was Kurma Devi, the daughter of Nayaki Devi. Prithviraj Chauhan fought Muhammad Ghori, and was martyred, but killed Ghori too. But do you know that Nayaki Devi had defeated Muhammad Ghori fourteen years before Prithviraj Chauhan had even first fought Ghori? Nayaki Devi was a Solanki (Gujarat) Queen, and was from Gomantak (Goa). Nayaki Devi’s daughter Kurma Devi defeated Qutub ud-Din Aibak. Bharat Maa has given birth to many great daughters and, Nayaki Devi and her daughter were one of them. There is falsehood women were not treated well in Bharat, it  may be true in the modern world, but in the ancient period, women were equal to men and treated well. Women were well versed in archery and known for their bravery. Think about the great daughters of this land. I had written a series of articles about great queens of India. We were anything but regressive!

Unfortunately, Samar Singh and his eldest son were killed in the Second  Battle Of Tarain (1191-92 AD) that was fought between Prithviraj Chauhan and Muhammad Ghori. After the war Ghori returned to Multan and left Qutub-ud-din in charge of Delhi. Kurma Devi had to look after her young son Karan Singh. After a couple of years, Kurma Devi led her army with nine other kings and eleven Rawats, in her march towards Delhi to seek revenge against the man who had killed her husband, and kill him -- Qutub-ud-Din Aibak.

Kurma Devi and her army encountered Qutub-ud-Din Aibak and his army near the old Amber Fort. She herself confronted Aibak and challenged him in a duel. What a brave woman to challenge a sultan! In the duel, this brave queen managed to bury her sword deep into Qutub-ud-Din’s flesh, and he was so severely wounded that he tumbled from his horse. Aibak’s army believed he was dead, and the cowards that they were, instead of fighting back they fled from the battlefield. Kurma Devi thought that she had avenged the death of her dead husband with the death of Qutub-ud-din and she returned to Chittorgarh.

But unfortunately, Aibak was not dead. He recovered and decided to take vengeance. He declared himself the Sultan of Bharat. He destroyed the temple of Vishnu, which also had Vishnu Dhwaj. (later named as Qutub Minar in Delhi.) He attacked Mewar and captured Karan Singh. He looted all the wealth of Mewar and also took Karan Singh as captive and his loyal horse Shubhrak. When they reached Lahore, Karan Singh tried to escape but unfortunately, he was caught. In anger, Qutub-ud-din ordered to behead Karan Singh. He declared that he would play a polo match with the dead king’s head. The next day, Qutub-ud-din arrived at the venue, riding on Shubhrak. But as they say you pay for your evil deeds and now that is what happened.

As I said before animals of Bharat are very intelligent and loyal to their masters, whether it is our horses, elephants or cows. Shubhrak, immediately recognized his master Karan Singh and started crying. When he saw that his master was released from his chains so that he could be beheaded, Shubhrak suddenly became uncontrollable and threw Qutub-ud-din on the ground. Next, Shubhrak stomped on Aibak’s chest and head with his mighty hooves continuously. Hit by such powerful hooves, Qutub-ud-din died on the spot. But this was not it. Before the army could capture it, Shubhrak ran towards his master Karan Singh and saved his life. Karan Singh mounted the horse and escaped and Shubhrak ran for several days and nights till it reached the palace of Udaipur. There, Karan Singh got down, and patted his beloved horse … but after acknowledging the pat from its master, Shubhrak fell to the ground and died.

When I think of such valiant souls, I  bow my head with reverence to those who had protected Bharat Maa and our Dharma from avaricious hordes of invaders. Now think about what you were taught in history books and what was the reality? Isn’t it the time we rewrite our history books and invaders shown in their true colors and our cities and streets named as they were before these invaders whose only intention was to loot the “sone ki chidiya” and not work for the benefit of the country? Hope the time comes soon! I for sure would like to see that in my life time. Vande Mataram!

 

Mon, 12 Sep 2022 14:23:50 +0530
Introduction to Excel

 

Excel is a very popular spreadsheet program introduced by Microsoft, used to record and analyze numerical and statistical data. Microsoft Excel provides multiple features to perform various operations like calculations, pivot tables, graph tools, macro programming, etc. It is compatible with multiple Operating Systems like Windows, macOS, Android and iOS.

 

An Excel spreadsheet can be understood as a collection of columns and rows that form a table. Alphabetical letters are usually assigned to columns, and numbers are usually assigned to rows.

It is a known fact, we all deal with numbers in one way or the other in our lives. We all have daily expenses which we pay for, from the monthly income that we earn. For us to spend wisely, we will need to know our income versus expenditure. Microsoft Excel comes in handy when we want to record, analyze and store numeric data.

Running Excel is not different from running any other Windows program. If you are running Windows with a GUI like (Windows XP, Vista, and 7) follow the following steps:

  • Click on start menu
  • Point to all programs
  • Point to Microsoft Excel
  • Click on Microsoft Excel

You can also open it from the start menu if it has been added there. You can also open it from the desktop shortcut if you have created one.

Ribbon:

What is a ribbon? The ribbon provides shortcuts to commands in Excel. A command is an action that a user performs. An example of a command is creating a new document, or printing a document, etc.

Worksheet and Workbook:

A worksheet is a collection of rows and columns. When a row and a column meet, they form a cell. The address of a cell is given by the letter representing the column and the number representing a row. Cells are used to record data. Each cell is uniquely identified using a cell address. Columns are usually labelled with letters while rows are usually numbers.

A workbook is a collection of worksheets. By default, a workbook has three cells in Excel. You can delete or add more sheets to suit your requirements. By default, the sheets are named Sheet1, Sheet2 and so on and so forth. You can rename the sheet names to more meaningful names i.e. Daily Expenses, Monthly Budget, etc.

Formulas

The formula option allows you to define how Excel behaves when you are working with formulas. You can use it to set options i.e., autocomplete when entering formulas, change the cell referencing style and use numbers for both columns and rows and other options.

Important shortcuts in Excel

Ctrl + P

used to open the print dialogue window

Ctrl + N

creates a new workbook

Ctrl + S

saves the current workbook

Ctrl + C

copy contents of current select

Ctrl + V

paste data from the clipboard

SHIFT + F3

displays the function insert dialog window

SHIFT + F11

Creates a new worksheet

F2

Check formula and cell range covered

 

Mon, 12 Sep 2022 14:17:43 +0530
Vedic Mathematics An introduction

Vedic Mathematics is India’s gift to the World like Yoga and Ayurveda. The benefit of learning Vedic Mathematics is you will be able to calculate much faster compared to the traditional system of mathematics used. Vedic Mathematics is a collection of Sutras and techniques to solve mathematical problems in easy and faster way. It consists of 16 Sutras or formulae and 13 sub-sutras or sub-formulae which can be used for problems involved in arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, conics etc.

 

Vedic Mathematics is a system of mathematics which was discovered by the great Indian mathematician Jagadguru Shri Bharathi Krishna Tirthaji in 1918 and he published his findings in a ‘Vedic Mathematics Book’. Veda is a Sanskrit word that meant ‘knowledge’. “Using regular mathematical steps, solving problems sometimes are complex and time consuming. However, by using general techniques of Vedic Mathematics and Specific Techniques, numerical calculations can be done very fast.

 

Jagadguru Bharathi Krishna Tirthaji Maharaj was born in 1884 in Puri. He was very good in subjects like mathematics, science, humanities and he excelled in Sanskrit language. He was also interested in spiritualism and mediation. In fact, while he was practicing meditation in the forest near Sringeri, he rediscovered the Vedic sutras. He claimed that he learnt Sutras and Techniques from the Vedas especially ‘Rig-Veda’ and he automatically rediscovered them when he was practicing meditation for 8 years.

 

Later, he wrote the sutras on manuscripts but were unfortunately lost. Finally in year 1957, he wrote introductory volume of 16 sutras which is called as Vedic Mathematics and planned to write other sutras later. But soon he developed cataract in both of his eyes and passed away in 1960. Krishna Tirtha, stated that the sutras and other accessory content were found after years of solitary study of the Vedas in a forest. They were evidently contained in the ‘pariśiṣṭa’, a supplementary text of the Atharva Veda. He does not provide any more bibliographic clarification on the sourcing. The editor of the book, Professor V.S. Agrawala argued that “since the Vedas were defined as the traditional repositories of all knowledge, any knowledge can be de facto assumed to be in the Vedas, irrespective of whether it may be physically located in them”. He even considered Krishna Tirtha's work as a pariśiṣṭa in itself.

 

However, many mathematicians and STS scholars noted that the Vedas did not contain any of those sutras and sub-sutras. When challenged by Shukla, a mathematician and a historiographer of ancient Indian mathematics, to locate the sutras in the Parishishta of a standard edition of the Atharvaveda, Krishna Tirtha stated that they were not included in the standard editions but only in an undiscovered version, which he discovered by chance, and the foreword and introduction of the book also took a similar stand. Sanskrit scholars had also confirmed that the linguistic style did not correspond to the time-spans but rather reflected contemporary Sanskrit.

Dani, a professor of Mathematics pointed out that the contents of the book have ‘practically nothing in common’ with the mathematics of the Vedic period or even with subsequent developments in Indian mathematics. Multiple techniques in the book involved the use of high-precision decimals. These were unknown during the Vedic times and were introduced in India only in the sixteenth century, as works of numerous great and ancient mathematicians such as Aryabhata, Brahmagupta and Bhaskara were entirely based on fractions. Some of the sutras even ran parallel to the General Leibniz rule and Taylor's theorem (which, per Krishna Tirtha, were to be yet studied by the western world during the time of his writing) but ultimately boiled down to the sub-elementary operations of basic differentiation on polynomials. From a historiographic perspective, India had no minimal knowledge about the conceptual notions of differentiation and integration.  

 

Benefits of Vedic Mathematics

 

  • Faster: Vedic Mathematics is 1700 times faster than normal problems of mathematics. So, it is considered as the world’s fastest.
  • Eradicates fear of Math completely: So, if a child has math-phobia high speed Vedic Math is a fun-filled way to do Math and arouses interest in a child.
  • Much Improved Academic Performance: It improves the performance of your child in school as it is interesting and easy to learn.
  • Sharpens your mind, and increases mental agility and intelligence.
  • Improves memory and boosts self-confidence.
  • Cultivates an Interest for numbers.
  • Develops the left and right sides of your brain hence using intuition and innovation. It has been noted that Geniuses have been using the right side of the brain to achieve exceptional results.
  • Easy to master and apply: You just need the knowledge of tables to learn this.

 

Why is Vedic Mathematics needed?

 

Vedic scholars did not use figures for big numbers in their numerical notation, and they preferred to use the Sanskrit alphabets, with each alphabet constituting a number. Several mantras, in fact, denote numbers, that included the famed Gayatri Mantra, which added to 108 when decoded.

Vedic Mathematics provides answer in one line where as conventional method requires several steps. It is an ancient technique, which simplifies multiplication, divisibility, complex numbers, squaring, cubing, square and cube roots. Even recurring decimals and auxiliary fractions can be handled by Vedic Mathematics. Vedic Mathematics forms part of Jyotish Shastra which is one of the six parts of Vedangas. The Jyotish Shastra or Astronomy is made up of three parts called Skandas. A Skanda means the big branch of a tree shooting out of the trunk.

 

In Vedic Mathematics System a manual approach is preferred. The simplicity of Vedic Mathematics encourages most calculations to be carried out without the use of paper and pen. Methods like Shudh Method is applicable in statistics. This mental approach sharpens the mind, improves memory and concentration and also encourages innovation.

 

Mon, 12 Sep 2022 14:14:57 +0530
Radha Binod Pal Forgotten in India but Japan s hero

Anupama Nair

Radha Vinod Pal—I am sure many of you must not have heart about him. It was my good fortune, I read about him few days ago, and so I thought it is time to tell his story today and why he is a Hero in Japan. Very few of us remember Radha Binod Pal. To the measly numbers, few thousands may have been added recently after watching the 2016 miniseries Tokyo Trial, available on Netflix, starring the late actor Irfan Khan. The question is do we need a movie to remember a hero of the "Tokyo Trials"?

Radha Vinod Pal (27 January 1886 – 10 January 1967) was a British Indian judge who was a member of the United Nation’s International Law Commission from 1952 to 1966. He was one of three Asian judges appointed to the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE). The lesser-known  IMTFE was created in Tokyo, Japan, pursuant to a 1946 proclamation by U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in occupied Japan. This tribunal was held to judge the Japanese war crimes during the Second World War. Among all the judges of the tribunal, he was the only one who submitted a judgment which insisted all defendants were not guilty.

Before talking about the hero, let me take you down the memory lane to the Second World War (1939-1945).Thirty countries took part in the war.  Most of these countries threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the war, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. For the first time Aircrafts were used in a war. The Allied Powers included United States, England, Russia, France etc., while Axis Powers had Germany, Japan, and Italy. Till date it was the bloodiest war in history killing millions across the globe and wounding many more. The War was famous for  genocides (including German Holocaust ), starvation, massacres etc. After the defeat of Axis Powers Germany and Japan were occupied and war crimes tribunals were conducted. This was mostly the norm after any war, the losing side has to pay for the losses and winner takes it all.

What we need to understand is the War was the result of the ambition of one-man Adolf Hitler, and the world paid the price. War began, when Hitler started attacking country after country in Europe. England and France retaliated by declaring war on Germany. The war in Europe ended with the surrender of Germany after Hitler’s suicide in 1945. Japan wanted to dominate Asia and joined the Axis Powers. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor (Hawaii, US) on December 7, 1941. A furious United States retaliated by dropping Atom Bomb in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (August 6th  and 9th 1945). On September 2, 1945, the War ended when U.S. General Douglas MacArthur accepted Japan's formal surrender aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay along with a armada of more than 250 Allied warships.

Once the War ended the victorious Allied governments established the first International Criminal Tribunals to prosecute high-level political officials and military authorities for “war crimes and other wartime atrocities”. The four major Allied powers—France, the United Kingdom,  Russia and the United States set up the International Military Tribunal (IMT) in Nuremberg, Germany, to prosecute and punish “the major war criminals of the European Axis”. The lesser-known IMTFE was created in Tokyo, Japan in 1946. Our hero was in the IMTFE.

Similar to the IMT, the IMTFE had jurisdiction to try individuals for Crimes Against Peace, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity, and the definitions were nearly letter-perfect to those contained in the Nuremberg Charter. The IMTFE nonetheless had jurisdiction over crimes that occurred over a greater period of time, from the 1931 Japanese invasion of Manchuria to Japan’s 1945 surrender. The Tokyo War Crimes Trials took place from May 1946 to November 1948. The IMTFE found all remaining defendants guilty and sentenced them to punishments ranging from death to seven years’ imprisonment; two defendants died during the trial.

Now, there is a twist in the story, Radha Binod Pal opposed the trial verdict as wrong. He was asked to represent India as a member of the tribunal of judges officiating at the Tokyo Trials in 1946. In deliberations with judges from 10 other countries, Pal was highly critical of the prosecution's use of the legal concept of conspiracy in the context of pre-war decisions by Japanese officials. He also maintained that the tribunal should not retrospectively apply the new concept of Class A war crimes – waging aggressive (also known as crimes against peace and against humanity). Therefore, he dissented from the tribunal's verdicts of guilt in the cases of defendants charged with Class A war crimes. His reasoning also influenced the judges representing the Netherlands and France, and all three of these judges issued dissenting opinions. However, under the rules of the tribunal, all verdicts and sentences were decided by a majority of the presiding judges. He said “ I would hold that every one of the accused must be found not guilty of every one of the charges in the indictment and should be acquitted on all those charges”, and called “ sham employment of legal process for the satisfaction of a thirst for revenge”.

Pal quoting Jefferson Davis said, “when time shall have softened passion and prejudice, when Reason shall have stripped the mask from misrepresentation, then Justice, holding evenly her scales, will require much of past censure and praise to change places”.

Pal was born in 1886 in Kushtia (Bangladesh). He was highly educated and along with teaching, he practiced law also. Pal was a major contributor to the formulation of the Indian Income Tax Act of 1922. The British Government appointed Pal as a legal advisor in 1927. He worked as professor at the Law College of the University of Calcutta from 1923 till 1936. Pal became a judge of the honorable Calcutta High Court in 1941 and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta in 1944. So, he was selected as a jury of the “Tokyo Trial”. He visited Japan in 1966 and stated he had always admired Japan as the only country in Asia to rebel against the West. The Emperor of Japan conferred the First Class of the Order of the Sacred Treasure. Pal is revered by Japanese nationalists and a monument that was dedicated to him, stands on the grounds of the Yasukuni Shrine, erected after Pal's death.

On 23 August 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met Pal's son, Prasanta, in Calcutta, during his day-long visit to the city. Prasanta Pal presented prime minister Abe with four photographs of his father, of which two photographs were of Radha Binod Pal with Abe's grandfather, former Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi. Shinzo Abe paid tributes to his country’s hero Radha Binod Pal, who died in 1966 and said  “Justice Pal is highly respected even today by many Japanese for the noble spirit of courage he exhibited during the International Military Tribunal for the Far East”.

In recent years, Japanese historians used sections of Pal’s judgement to strengthen their argument that the Japanese were not aggressors or invaders in the Second World War. But Pal would not have been happy as  he had never supported what Japan had done during the War. What he had said then was “that Japan could not and should not be singled out for its imperialist lust”. In fact, in a speech he delivered at Hiroshima in 1952 he said “If Japan wishes to possess military power again, that would be a defilement against the souls of the victims we have here in Hiroshima". During the War, our Netaji Subash Chandra Bose formed the Indian National Army to fight for Independence. After the War was over, trials were held in India against INA heroes, Shah Nawaz Khan, Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon and Prem Kumar Sahgal in 1946. They were sentenced to death, but fearing the mood of the public they were freed. Mr. Pal was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his service to two nations.

I admire his courage and integrity, as he stood by his values and refused to give in to the tremendous pressures he must have faced from his fellow judges on the tribunal, especially the Americans.

Mon, 12 Sep 2022 14:12:02 +0530
The Anniversary of The Parliament of World s Religion

 

Anupama Nair

A modern man with the name of a great saint --- Narendra (Modi)  remembered Swami Vivekananda on Sunday, September 11, as the renowned philosopher delivered his famous speech on this day in 1893 at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in the US. PM Modi in a tweet, said, “11th September has a special connection with Swami Vivekananda. It was on this day in 1893 that he delivered one of his most outstanding speeches in Chicago. His address gave the world a glimpse of India's culture and ethos

The Parliament of the World's Religions was inaugurated on 11 September, 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago, in Chicago, as part of the World’s Columbian Exposition. On this day, Vivekananda gave a brief speech representing India and Hinduism. Though he was initially nervous, he bowed to Saraswati Devi (the Hindu goddess of learning) and began confidently with "Sisters and brothers of America!". At these words, Vivekananda received a two-minute standing ovation from the crowd of seven thousand. According to Sailendra Nath Dhar, when silence was restored, he began his address, “greeting the youngest of the nations on behalf of the most ancient order of monks in the world, the Vedic order of sannyasis, a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance”. Though, "it was only a short speech, but it voiced the spirit of the Parliament of Religions."

John Henry Barrows, the President of the Parliament, hailed "India, the Mother of religions was represented by Swami Vivekananda, the Orange-monk who exercised the most wonderful influence over his auditors". Vivekananda attracted widespread attention in the press, which called him the "cyclonic monk from India". The New York Critique reported, "He is an orator by divine right, and his strong, intelligent face in its picturesque setting of yellow and orange was hardly less interesting than those earnest words, and the rich, rhythmical utterance he gave them". According to American newspapers Vivekananda was "the greatest figure in the Parliament of religions" and "the most popular and influential man in the Parliament". The Boston Evening Transcript stated that Vivekananda was "a great favorite at the Parliament, if he merely crosses the platform, he is applauded". He spoke several more times  "at receptions, the scientific section, and private homes", topics related to Hinduism, and harmony among religions until the Parliament ended on 27 September 1893. He soon became known as a "handsome oriental" and made a huge impression as an orator.

After the Parliament of Religions, he toured many parts of the US as a guest. His popularity opened up new views for expanding on "life and religion to thousands". During a question-answer session at Brooklyn Ethical Society, New York, he stated, "I have a message to the West as Buddha had a message to the East."

Vivekananda spent nearly two years lecturing in the eastern and central United States, primarily in Chicago, Detroit, Boston and New York. He started the Vedanta Society of New York in 1894. During his visit to the West, he visited England twice, in 1895 and 1896, lecturing successfully there.  During his second visit to the UK in May 1896 Vivekananda met Max Mueller, who was a noted Indologist, who wrote Ramakrishna's first biography in the West. From the UK, Vivekananda visited other European countries. Vivekananda was offered academic positions in two American universities (Eastern Philosophy at Harvard University and University of Columbia). However, he declined both, since his duties would conflict with his commitment as a monk.

He initiated several followers -- Marie Louise who became Sister Abhayanda and Leon Landsberg became Swami Kripananda, so that they could continue the work of the mission of the Vedanta Society. This society still has foreign nationals and is also located in Los Angeles, California. During his stay in America, Vivekananda was given land in the mountains to the southeast of San Jose, California, to establish a retreat for Vedanta students. He called it "Peace retreat, or Shanti Ashrama. The largest American center is the Vedanta Society of Southern California in Hollywood. There is also a Vedanta Press in Hollywood which publishes books about Vedanta and English translations of Hindu scriptures and texts.

Vivekananda founded the The Ramakrishna Mission in 1897 for social service. Its ideals are based on Karma Yoga and its governing body consists of the trustees of both Ramakrishna Matt and Ramakrishna Mission and have their headquarters at Belur Matt, Calcutta. Vivekananda founded two other monasteries: one in Mayavati in the Himalayas (near Almora), the Advaita Ashram. Two journals were founded—Prabudha Bharatam in English and Udbhodan in Bengali. 

Vivekananda had earlier inspired Jamshed ji Tata (founder of Tata Sons) to set up a research and educational institution when they travelled together from Yokohoma to Chicago on Swamij’s first visit to the West in 1893. Tata now asked him to head his Research Institute of Science. Vivekananda declined the offer, citing a conflict with his "spiritual interests". After brief visits to Lahore, Delhi and Khetri, he returned to Calcutta in January 1898. He consolidated the work of the matt and trained disciples for several months.

On 4 July 1902, Vivekananda awoke early, went to the monastery at Belur Matt and meditated for three hours. He discussed with colleagues and planned to establish a Vedic college in the Ramakrishna Matt. At 7:00 pm Vivekananda went to his room, asking not to be disturbed. He died at 9:20 p.m. while doing meditation. According to his disciples, Vivekananda attained “maha-samadhi”. The rupture of a blood vessel in his brain was reported as a possible cause of death. Vivekananda prophecy that he would not live forty years came true. He was cremated on bank of the Ganga in Belur Matt, opposite where his Guru, Sri Ramakrishna was cremated sixteen years ago.

Charles Freer Andrews a social reformer stated, "The Swami's intrepid patriotism gave a new color to the national movement throughout India. More than any other single individual of that period Vivekananda had made his contribution to the new awakening of India".  His nationalistic ideas influenced many other Indian thinkers and leaders, like Sri Aurobindo who regarded Vivekananda as the one who awakened India spiritually.

“Bartaman Bharat” meaning "Present Day India" is an erudite Bengali language essay written by him, which was first published in the March 1899 issue of Udbodhan, the only Bengali language magazine of Ramakrishna Matt and Ramakrishna Mission. The essay was reprinted as a book in 1905 and later compiled into the fourth volume of “The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda”

In today’s world of such chaos, adharma and all other evils and now Corona, we will do well to remember this great monk and read his works. His birthday is celebrated as Youth Day in India.

 

Quotes of Swamiji

 

“Arise, awake, and stop not till the goal is reached”

“Say brother, the soil of India is my highest heaven, good of India is my highest good”

if there is any land in this earth that can lay claim to be blessed as punya bhumi the land where humanity has attained its highest towards gentleness, generosity, purity and above all land of introspection and spirituality, it is India

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun, 11 Sep 2022 20:50:41 +0530
Vivekananda A youth icon who demanded muscles of iron nerves of steel

Anupama Nair

Did you know 12th January is celebrated every year from 1985 as ‘National Youth Day’ in the memory of the great monk who changed the perception of the West towards India – Swami Vivekananda’s birthday?. He always inspired the youth to have a confident attitude and believed in the youth of the country and their ability to “transform the fate of India, with their hard work, dedication and spiritualty”. His message to the youth was “ what I want is muscles of iron, mind nerves of steel, inside which dwells a mind of the same material as that of which the thunderbolt is made”. If you ask how, this is the answer... “Weak thoughts should be replaced with optimism with the help of yoga and meditation”. Today 11th September is a memorable day in the life of this great saint as it was today he addressed The Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago.

Swami Vivekananda (12 January 1863 -- 4 July 1902), born as Narendranath Datta or Naren, was one of the greatest sons of Bharat Maa. He is one of the persons who has inspired me in every aspect of my life. Just reading his book “My India, Eternal India” on a train journey changed my views of my great country. In the words of a disciple of Swamiji, Sister Christine “Our love for India came to birth, I think, when we first heard him (Swami Vivekananda) say the word, "India", in that marvelous voice of his. It seems incredible that so much could have been put into one small word of five letters. There was love, passion, pride, longing, adoration, tragedy, chivalry, and again love. Whole volumes could not have produced such a feeling in others. It had the magic power of creating love in those who heard it.” The result was me; a big fan of the Western life and philosophy began to look towards my own country of birth now with a change of mind.

Swamiji was the chief disciple of the 19th-century saint Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He was a key figure in the introduction of the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world, and is credited with raising inter-faith awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century. He was a major force in the contemporary Hindu Reform Movements in India, and contributed to the concept of nationalism in Colonial India. Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Matt and the Ramakrishna Mission. He is perhaps best known for his speech which began with the words "Sisters and brothers of America, in which he introduced Hinduism at the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago in 1893.

Let me tell you about his early life. Naren was the son of Bhuvaneshwari Devi and Vishwanath Datta. Naren was born in Calcutta, the then capital of British India. Delhi became the capital of British India in 1911 after the proclamation of the King George V. Naren was interested in spirituality as a young boy and used to meditate before the images of deities such as Shiva, Ram, Sita and Hanuman. As a boy he was very mischievous and his mother Bhuveneshwari Devi used to scold him and said “I prayed to Bhootnath (Bhagvan Shiva) for a son and he sent me one of his Bhoot (demons)".

William Hastie (former principal of Christian college, from where he graduated) wrote “Narendra is really a genius. I have travelled far and wide but I have never come across a lad of his talents and possibilities, even in German universities, among philosophical students. He is bound to make his mark in life", which he did as we all know. Once he had an argument with a Swedish national where he gave reference to some details on Swedish history that the Swede originally disagreed with but later conceded.

In 1880, Narendra joined Kesab Chandra Sen’s “Nava Vidhan” which was established by Sen after meeting Sri Ramakrishna.  Narendra became a member of the Sadhan Brahmo Samaj in his twenties, which was a breakaway faction of the Brahmo Samaj (founded by Ram Mohan Roy in in 1828) led by Sen and Debendranath Tagore (father of Rabindranath Tagore). From 1881 to 1884, he was also active in Sen's Band of Hope, which tried to discourage youths from bad habits like smoking and drinking.

It is said he asked several prominent Calcutta residents if they had come "face- to-face with God", but none of their answers gave him satisfaction. At this time, Narendra met Debendranath Tagore, and asked if he had seen God. Instead of answering his question, Tagore said "My boy, you have a Yogi’s eyes." According to Banhatti,  a historian it was Sri Ramakrishna who really answered Narendra's question, by saying "Yes, I see Him as I see you, only in an infinitely intense sense." It was also due to Sen that he met his Guru and idol Sri Ramakrishna.

In 1881, Narendra met Ramakrishna, who became his Guru after his own father Vishwanath Datta died in 1884. Narendra's first introduction to Ramakrishna occurred in a literature class at Scottish Church College when he heard Professor William Hastie lecturing on William Wordsworth’s poem, “The Excursion”. While explaining the word "trance" in the poem, Hastie suggested that his students visit Sri Ramakrishna of Dakshineshwar, to understand the true meaning of trance. This inspired Narendra to visit Sri Ramakrishna.

At this time, Narendra was preparing for his upcoming F.A. (Formative Assessment) examination, when Ram Chandra Dutta  accompanied him to Surendra Nath Mitra's house, where Sri Ramakrishna was invited to deliver a lecture. It is believed that at this meeting, Sri Ramakrishna asked young Narendra to sing and impressed by his singing talent, he asked Narendra to come to Dakshineshwar. In late 1881 or early 1882, Narendra went to Dakshineswar with two friends and met Sri Ramakrishna. This meeting proved to be a turning point in the life of Naren. Although, he did not initially accept Ramakrishna as his teacher and rebelled against his ideas, he was attracted by his personality and began to frequently visit him at Dakshineswar. He initially saw Sri Ramakrishna's ecstasies and visions as "mere figments of imagination" and "hallucinations".  Narendra even tested Sri Ramakrishna, who faced his arguments patiently, "Try to see the truth from all angles", he replied to his shishya

Narendra's father's sudden death in 1884 left the family bankrupt, creditors began demanding the repayment of loans, and relatives threatened to evict the family from their ancestral home. Narendra, once a son of a well-to-do family, became one of the poorest students in his college. He unsuccessfully tried to find work and became an atheist. He found solace in Sri Ramakrishna and his visits to Dakshineswar became more frequent

One day, Narendra requested Sri Ramakrishna to pray to Devi Kali for their family's financial welfare. Ramakrishna advised him to go to the temple himself and pray. Following Sri Ramakrishna's suggestion, he went to the temple thrice, but failed to pray for any kind of worldly necessities and ultimately prayed for true knowledge and devotion from the Devi. Narendra gradually grew ready to renounce everything for the sake of God realization, and accepted Sri Ramakrishna as his Guru.

In 1885, Sri Ramakrishna developed throat cancer, and was transferred to Calcutta and later to a garden house in Cossipore. Narendra and Sri Ramakrishna's other disciples took care of him during his last days, and Narendra's spiritual education continued even though his Guru was in his death bed. At Cossipore, he experienced Nirvikalpa Samadhi (highest stage of Samadhi). 

Narendra and several other disciples received ochre robes from Sri Ramakrishna, forming his first monastic order. He was taught that “manav seva” was the most effective worship of God. Sri Ramakrishna asked him to care for the other disciples, and in turn asked them to see Narendra as their Guru now. Sri Ramakrishna died in the early-morning hours of 16 August 1886 in Cossipore.  Many disciples abandoned the sanyasi way of life and adopted grahasthashram. Narendra decided to convert a dilapidated house at Baranagar into a new matt for the remaining disciples. Rent for the Baranagar Matt was low, raised by "holy begging". The matt became the first building of the Ramakrishna Matt, the monastery of the monastic order of Sri Ramakrishna. Narendra and other disciples used to spend many hours in practicing meditation, and religious austerities every day. 

On the Christmas Eve of 1886, Narendra and eight other disciples took formal monastic vows. They decided to live their lives as their master Sri Ramakrishna lived. In 1888, Narendra left the monastery as a Parivrâjaka— the Hindu religious life of a wandering monk, "without fixed abode, without ties, independent and strangers wherever they go". His sole possessions were a kamandalu (water pot), staff and his two favorite books: The Bhagvad Gita and the Imitation of Christ written by Thomas Kempis. Narendra travelled extensively in India for five years, visiting centers of learning and familiarizing himself with diverse religious traditions and social patterns. He developed sympathy for the suffering and poverty of the people, and resolved to uplift the nation. Living primarily on bhiksha (alms), Narendra travelled on foot and by railway (with tickets bought by admirers). During his travels he met, and stayed with Indians from all religions and walks of life --scholars, dewans, rajas and government officials.  Narendra left Bombay for Chicago on 31 May 1893 with the name "Vivekananda", which was suggested by Maharaj Ajit Singh of Khetri, which means "the bliss of discerning wisdom," from Sanskrit viveka and Ananda.

The Parliament of the World's Religions was inaugurated on 11 September, 1893 at the Art Institute of Chicago, in Chicago, as part of the World’s Columbian Exposition. On this day, Vivekananda gave a brief speech representing India and Hinduism. Though he was initially nervous, he bowed to Saraswati Devi (the Hindu goddess of learning) and began confidently with "Sisters and brothers of America!". At these words, Vivekananda received a two-minute standing ovation from the crowd of seven thousand. According to Sailendra Nath Dhar, when silence was restored, he began his address, “greeting the youngest of the nations on behalf of the most ancient order of monks in the world, the Vedic order of sannyasis, a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance”. Though, "it was only a short speech, but it voiced the spirit of the Parliament of Religions".

Vivekananda founded the The Ramakrishna Mission in 1897 for social service. Its ideals are based on Karma Yoga and its governing body consists of the trustees of both Ramakrishna Matt and Ramakrishna Mission and have their headquarters at Belur Matt, Calcutta. Vivekananda founded two other monasteries: one in Mayavati in the Himalayas (near Almora), the Advaita Ashram. Two journals were founded—Prabudha Bharatam in English and Udbhodan in Bengali. 

On 4 July 1902, Vivekananda awoke early, went to the monastery at Belur Matt and meditated for three hours. He discussed with colleagues and planned to establish a Vedic college in the Ramakrishna Matt. At 7:00 pm Vivekananda went to his room, asking not to be disturbed. He died at 9:20 p.m. while doing meditation. According to his disciples, Vivekananda attained ‘maha-samadhi’. The rupture of a blood vessel in his brain was reported as a possible cause of death. Vivekananda prophecy that he would not live forty years came true. He was cremated on bank of the Ganga in Belur Matt.

His greatest disciple was a woman called Margaret Noble who later became Sister Nivedita. She was an Irish teacher, author, social activist, and later a disciple of Swamiji. She spent her childhood and early youth in Ireland. She was engaged to marry a Welsh youth, but he died soon after their engagement. Sister Nivedita met Swami Vivekananda in 1895 in London and travelled to Calcutta in 1898. Swami Vivekananda gave her the name Nivedita (meaning "Dedicated to God") when he initiated her into the vow of Brahmacharya. Nivedita had close associations with the newly established Ramakrishna Mission. She was very close to Sharada Devi, the wife of Sri Ramakrishna, and one of the major influences behind Ramakrishna Mission, and also with all brother disciples of Swami Vivekananda. She died on 13 October 1911 in Darjeeling. Her epitaph reads thus, "Here lies Sister Nivedita who gave her all to India".

In today’s world of such chaos, adharma and all other evils and now Corona, we will do well to remember this great monk and read his works.  

(Dedicated to Ramakrishna Mission --Trivandrum, Vivekananda Ashram – Kanyakumari, Ramakrishna Mission School – Jamshedpur, and Belur Matt – Calcutta)

 

Sun, 11 Sep 2022 20:42:58 +0530
The Mystery of Anastasia the last Princess of imperial Russia

Anupama nair

There are many mysteries in modern history, but one of the most famous was Grand Duchess Anastasia Nicolevna or Anastasia Romanov (1901-?) of Russia. Who was she? She was the daughter of world’s, one of the richest and most famous rulers – Tsar Nicholas Romanov (last ruler of Russia) and his wife Tsarina Alexandra Fedorovna. She was the fourth daughter of the Tsar. It is said the couple were disappointed with the birth of a fourth daughter. When the cruel revolutionaries invaded the grand palace, they killed the Tsar, his wife and all the children and is considered to be the cruelest murders in Modern History. There was blood bath in entire Russia and when Soviet Union was formed. But that is not the topic I am talking about. It is a rumor that Princess Anastasia or Ana escaped from the attack on her family and resurfaced many years later. Is it true, nobody knows?

To understand what happened we need to understand about Russia and her history. The Russian king was called Tsar and was easily one of the richest Royal family in the world. Tsar Nicholas had four daughters and a son. During the World War I, the family helped the wounded Russian soldiers. But all their happiness came to end, when the Revolutionaries captured their palace and let loose a reign of terror. The Russian Revolution was a period of political and social anarchy,  across the territory of the then Russian empire, commencing with the abolition of the monarchy in 1917, and Soviet Union was established in 1923 at the end of the Civil War. It began during the First World War, with the February Revolution that was occurring in and around the then-capital, Petrograd (now St Petersburg). The situation climaxed with the October Revolution in 1917. Civil War, erupted among the "Reds" (Bolsheviks), the "Whites” (counter-revolutionaries). In the end the Bolsheviks won.

Ana was believed to be killed along with the family in 1918, and buried in 1918. Was it true? Anastasia's supposed escape and possible survival was one of the most popular historical mysteries of the 20th century, provoking many books and films. At least ten women claimed to be her, offering varying stories as to how she had survived. Anna Anderson, the best-known Anastasia imposter, first surfaced publicly between 1920 and 1922. She contended that she had pretend death among the bodies of her family and servants, and was able to make her escape with the help of a compassionate guard who noticed she was still breathing and took pity on her. She managed to escape to United States. Her legal battle for recognition from 1938 to 1970 continued a lifelong controversy and was the longest running case ever. There was even a case heard by the German courts, where it was officially filed. The final decision of the court was that Anderson had not provided sufficient proof to claim the identity of the grand duchess. Anderson died in 1984 and her body was cremated. DNA tests were later conducted in 1994 on a sample from Anderson located in a hospital and the blood of Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburg, who was the great-nephew of Empress Alexandra.

But even that proved inconclusive. Other lesser-known claimants were Nadezhda Vasilyeva and Eugenia Smith who claimed to be Anastasia and her sister Maria. They stated they were taken in by a priest in the Ural Mountains in 1919 where they lived as nuns until their deaths in 1964. They were buried under the names Anastasia and Maria Nikolaevna. Another incident, where eight witnesses reported the recapture of a young woman after an apparent escape attempt in September 1918 at a railway station at Siding 37, northwest of Perm. Some of the witnesses easily identified the girl as Anastasia, their princess, when they were shown photographs of the grand duchess by investigators. A person called Utkin also told the White Russian Army that the injured girl, whom he treated in Perm, told him, "I am the daughter of the ruler, Anastasia." Utkin obtained a prescription from a pharmacy for a patient named "N" at the orders of the secret police. White Army investigators later independently located records for the prescription.

In 1991, the presumed burial site of the imperial family and their servants was excavated in the woods outside Yekaterinburg. The grave had been found nearly a decade earlier, but was kept hidden by its discoverers from the Communists who were still ruling Russia at the time. The grave only held nine of the expected eleven sets of remains. Ana’s and her sister’s body were missing.

The purported survival of Anastasia has been the subject of cinema. The 1956 film starring Ingrid Bergman and Yul Brynner, was a blockbuster and one of my all-time favorites. The movie for the romantics like me, offered a more hopeful ending to the decades of mystery that followed the execution of Russia’s last tsar, and his family in 1918. In the movie, his youngest daughter, Anastasia, is suffering from amnesia and goes by the name Anna. Ingrid Bergman as Anna, who, 10 years after the presumed murder, is persuaded by the con man Sergei Bounine (Yul Brenner) to pose as the grand duchess to stake a claim to the Royal fortune. As Anna manages to convince her most skeptical adversary, the dowager empress Marie Feodorovna, Anastasia’s grandmother (played by Helen Fayes). She suddenly seems to remember her royal identity. But rather than take on her imperial role, Anna instead chooses to elope with Bounine. As satisfying as the movie ending is, the real Anastasia probably did not reunite with her grandmother years after the Russian Revolution and run off with a charming con man.

Ninety years later, the mystery seemed over until the Russian Orthodox Church re-opened the case in 2015, claiming that the scientific investigations had been mis-handled. Perhaps the church, like the movie fans, preferred to maintain the hope of a happier ending than the darker one, that most historians now accept as true. I for one believe that Ana was lucky enough to escape. What happened is still not clear and remains an unsolved history.

Sun, 11 Sep 2022 20:21:03 +0530
The Seven Sites of Indus Valley reveal a great civilization

Anupama Nair

I am sure after reading about the great civilization you might want to read about the main sites of the world's first Urban Civilization. There was seven known biggest townships -- Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Ganeriwala in Pakistan and Dholavira, Rakhigarh, Lothal and Kalibangan in India. Let me now, take you on a journey to these seven sites.

Mohenjo-Daro is the most famous sites of the great civilization and is located in Larkana District west of the Sindhu (Indus) river in Sindh. It became not only the largest city of the Indus Valley Civilization but also one of the world’s earliest major urban centers. Mohenjo-Daro was one of the most sophisticated cities of the period, with advanced engineering and urban planning. The city of Mohenjo-Daro contains the Great Bath, which was a large, public bathing and social area. One seal found from Mohenjo-Daro showed a half-human, half-buffalo monster attacking a tiger (the Sumerian myth of a monster created by Arura—the Sumerian earth and fertility goddess to fight Gilgamesh, the hero of an ancient Mesopotamian epic poem), shows the trade between two civilizations. Seals have been found at Mohenjo-Daro depicting a figure standing on its head, and another, the Pasupathi (resembling Bhagwan Shiva) seal, sitting cross-legged in yoga-like pose and a harp-like instrument depicted on an Indus seal and two shell objects found at Lothal indicate the use of stringed musical instruments.

Harappa was a fortified city in Punjab (Pakistan) that is believed to have been home to as many as 23,500 residents living in sculpted houses with flat roofs made of red sand and clay. The city was spread over 370 acres and had a fortified administrative and religious centers of the same type  found in Mohenjo-Daro. Harappans demonstrated advanced architecture with dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms, and protective walls. These massive walls likely protected the Harappans from floods and may have deterred military conflicts.

Harappans were known for seal carving or the cutting of patterns into the bottom face of a seal, a small, carved object used for stamping. They used these distinctive seals for the identification of property and to stamp clay on trade goods. Seals decorated with animal figures, such as elephants, tigers, and water buffalos have been one of the most commonly discovered artifacts found here. Harappans was also engaged in shell working, and shells used in their crafts have origins from as far away as the coast of modern-day Oman.

Both Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro had rulers (scales) of ivory uncovered from the ruins. One such specimen was even calibrated to 1/16 of an inch—less than 2 millimeters. These kinds of rulers were clearly very prominent, as even bricks of the valley’s buildings were found to follow the same measurements. The earliest existence of weighing scales also dates back to these cities, where balances were used to compare measure and compare goods in trade. The excavations in both Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, showed a number of distinct examples of the culture’s art, including sculptures, seals, pottery, gold jewelry, and anatomically detailed figurines in terracotta, bronze, and steatite.

“Among the various gold, terracotta, and stone figurines found was a figure of a priest-king displaying a beard and patterned robe. Another figurine in bronze, known as the ‘Dancing Girl’, shows a female figure in a pose that suggests the presence of some choreographed dance form enjoyed by members of the civilization. Terracotta works also included cows, bears, monkeys, and dogs. In addition to figurines, the people of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro are believed to have created necklaces, bangles, and other ornaments”.

Ganeriwala is situated near the Indian border on the dry river bed of the Ghaggar-Hakra, now part of a vast Thar desert. It is spread over 80 hectares and comparable in size with the largest sites of the Indus Valley Civilization, such as Mohenjo-Daro. But it has not been excavated, only identified. It may turn out to be among the top five largest towns of the Indus Valley Civilization. Although excavation has yet to begin at this site, a terracotta tablet was found, which bear similarity to the ones found in Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and Kalibangan. In this seal, we can find a cross legged person (suggesting a yogic posture) and a kneeling person below a tree. The importance of Ganeriwala is, it is equidistant from both Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, so the excavation may provide more information about this ancient civilization.

Kalibangan is an ancient site of the Indus Valley Civilization is located in Rajasthan. The site contains both pre-Harappan and Harappan remains, and shows the transition between the two cultures. Although the culture before Harappa had copper and produced pottery, it had no writing system, and it’s ruins show the absence of an orderly layout we find in Indus Valley and also the use of baked brick. The Harappan remains found include a cemetery and a fortified citadel. Historians state “excavation here has revealed as many as nine building phases and the citadel mound is a parallelogram on a plan of about 430 feet on the east-west axis and 850 feet on the north-south”. 

“Traces of a brick wall around the lower town were also encountered. The central sector of the citadel contained a series of high brick platforms divided by narrow passages. The upper parts of these platforms had been seriously damaged, and their function is mysterious, but they do not appear to have been the foundation for a granary. The northern sector contained normal domestic housing. A cemetery was discovered a short distance to the west of the town”.

Rakhigarh in Haryana was excavated by Shri Amarendra Nath of the Archeological Survey of India. Five interconnected mounds spread in a huge area form Rakhigarhi's unique site. Two mounds, out of five, were believed to be thickly populated. It was found that mature Harappan phase represented by a planned township having mud-brick as well as burnt-brick houses with proper drainage system existed here. Animal sacrificial pit lined with mud brick and triangular and circular fire alters on the mud floor have also been excavated that signified the ritual system of Harappans. “A cylindrical seal with five Harappan characters on one side and a symbol of an alligator on the other is an important find from this site”.

Other finds included “blades (terracotta and shell bangles), beads of semiprecious stones, terracotta, shell and copper objects, animal figurines, toy cart frame and wheel of terracotta, bone points. The excavations also discovered a few burial sites”.

Lothal, in Saragwala village on the bank of Sabarmati in Dholka taluka of Ahmedabad district, was the one of the most prominent site of Indus Valley Civilization in Gujarat. Lothal is a combination of two words Loth and thal, which meant ‘the mound of the dead.’ The city was inhabited during 3700 BC and was a flourishing port. The excavation was started from 1955--1960 by the Archaeological Survey of India to excavate the ancient city. Archaeologists believe that “the city was a part of a major river system on the ancient trade route from Sindh to Saurashtra in Gujarat. Excavations here have offered the greatest number of antiquities in the archaeology of modern India. From a graveyard in Lothal, 21 human skeletons were found and foundries for making copperware were also discovered. Ornaments made of semi-precious stones, gold etc. were also found from the site”.

Dholavira is in one of the five largest cities of the Indus Valley Civilization, and is located about 250 km from Bhuj. It has two seasonal brooks, Mansar and Manhar. “The property comprises two parts, a walled city and a cemetery to its west”, stated a government release, adding that Dholavira flourished for nearly 1,500 years.

According to an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) “excavations at the site revealed seven cultural stages documenting the rise and fall of the Indus Valley Civilization. The city, is also outstanding for its planning and architecture. The salient components of the full-grown cityscape consisted of a bipartite 'citadel', a 'middle town' and a 'lower town', two 'stadia', an 'annex', a series of reservoirs all set within an enormous fortification running on all four sides”.

“While unlike graves at the other Harappan sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira. “Memorials that contain no bones or ashes but offerings of precious stones, etc. add a new dimension to the personality of the Harappans” said Mr. Bisht an archaeologist. He further stated “remains of a copper smelter indicate of Harappans, who lived in Dholavira, knew metallurgy. It is believed that traders of Dholavira used to source copper ore from present-day Rajasthan and Oman and UAE and export finished products. It was also a hub of manufacturing jewelry made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate and used to export timber”.

“Beads peculiar to the Harappan workmanship have been found in the royal graves of Mesopotamia, indicating people of Dholavira used to trade with the Mesopotamians. Its decline also coincided with the collapse of Mesopotamia, indicating the integration of economies. Harappans, who were maritime people, lost a huge market, affecting the local mining, manufacturing, marketing and export businesses once Mesopotamia fell”.

Bisht said “that from 2000 BC, Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up. Because of a drought-like situation, people started migrating toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra. In those times, the Great Rann of Kutch, which surrounds the Khadir island on which Dholavira is located, used to be navigable, but the sea receded gradually and the Rann became a mudflat”.

The Prime Minister on hearing the news tweeted  “absolutely delighted by this news. Dholavira was an important urban center and is one of our most important linkages with our past. It is a must visit, especially for those interested in history, culture and archaeology,” he wrote. In the same thread,  Modi also added, “I first visited Dholavira during my student days and was mesmerized by the place. As CM of Gujarat, I had the opportunity to work on aspects relating to heritage conservation and restoration in Dholavira. Our team also worked to create tourism-friendly infrastructure there.”

The most positive news I heard was the Government of the two countries are granting visas to visit the sites of the great Indus Valley Civilization. I for one would love to pack my bags and go on a journey and travel in a time machine and see how people lived in those days.

Sun, 11 Sep 2022 20:12:32 +0530
Indus Valley Civilization oldest urban civilization

Anupama Nair

India has one of the oldest civilizations in the world. In a time when we are forgetting our heritage and culture, I am making a humble effort to make everyone proud of our country. The major ancient civilizations of the world were Indus Valley Civilization (3300 BC–1900 BC), Greek (2700 BC–479 BC), Roman (550 BC–465 AD), Egyptian (3150 BC 332 BC), Mesopotamian (3500 BC–500 BC), Mayan (2600 BC–900 AD) among a few.

Before the excavation of these Harappan cities, it was thought that Indian civilization had begun in the Ganges valley as Aryan immigrants from Persia and central Asia populated the region around 1250 BC. The discovery of ancient Harappan cities unsettled that conception and moved the timeline back another 1500 years, situating the Indus Valley Civilization in an entirely different environmental context.

The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was a Bronze Age Civilization in the northwestern regions of Indian Subcontinent from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Western and Northwestern India. It existed from 3300 BC to 1300 BC, and in its mature form from 2600 BC to 1900 BC. Along with Egyptian and Mesopotamian, it was one of three early civilizations of the Asian continent. It flourished in the basins of the Sindhu River (Indus), which flows through Pakistan, and is perennial, mostly monsoon-fed, rivers that once coursed in the vicinity of the seasonal  Ghagar-Hakra river northwestern India and eastern Pakistan.

It is to be noted that this is the only urban civilization while the rest of the above-mentioned civilizations were rural. The civilization's cities were noted for their urban planning, baked bricks houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, clusters of large non-residential buildings, and new techniques in handicraft (seal carving) and metallurgy (copper, bronze, lead, and tin).  The large cities of Mohenjo-Daro (Sind) and Harappa (Punjab) likely had a population of between 30,000 and 60,000 and the civilization itself during its peak may have contained between one and five million people.

The Indus civilization is also known as the Harappan Civilization, after one of the sites, Harappa was the first of the sites to be excavated in the 1920s while trying to lay a railway line.  The discovery of Harappa and soon afterwards Mohenjo-Daro was the culmination of work beginning in 1861 with the founding of the Archaeological Survey of India during the colonial rule. There were however, earlier and later cultures often called Early Harappan and Late Harappan in the same area.

By 2002, over 1000 Mature Harappan cities and settlements had been reported, of which just under a hundred had been excavated. The Indus civilization was roughly contemporary with the other civilizations of the ancient world around the rivers: Egyptian along the river Nile, Mesopotamia in the lands watered by the Euphrates and the Tigris. By the time of its mature phase, the civilization had spread over an area larger than the others, which included a core of 1500 kilometers (900 miles) up the alluvial plain of the Indus and its tributaries. In addition, there was a region with disparate flora, fauna, and habitats, up to ten times as large, which had been shaped culturally and economically by the Indus river.

The Indus Valley Civilization extended from Pakistan's Baluchistan in the west to India's western Uttar Pradesh in the east, from North Eastern Afghanistan in the north to India's Gujarat and Maharashtra in the south. The largest number of sites are in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, in India, and Sindh, Punjab, and Baluchistan provinces in Pakistan. Coastal settlements extended from Suktagan Gor in Western Baluchistan to Lothal in Gujarat. The southernmost site of the Indus valley civilization is Daimabad in Maharashtra. Indus Valley sites have been found most often on rivers, but also on the ancient seacoast, for example, Balakot, and on islands, for example, Dholavira.

As seen in Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro and the recently partially excavated Rakhigarhi, which included the world's first known urban sanitation systems. Within the city, individual homes or groups of homes obtained water from wells with clean water. From a bathroom, waste water was directed to covered drains, which lined the major streets. Houses opened only to inner court-yards and lanes. The house-building in some villages in the region still resembles in some respects the house-building of the Harappans.

The ancient Indus systems of sewerage and drainage throughout the Indus region were far more advanced than ones found in in the Middle East, Pakistan and India today. The advanced architecture of the Harappans is shown by their impressive dockyards, granaries, warehouses, brick platforms, and protective walls. The massive walls of Indus cities most likely protected the Harappans from floods and may have dissuaded military conflicts.

Most city dwellers appear to have been traders or artisans, who lived with others pursuing the same occupation in well-defined neighborhoods. Among the artefacts discovered were beautiful glazed beads. Seals have images of animals, people and gods, and other types of inscriptions, including the yet un-deciphered language. Some historians argue the language was similar to Dravidian languages especially Tamil. Some of the seals were used to stamp clay on trade goods.

Although some houses were larger than others, all the houses had access to water and drainage facilities. This gives the impression of a society with relatively low wealth concentration. There was an extensive maritime trade network operating between the Harappan and Mesopotamian civilizations as early as the middle Harappan Phase, with much commerce being handled by "middlemen merchants from Dilmun " (modern day Bahrain) Such long-distance sea trade became feasible with the development of plank-built watercraft, equipped with a single central mast supporting a sail of woven rushes or cloth.

Around 1900 BC signs of a gradual decline began to emerge, and by around 1700 BC most of the cities had been abandoned. Recent examination of human skeletons from the site of Harappa has demonstrated that the end of the Indus civilization saw an increase in inter-personal violence and infectious diseases like leprosy and tuberculosis. Many historians believe the great civilization ended due to Aryan invasion, while others believe it was floods in the Indus, climate change and earthquakes. Whatever be the reason a great civilization came to end.

After the never-ending monsoon delige this year in Sind, the historians are sure this is how the great civilization ended.

Sun, 11 Sep 2022 20:07:30 +0530
Onam festival of prosperity

Anupama Nair

India is home to many festivals. All festivals be it Holi, Diwali or Ganesh Chaturthi, all festivals are celebrated with pomp and splendor. Each and every state celebrates its own festivals. Onam is a festival celebrated in Kerala called as God's own country. August or September is that time of the year when the state is “exhilarated with trumpets, drums, elephants, boat races, dances, art, music, floral decorations, lights, colors, rituals and the delicious Onasadya without which the celebrations are obscure”. Since, Malayalis live everywhere, you can safely say Onam is a global festival. Onam is celebrated after Ganesh Chaturthi and before Shradiya Navratri.

According to Hindu belief, the devout king Prahalad had a grandson Mahabali who took over the three worlds by defeating the Devas. The Devas approached Lord Vishnu to help them in the battle against Mahabali, Vishnu had initially refused as he believed Mahabali was a good ruler and his devotee. Mahabali performed a Yajna after his victory over the Gods and took a vow to grant anyone any request. Lord Vishnu took this opportunity to test Mahabali's devotion and approached Mahabali in the avatar of a dwarf boy called Vamana.

The king offered everything he could to the boy, but Vamana refused and said one must not seek more than one's needs and all he needed was three-paces. Mahabali, although surprised by the boy's wish, agreed to grant it. Vamana grew and covered the land and water with one foot and the sky with another foot, now to place his third-foot Mahabali offered himself. Vamana trampled Mahabali down to Pathala, as he was pleased by his devotion offered him a boon to visit his land every year. The revisit of Mahabali every year is the festival of Onam.

Onam is welcomed with a diverse range of activities and celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm. The onset of Onam is from the procession that starts from Thripunithara in Cochin. There is a parade that features the culture of Kerala through elephant marches, drum beats, festival flag hoisting, folk art forms, colorfully decorated floats that depict scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Historically, the procession path leads to the temple from Thripunithara that's dedicated to Vamana the avatar of Vishnu.

What is Onam without the ‘Onapookalam’, which is nothing but a floral carpet that's decorated with flowers and petals. It is filled with several varieties of flowers forming patterns on the floor of central entrances. It is a religious art that involves a lot of creativity to blend the colors of petals to form a floral art. Pookalam is very similar to Rangoli that's decorated by people in other parts of the country. There are Pookalam

What is any festival without food? The Sadya, meaning banquet in Malayalam, is a vegetarian meal that is served on a banana leaf. There are a variety of 29 dishes that are laid over the leaf with less or more number. The feast reflects the spirit of Onam with some tasty items such as “Rice, Sambar, Chips, Sharkaravaratti, Injipuli, Pappadam, Avial, Olan, Pickle, Dal, Thoran, Ghee, Rasam, Puliseri, Erisheri, Pachadi, Coconut Chutney, Moru and which ends with a sweet, savoury Payasam”.

In certain customs, a Palmyra tree covered with dry leaves surrounded by a wooden balustrade is erected in the temples. The tree is then lit with a torch that gets burned down to ashes symbolizing Mahabali's sacrifice. Another enjoyable custom is the swing slung from high branches, which plays an integral part in the rural areas. Young men and women sing Onapaatu and rock one another on the swings till they are tired. Onam celebration spans over 10 days with numerous festivities. It is observed in its pure traditional form. The first ten days of Onam are the most important which begins with Atham.

Though it is a Hindu festival, today it celebrated by all. In 2022, Onam is celebrated on 8th September. Happy Onam to one and all!

Fri, 09 Sep 2022 19:03:11 +0530
Onam a festival of Prosperity

Anupama Nair

India is home to many festivals. All festivals be it Holi, Diwali or Ganesh Chaturthi, all festivals are celebrated with pomp and splendor. Each and every state celebrates its own festivals. Onam is a festival celebrated in Kerala called as God's own country. August or September is that time of the year when the state is “exhilarated with trumpets, drums, elephants, boat races, dances, art, music, floral decorations, lights, colors, rituals and the delicious Onasadya without which the celebrations are obscure”. Since, Malayalis live everywhere, you can safely say Onam is a global festival. Onam is celebrated after Ganesh Chaturthi and before Shradiya Navratri.

According to Hindu belief, the devout king Prahalad had a grandson Mahabali who took over the three worlds by defeating the Devas. The Devas approached Lord Vishnu to help them in the battle against Mahabali, Vishnu had initially refused as he believed Mahabali was a good ruler and his devotee. Mahabali performed a Yajna after his victory over the Gods and took a vow to grant anyone any request. Lord Vishnu took this opportunity to test Mahabali's devotion and approached Mahabali in the avatar of a dwarf boy called Vamana.

The king offered everything he could to the boy, but Vamana refused and said one must not seek more than one's needs and all he needed was three-paces. Mahabali, although surprised by the boy's wish, agreed to grant it. Vamana grew and covered the land and water with one foot and the sky with another foot, now to place his third-foot Mahabali offered himself. Vamana trampled Mahabali down to Pathala, as he was pleased by his devotion offered him a boon to visit his land every year. The revisit of Mahabali every year is the festival of Onam.

Onam is welcomed with a diverse range of activities and celebrated with great pomp and enthusiasm. The onset of Onam is from the procession that starts from Thripunithara in Cochin. There is a parade that features the culture of Kerala through elephant marches, drum beats, festival flag hoisting, folk art forms, colorfully decorated floats that depict scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Historically, the procession path leads to the temple from Thripunithara that's dedicated to Vamana the avatar of Vishnu.

What is Onam without the ‘Onapookalam’, which is nothing but a floral carpet that's decorated with flowers and petals. It is filled with several varieties of flowers forming patterns on the floor of central entrances. It is a religious art that involves a lot of creativity to blend the colors of petals to form a floral art. Pookalam is very similar to Rangoli that's decorated by people in other parts of the country. There are Pookalam

What is any festival without food? The Sadya, meaning banquet in Malayalam, is a vegetarian meal that is served on a banana leaf. There are a variety of 29 dishes that are laid over the leaf with less or more number. The feast reflects the spirit of Onam with some tasty items such as “Rice, Sambar, Chips, Sharkaravaratti, Injipuli, Pappadam, Avial, Olan, Pickle, Dal, Thoran, Ghee, Rasam, Puliseri, Erisheri, Pachadi, Coconut Chutney, Moru and which ends with a sweet, savoury Payasam”.

In certain customs, a Palmyra tree covered with dry leaves surrounded by a wooden balustrade is erected in the temples. The tree is then lit with a torch that gets burned down to ashes symbolizing Mahabali's sacrifice. Another enjoyable custom is the swing slung from high branches, which plays an integral part in the rural areas. Young men and women sing Onapaatu and rock one another on the swings till they are tired. Onam celebration spans over 10 days with numerous festivities. It is observed in its pure traditional form. The first ten days of Onam are the most important which begins with Atham.

Though it is a Hindu festival, today it celebrated by all. In 2022, Onam is celebrated on 8th September. Happy Onam to one and all!

Fri, 09 Sep 2022 18:57:59 +0530
Remembering Prithviraj Chauhan the last Hindu King of Delhi and Ajmer

Anupama Nair

Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of Bharat’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British, but from the beginning of history as we know.

Seventh of June is the birth day of Bharat Maa’s “Veer Putra” Pritviraj Chauhan who was born on the 12th day of Jyeshta lunar month. Today I am going to tell the story of Prithviraj Chauhan who tried valiantly to stop the invasion of Muhammad Ghori and sacrificed his life in the process. His defeat at the Second Battle of Tarain paved the way for the Delhi Sultanate and subsequent Islamic stronghold in Medieval Bharat.

Prithviraj III (1178–1192 AD), popularly known as Prithviraj Chauhan was a king from the Chauhan dynasty. He ruled over Sapadalaksha, the traditional Chauhan territory located in present-day north-western India. He controlled much of the present-day Rajasthan, Haryana, and Delhi and some parts of Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. His capital was located at Ajayameru (Ajmer), The medieval folk legends described him as the king of Bharat’s political center Delhi and portrayed him as the last great representative of the pre-Islamic Indian power.

Prithviraj was born to the Chauhan king Someshwara and queen Karpuradevi. Both Prithviraj and his younger brother Hariraja were born in Gujarat, where their father Someshvara was brought up at the Chalukya court by his maternal relatives. The medieval biographies of Prithviraj suggest that he was highly educated. The Prithviraj Raso claimed that he was well-versed in a number of subjects, including history, mathematics, medicine, military, painting, philosophy, and theology. He was proficient in archery.

Prithviraj moved from Gujarat to Ajmer, when his father Someshvara was crowned the Chauhan king. After the death of his father, in 1177 AD, when still a minor, ascended the throne with his mother as the regent. The Hammira Mahakavya (a 15th century book written by Naya Chandra Suri) claimed that Someshvara himself installed Prithviraj on the throne, and retired to the forest. However, there are no records to prove this theory.

Prithviraj was a great conqueror and his kingdom at the greatest extent included vast regions of northern India. His name and fame spread across the subcontinent and Afghanistan as well. Many lesser kings were envious and wary of his power, particularly Raja Jaichand of Kannauj. Jaichand's daughter, Samyukta, who was known for her beauty, is said to have fallen in love with Prithviraj as his reputation dazzled her. She desired nobody but him.  Prithviraj had heard about Samyukta's loveliness and fell in love with her too.

Prithviraj and Jaichand were rivals and on finding out about the affair, Raja Jaichand was outraged that a romance had been budding behind his back. Jaichand decided to insult Prithviraj and arranged a swayamvar (wedding) for his daughter in 1185 AD. He invited royal princes from far and wide to the ceremony, each and every eligible prince and king, except Prithviraj. He then commissioned a clay statue of Prithviraj, which served as a dwarpal or doorman to Jaichand's court.

Prithviraj Chauhan, on hearing about the impending swayamvar, devised a plan to elope with Samyukta. On the day of the ceremony, Samyukta walked through the court holding the ceremonial garland, and ignored the gazes of her ardent suitors. She passed through the door and put the garland around the neck of Prithviraj's statue, declaring him to be her husband. Prithiviraj, meanwhile was hiding behind the statue, caught Samyukta up in his arms, set her on his horse, and whisked her away to Delhi, enraging Raja Jaichand. This led to a rift between Delhi and Kannauj, weakening both the kingdoms, in the years to come and fall to Muhammad Ghori, sultan of Ghurid Empire.

Prithviraj's predecessors had faced multiple raids from invaders that had captured the north-western areas of the Indian subcontinent by the 12th century. By the end of the century, the Ghazni-based Ghurid dynasty controlled the territory to the west of the Chauhan kingdom. While Prithviraj was still a child, in 1175 AD, the Ghurid ruler Muhammad Ghori crossed the Indus River and captured Multan. In 1178 AD, he invaded Gujarat, which was ruled by the Chalukyas (Solankis). During its march to Gujarat, the Ghurid army appeared to have passed through the western frontier of the Chauhan kingdom. Ghori’s invasion was repulsed by Queen Naiki Devi somewhere in Anhilwara and the invader had to flee from the battle without any accomplishment Naiki Devi’s victory was chronicled by both Hindu and Muslim chronicles.

Following his defeat, Ghori began concentrating elsewhere. Over the next few years, he consolidated his power in the territory to the west of Chauhan’s kingdom, conquering Peshawar, Sind and Punjab. He shifted his base from Ghazni to Punjab, and made attempts to expand his empire eastwards, which brought him face-to-face with Prithviraj.

While Hindu accounts of the Prithviraj Chauhan’s encounters with Ghori proclaim that Prithviraj fought several battles with Ghori, defeating him each time, except the last one. As per recorded history both the kings met face-to-face twice at the Battles of Terrain in 1191 and 1192. In the first battle Prithviraj along with Govind Raj the ruler of Delhi defeated Ghori with Ghori barely escaping with his life. “Following his defeat Ghori began preparations” for another showdown and succeeded in the battlefield where he tasted defeat a year ago. Prithviraj was defeated, imprisoned and later killed, although his death is shrouded in mystery with various theories.

The Prithviraj Raso claimed that Prithviraj was taken to Ghazni as a prisoner, and blinded. On hearing this, the poet Chand Bardai traveled to Ghazni as well, and tricked Ghori into watching an archery performance by the blind Prithviraj. During this performance, Prithviraj shot the arrow in the direction of Ghori’s voice and killed him. Shortly after, Prithviraj and Chand Bardai killed each other.

To commemorate this brave heart, a movie has been made starring Akshay Kumar and Sonu Sood. The love story of Prithviraj and Samyukta is very famous especially among romantic couples. I bow to such a great king who tried to save his country from invaders.

What we need to remember is the defeat and death of Prithviraj was the beginning of nine hundred years of slavery which ended on 15th August 1947. What we need to think, is was our Independence merely against the British or seven hundred years before them – Ghaznvi, Khiljis, Mughals etc., and what we do is most of Delhi streets are named after the Mughals, and the place where the remains of Nalanda university exist is named Bhaktiyarpur after Bhaktiyar Khilji the man who burned the university!  I urge each one of the people to think about it.

Tue, 06 Sep 2022 13:33:27 +0530
Data Analytics an Introduction

Anupama Nair

The concept of big data has been around for years, most organizations now understand that if they capture all the data that streams into their businesses, they can apply analytics and get significant value from it. But even in the 1950s, decades before anyone uttered the term ‘big data’, businesses were using basic analytics i.e., essentially numbers in a spreadsheet that were manually examined) to uncover insights and trends. 

“The new benefits that big data analytics brings to the table, however, are speed and efficiency”. A few years ago, a business would have gathered information, run analytics and unearthed information that could be used for future decisions, today that business can identify insights for immediate decisions. The ability to work faster and stay agile gives organizations a competitive edge they was not there before.

What is data analytics? It is the science of analyzing raw data to make conclusions about that information. Many of the techniques and processes of data analytics have been automated into mechanical processes and algorithms that work over raw data for human consumption. Data analytics is a broad term that encompasses many diverse types of data analysis. Any type of information can be subjected to data analytics techniques to get insight that can be used to improve things. Data analytics techniques can reveal trends and metrics that would otherwise be lost in the mass of information. This information can then be used to optimize processes to increase the overall efficiency of a business or system.

For example, manufacturing companies often record the runtime, downtime, and work queue for various machines and then analyze the data to better plan the workloads so the machines operate closer to peak capacity. Data analytics can do much more than point out bottlenecks in production. Gaming companies use data analytics to set reward schedules for players that keep the majority of players active in the game. Content companies use many of the same data analytics to keep you clicking, watching, or re-organizing content to get another view or another click.

Data analytics is important because it helps businesses optimize their performances. Implementing it into the business model means companies can help reduce costs by identifying more efficient ways of doing business and by storing large amounts of data. A company can also use data analytics to make better business decisions and help analyze customer trends and satisfaction, which can lead to new and better products and services. 

The process involved in data analysis involves several different steps:

  1. The first step is to determine the data requirements or how the data is grouped. Data may be separated by age, demographic, income, or gender. Data values may be numerical or be divided by category.
  2. The second step in data analytics is the process of collecting it. This can be done through a variety of sources such as computers, online sources, cameras, environmental sources, or through personnel.
  3. Once the data is collected, it must be organized so it can be analyzed. This may take place on a spreadsheet or other form of software that can take statistical data.
  4. The data is then cleaned up before analysis. This means it is scrubbed and checked to ensure there is no duplication or error, and that it is not incomplete. This step helps correct any errors before it goes on to a data analyst to be analyzed.

Data analytics is broken down into four basic types.

  1. Descriptive analytics: This describes what has happened over a given period of time. Have the number of views gone up? Are sales stronger this month than last?
  2. Diagnostic analytics: This focuses more on why something happened. This involves more diverse data inputs and a bit of hypothesizing. Did the weather affect beer sales? Did that latest marketing campaign impact sales?
  3. Predictive analytics: This moves to what is likely going to happen in the near term. What happened to sales the last time we had a hot summer? How many weather models predict a hot summer this year?
  4. Prescriptive analytics: This suggests a course of action. If the likelihood of a hot summer is measured as an average of these five weather models is above 58%, we should add an evening shift to the brewery and rent an additional tank to increase output.

Data analytics underpins many quality control systems in the financial world, including the eternally popular Six Sigma Program. If you aren’t properly measuring something, whether it's your weight or the number of defects per million in a production line, it is nearly impossible to optimize it. Some of the sectors that have adopted the use of data analytics include the travel and hospitality industry, where turnarounds can be quick. The industry can collect customer data and figure out where the problems, if any, lie and how to fix them.

Healthcare combines the use of high volumes of structured and unstructured data and uses data analytics to make quick decisions. Similarly, the retail industry uses abundant amounts of data to meet the ever-changing demands of shoppers. The information retailers collect and analyze can help them identify trends, recommend products, and increase profits. 

Data analytics is important because it helps businesses optimize their performances. Implementing it into the business model means companies can help reduce costs by identifying more efficient ways of doing business. A company can also use data analytics to make better business decisions and help analyze customer trends and satisfaction, which can lead to new—and better—products and services. 

Data analytics is broken down into four basic types. Descriptive analytics describes what has happened over a given period of time. Diagnostic analytics focuses more on why something happened. Predictive analytics moves to what is likely going to happen in the near term. Finally, prescriptive analytics suggests a course of action.

Data analytics has been adopted by several sectors, such as the travel and hospitality industry, where turnarounds can be quick. This industry can collect customer data and figure out where the problems, if any, lie and how to fix them. Healthcare is another sector that combines the use of high volumes of structured and unstructured data and data analytics can help in making quick decisions. Similarly, the retail industry uses numerous amounts of data to meet the ever-changing demands of shoppers.

Tue, 06 Sep 2022 13:29:14 +0530
Power of Faith

ANUPAMA NAIR

“Faith can move mountains”. This is what my grandmother always used to tell me. My belief in her old words of wisdom was reinstated when I visited the Rama Krishna Mission in Belur Mutt, Calcutta. Located in the banks of a dying river, it is a spot every lover of peace and tranquility would love to visit. I too admired the beauty of the place. Soon I got a chance to visit the library of the Mutt. I managed to lay my hands on a book which changed my outlook on life. The book had a story of Jatila a small boy, whose faith made it possible to see Bhagwan Krishna.

Once upon a time in a village in Orissa lived a poor widow with her son Jatila. When Jatila became old to be send to gurukul, his mother took him to enroll in the gurukul on the other side of the jungle. Jatila was excited at the thought of going to the gurukul, but the journey through the forest was scary. On the first day, as he began his journey through the dense forest, he thought the huge trees rustling in the wind was telling its own tale of terror. He even heard the wild animals moving around. The journey back home was even more terrifying. The darkness added to his fear. On reaching home, he told his mother that he did not want to go tomorrow. His mother told him that his brother Madhusudan would be his companion in the forest. He was excited at the though of meeting his brother for the first time. Next day he went to the forest and started crying “Brother Madhusudan, where are you”? When there was no reply he started crying. Mother said you will come, but where are you? He heard the ringing of bells, and sweet music emanating from a flute. He saw a boy who introduced himself as Madhusudan. From then on, the journey to and fro to the gurukul became a pleasure.

One day the Guru announced that each child has to bring some special dish. Jatila’s mother was poor, and she asked him to tell his brother. Madhusudan gave him a pot of curd. When the Guru saw the small pot and asked him how it will feed the entire class. When he began to serve the pot became an Akshaya Patra. Even after feeding the class the pot was full. Guru accused Jatila of doing black magic.  When Jatila said, it was given by his brother, the Guru slapped him and accused him of lying. Jatila took the Guru to the forest and called his brother. When there was no reply, the Guru began to beat him again. Suddenly there was a voice from the sky. “I am Jatila’s brother Madhusudan. You cannot see me as your heart is not pure as Jatila. He could see me because of his faith in me.

Needless to say, Jatila became an overnight hero as people could guess who his brother is. He is an atheist who does not have faith. Faith is one of the most potent factors of humanity. It is necessary to have faith as initiates the process of thinking which leads to reason. Unless an animal becomes a man in the first place, he can never hope to become a god. So, first of all have faith in yourself, your parents, guru and then God.

Tue, 06 Sep 2022 13:25:03 +0530
The Great Mother Daughter Duo who defeated Ghori and Aibak

Anupama Nair

Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of  India’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British. Today I am going to write about the mother—daughter duo, who defeated Ghori and Aibak. Have you heard this story before? I am sure the answer would be no, as our history in text books was written mostly by people who were not patriots. There are many dynasties who ruled for centuries, but few invaders who ruled for lesser years got more coverage in our curriculum. Many warriors, especially brave queens were neglected and never included in history. One such brave queen is Nayaki Devi, the queen of Gujarat who defeated Muhammad of Ghori 14 years before he faced Prithvi Raj Chauhan and her daughter Kurma Devi, who defeated Aibak.

Kurma Devi was the brave daughter of a braver mother. She was a witness to her mother defeating the cruel invader Ghori. She was married to Samar Singh, the Rawal of Chittorgarh, who had two wives. His first wife was Prithabai who was the sister of one of  India’s greatest sons – Prithvi Raj Chauhan and the other wife was Kurma Devi. Prithvi Raj Chauhan fought Muhammad Ghori, and was martyred, but killed Ghori too.

There is falsehood women were not treated well in Bharat, it  may be true in the modern world, but in the ancient period, women were equal to men and treated well. Women were well versed in archery and known for their bravery. Think about the great daughters of this land. I had written a series of articles about great queens of India. We were anything but regressive!

Unfortunately, Samar Singh and his eldest son were killed in the Second  Battle Of Tarain (1191-92 AD) that was fought between Prithvi Raj Chauhan and Muhammad Ghori. After the war Ghori returned to Multan and left Qutub-ud-din Aibak in charge of Delhi. Now let us talk about Quṭub-ud-Dīn Aibak who was the founder of the Mamluk dynasty and the first sultan of the Delhi Sultanate. He was born in Turkistan and was a slave. When his master died, he was sold by his master’s son to Muhammad of Ghor, who made him the Amir-i-Akhur (Master of Slaves). Over the years, he joined Ghori’s military and rose to become the general of Muhammad of Ghor.

Kurma Devi had to look after her young son Karan Singh. After a couple of years, Kurma Devi led her army with nine other kings and eleven Rawats, in her march towards Delhi to seek revenge against the man who had killed her husband, and kill him -- Qutub-ud-Din Aibak. Kurma Devi and her army encountered Qutub-ud-Din Aibak and his army near the old Amber Fort. She herself confronted Aibak and challenged him in a duel. What a brave woman to challenge a sultan! In the duel, this brave queen managed to bury her sword deep into Qutub-ud-Din’s flesh, and he was so severely wounded that he tumbled from his horse. Aibak’s army believed he was dead, and the cowards that they were, instead of fighting back they fled from the battlefield. Kurma Devi thought that she had avenged the death of her dead husband with the death of Qutub-ud-din and she returned to Chittorgarh.

But unfortunately, Aibak was not dead. He recovered and decided to take vengeance. He declared himself the Sultan of India. He destroyed the temple of Vishnu, which also had Vishnu Dhwaj. (later named as Qutub Minar in Delhi). He attacked Mewar and captured Karan Singh. He looted all the wealth of Mewar and also took Karan Singh as captive and his loyal horse Shubhrak. When they reached Lahore, Karan Singh tried to escape but unfortunately, he was caught. In anger, Qutub-ud-din ordered to behead Karan Singh. He declared that he would play a polo match with the dead king’s head. The next day, Qutub-ud-din arrived at the venue, riding on Shubhrak. But as they say you pay for your evil deeds and now that is what happened.

Animals of India are very intelligent and loyal to their masters, whether it is our horses, elephants or cows. Shubhrak, immediately recognized his master Karan Singh and started crying. When he saw that his master was released from his chains so that he could be beheaded, Shubhrak suddenly became uncontrollable and threw Qutub-ud-din on the ground. Next, Shubhrak stomped on Aibak’s chest and head with his mighty hooves continuously. Hit by such powerful hooves, Qutub-ud-din died on the spot. But this was not it. Before the army could capture it, Shubhrak ran towards his master Karan Singh and saved his life. Karan Singh mounted the horse and escaped and Shubhrak ran for several days and nights till it reached the palace of Udaipur. There, Karan Singh got down, and patted his beloved horse … but after acknowledging the pat from its master, Shubhrak fell to the ground and died.

When I think of such valiant souls, I  bow my head with reverence to those who had protected India and our Dharma from avaricious hordes of invaders. Now think about what you were taught in history books and what was the reality? Isn’t it the time we rewrite our history books and invaders shown in their true colors and our cities and streets named as they were before these invaders whose only intention was to loot the “sone ki chidiya” and not work for the benefit of the country? Hope the time comes soon! I for sure would like to see that in my life time. Vande Mataram!

Mon, 05 Sep 2022 23:05:27 +0530
Jo Shaheed hue inko jara yad karo qurbani

India has always given birth to many brave sons and daughters who sacrificed their lives for their mother land. Be it Rana Pratap, Shivaji Maharaj or Rani Laxmi Bai, the list is never ending. Even after Independence many brave sons and daughters gave their lives for us. “The Indian Army has been filled with spine-chilling tales of valor, indomitable spirit in the face of adversity, and unparalleled devotion towards our motherland. However, no military person in Independent India’s has ever captured the nation’s veneration as Captain Vikram Batra did. From being an ordinary boy hailing from a small village in the Palampur district of Himachal Pradesh, to becoming one of India’s most celebrated war heroes in a life that spanned merely twenty-five years, is not a mean feat”, quoted a friend of Vikram Batra.

Vikram Batra was born on 9 September 1974, in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. He was the third child of Girdhari Lal Batra, a school principal, and Kamal Batra, a school teacher. He was the elder of twin sons, and was born fourteen minutes before his brother, Vishal. The twins were nicknamed Luv (Vikram) and Kush (Vishal) after the twin sons of  Lord Rama and Sita, by their mother as she was a faithful devotee of Rama. He had two sisters Seema and Nutan. Besides being brilliant at studies, he was a keen sportsman and represented his school at the national level during the Youth Parliamentary competitions in New Delhi. After completing his bachelor's degree in 1995, he enrolled in Punjab University, Chandigarh, where he took admission in MA English, so that he could prepare for the “Combined Defense Services” (CDS) Examination. He attended evening classes at the University and worked part-time in the morning as a branch manager of a travelling agency in Chandigarh.

In 1996, he passed the CDS examination and subsequently received a call for an interview at the Services Selection Board (SSB)in Prayag Raj and was selected. He was among the top 35 candidates in the Order of Merit. After completing his MA, he left the University to join the Indian Military Academy. Captain Vikram Batra joined the Jessore Company of Manekshaw Battalion and was commissioned into the 13 JAK Rifles, well known for its undaunted soldiers and countless battle exploits.

He was posted to Sopore in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir after being commissioned to the Indian army. Vikram Batra’s unit had completed its field tenure and was preparing to move to its peace location in April 1999. However, fate had planned something else -- large scale intrusions by the Pakistani forces were detected in Kargil by early May 1999. In June 1999, as part of Operation Vijay, Vikram Batra’s unit 13 JAK Rifles got deployed in the Drass area of Kargil under the operational command of 56 Infantry Brigade. It was only after the capture of the Tololing Top in Drass by 2 Rajasthan Rifle battalion that 13 JAK Rifles were given the responsibility of capturing a very strategic Point 5140.

The Point 5140 peak was one of the most treacherous and crucial peaks and was heavily defended by the enemy forces. Vikram Batra led Delta Company while Sanjeev Singh Jamwal led the Bravo Company and were allocated the arduous task of capturing Point 5140 in a daring night attack. On reaching a height of 17,000 feet, Vikram Batra and his men had planned to approach the hill from the rear. However, as they neared the top, Pakistani defenders restrained them from the cliff by firing with machine guns. Vikram Batra and his men, without caring for their lives, climbed up and  threw two grenades at the machine gun posts. He single-handedly killed three soldiers in a close combat and despite being deeply wounded, he regrouped his men and continued the mission.

Vikram Batra sent his victory signal on June 29, 1999 via a radio message, in which he said, “Chanakya …it’s Shershah reporting!! We’ve captured the post! Yeh Dil Maange More”. His victory signal, later on became the catch-line for the Kargil War, inspiring not only just the unit, but also each and every citizen -- the unflinching spirit of supreme service for the motherland. The landmark victory of Point 5140 paved the way for a string of other victories at Point 5100, Point 4700, Junction Peak and ‘Three Pimples’.

On 6 July 1999, Vikram Batra began the attack to re-capture Point 4875. With extraordinary courage and daredevilry, Captain Batra launched a frontal attack against the enemy forces shortly after re-capturing Point 4875. Unfortunately, during the exchange of fire, he got injured, but continued his efforts to reach the mouth of the ledge. However, just as he reached there, he noticed one of his young soldiers lying in a pool of blood few feet away. During his attempt to move the injured soldier to safety, he was hit by a sniper fire in the chest. His last words were “Durga mata ki jai”. Moved by his unparalleled courage and supreme sacrifice, his men attacked and captured Point 4875. Today the point is called as the ‘Batra Top’ as a tribute to the supreme sacrifice of Captain Vikram Batra at the young age of 25.

Captain Vikram Batra was given the nation’s highest gallantry award, Param Vir Chakra posthumously for his supreme sacrifice that will forever remain engraved in the annals of Indian history.

To commemorate his bravery there was movie called Shershah (named after his code name), released this year starring Siddharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani. It was one of my all-time favorite movies. The actor Siddharth Malhotra said “ they say that those who touch our lives, stay in our hearts forever. And Captain Vikram Malhotra you have touched our lives immensely with your valor, wisdom, charm and love for the nation. You will stay in our hearts forever… In your loving memory, Jai Hind, flag of India”.

Vikram had earlier told his family “either I will come back hoisting the tricolor or come back wrapped in it, but I will come for sure”! Such a brave words from a great son of India. Shershah you will be remembered for ever.

Mon, 05 Sep 2022 22:59:06 +0530
Tip for healthy bones

Anupama Nair

 

It is very important to have a good health. Having healthy bones is very important for our good health, or else it will give us lot of pain after 30 years of age. Bones are literally the support system of the body, so it’s necessary to keep them strong and healthy. It is said “bones are continuously being broken down and rebuilt in tiny amounts”. Before the age of 30, bones typically reach ‘peak bone mass’ that varies from person to person, meaning the body is creating new bone faster, but after 30 years, the bone building balance naturally shifts and more bone is lost than gained.

 

A few people have a lot of savings in their bone bank due to factors including genetics, diet and how much bone they built up as teenagers. The natural depletion of bone doesn’t affect these lucky ones drastically. However, those with a smaller bone fortune i.e., when the body can’t create new bone as fast as the old bone is lost, osteoporosis is the result, causing bones to become weak and brittle and allowing them to fracture more easily. The disease is prevalent in postmenopausal women over the age of 65 and in men over the age of 70.

 

Fortunately, for us there are many nutrition and lifestyle habits that can help you build strong bones and maintain them as you age:

 

  • Eat lots of vegetables
  • Do exercise regularly
  • Consume enough protein
  • Eat food with high calcium throughout the day
  • Get Plenty of Vitamin D and Vitamin K
  • Avoid very low-calorie diets
  • Consider Taking a collagen supplement
  • Maintain a stable and healthy weight.

 

 

Mon, 05 Sep 2022 22:55:10 +0530
This small village with a big mission for the country

K.A.Viswanathan

If you come across a village that has 350 families with little close to 3,000 people where more than 1650 people are in one profession while 46 young people have died of the same reason, what would you be thinking about the village? Undoubtedly, one may conclude that agriculture is the main profession and there must be some medical issues that have affected the village’s youngsters. But this village's story will give you a different feeling. 

Welcome to Apshinge village in Satara district in Maharashtra that has sent 1650 for the national cause to the Indian Army. During the first World War itself 46 men from this village lost their lives battling them. And since then there are hundreds who laid their life protecting Mother India in the 1962 China war, Indo-Pak war of 1965 and in 1971 when we fought for Bangladesh freedom with Pakistan. When you enter this village, a ‘Vijay Sthamb’ or war memorial at the entrance of the village will welcome you. It’s a poignant memorial which carries names of those who fought and died from this village in several war and war like situations chronologically.  On the entrance arch it clearly mentions “The only Military village in the country!” This name was given by the British for their contribution to the armed forces then.  Interestingly, this village has a record of at least one person either serving in armed forces or serving currently with armed forces. 

 

No wonder the Shanmukhananda fine arts and Sangeetha Sabha, Matunga  honoured 75 war veterans from this Apshinge Military village as part of the Amrit Mahotsav celebrations. on August 15 in the presence of  the General Officer Commanding, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa Lt. General H.S.Kahlon. 

 

Since children from the village are given training in the schools itself for military services, Shanmukhananda is planning to set up a state-of–the–art Gymnasium for the children who want to join the forces to enhance their physical performance. Apart from this, they will redevelop the existing school building, and build a community hall with office facilities for the army men, announced  Dr. V. Shankar, president of the Shanmukhananda Sabha. On the Independence Day, the Sabha  conferred “Shanmukha Shauriya Ratna” award to this village,  which carries a cash prize of Rs5 lakhs, a citation and mementos.

 

Shanmukhananda has been every year felicitating the martyrs' families of those who died while on  duty on the Independence day. This year 25 widows of martyrs  were  felicitated by presenting them Rs.2 lakh each and a memento.  in this function Seventy Five students of the Sabha’s Sangeetha Vidhyalay and Rajeswari  Bharatanatya Kala Mandir, Matunga, also participated.

 

Sun, 04 Sep 2022 07:38:32 +0530
Woman collecting firewood finds 4 39 carat diamond in MP s Panna

Bhopal, July 28: Madhya Pradesh's Panna, famous for its diamond mines, has made many poor families' fortune as they come across precious stones in the most unexpected places.

In the latest such instance, Lady Luck smiled on a poor woman, who had gone to collect firewood in a forest area in Panna, as she returned with a 4.39 carat diamond.

The woman, identified as Gendabai and a resident of Purusottampur village of the district, used to go to the forest to collect firewood, which she sold to earn her sustenance.

On Wednesday, when she was busy in collecting firewood, she noticed a sparkling stone lying just few metres away from her.

She took it and went to government-run 'Diamond Office' and shown it to the officials present there. There, she was informed that "stone" she had found and brought from the forest is actually a precious diamond.

"The raw diamond, which the woman found, has been received from her and would be auctioned and the money would be given to her after the deduction of government royalty and taxes. The diamond is estimated to be worth Rs 20-25 lakh," said Anupam Singh, a diamond inspector.

In February this year, a brick kiln operator had found a 26.11 carat diamond worth Rs 1.2 crore. In December last year, the fortune of four labourers changed after they came across as many as seven precious diamonds when they were doing digging work.

Located in Madhya Pradesh's Bundelkhand region, Panna is also known for its famous tiger reserve.

IANS

 

Thu, 28 Jul 2022 23:27:32 +0530
Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav The great queen who defeated Gori

Anupama Nair

Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of  India’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British. Today I am going to write about Naiki Devi , who defeated Ghori . Have you heard this story before? I am sure the answer would be no, as our history in text books was written mostly by people who were not patriots. There are many dynasties who ruled for centuries, but few invaders who ruled for lesser years got more coverage in our curriculum. Many warriors, especially brave queens were neglected and never included in history. One such brave queen is Nayaki Devi, the queen of Gujarat who defeated Muhammad of Ghori 14 years before he faced Prithvi Raj Chauhan and her daughter Kurma Devi, who defeated Aibak.

The legendary queens in India, Egypt, Greek and Roman mythology were warrior women who have fascinated the world from time immemorial. India, too, has its own share of indomitable women who proved themselves to be fierce fighters and skilled leaders. Making military strategies to storming the battlefields, these courageous queens were truly a force to be reckoned with and second to none. Rani Lakshmi Bai, Rani Abbaka Chowta and Kittur Chenamma were three of the more well-known examples. However, there are many more whose stories have been forgotten in the annals of history. Among these unsung warrior women is Naiki Devi, the Goan princess who went on to become the Chalukya queen of Gujarat and defeat the mighty Muhammad Ghori in the battlefield. Later her daughter Kurma Devi almost killed Aibak. Not much is known about these great queens of India.

Naiki Devi was a Great Indian warrior queen, born to Paramardin, who was the Chief of Kadamba ( Goa), and was married King Ajayapala of Gujarat who ascended the throne of Gujarat in 1171 AD. Unfortunately, King Ajayapala could only rule for four years. After his death his elder son Mularaja II  became his successor. As the new king was a minor, his mother Naiki Devi ascended the throne and effectively ruled on his behalf as a regent. Naiki Devi was well-trained in sword fighting, cavalry, military strategy, and all other subjects a queen needed.

In the year 1173, the young Ghurid prince, Muhammad Shahabuddin Gori had just managed to conquer the Ghaznavids in Afghanistan, and he did something which no other king could do, when the troops of Alexander the Great, the Persians, the Arabs and even Mahmud of Ghazni could not — conduct successful invasion deep into the heart of the Indian Subcontinent.

Muhammad Ghori first invaded Multan and the fortress of Uch. After achieving victories in Multan and Uch, he eyed the Rajputana and Gujarat. Can you guess his target? -- the prosperous and well-fortified town of Anhilwara Patan (Gujarat). It was established by Vanraj of the Chapotkata dynasty in the 8th century, and Anhilwara Patan was the capital of the Chalukya (also known as the Solankis) who ousted the Chapotkatas.  The famous American historian Tertius Chandler, stated  “the ancient citadel was the tenth-largest city in the world in the year 1000 AD, with a population of approximately 100,000”.

 

Gori was confident he would defeat the kingdom as he assumed a mere woman and her child would not provide much resistance. But unfortunately for him , he learnt a lesson-- never to underestimate the great valor of a young Indian queen. Unconcerned about the prospect of Ghori’s impending attack, she took command of the Chalukyan army and threw herself into organizing a well-planned opposition to the invading army. Naiki Devi, also sent out emissaries to forge crucial partnerships and request assistance from nearby provinces for help, including Prithvi Raj Chauhan. However, these kingdoms did not accede to her request, but she did receive aid from Chalukyan feudatories such as the leaders of the Naddula Chahamana clan, the Jalor Chahamana clan, and the Arbuda Paramara clan.

Nayaki Devi now was thinking of a strategy to defeat the enemy. She even cleverly chose the site of the battle -- the hilly passes of Gadaraghatta at the foot of Mount Abu near the village of Kasahrada, (Kyara in Sirohi district which is 65 km away from Anahilavada). The narrow passes gained were a huge advantage and surprisingly, the invading army was at great disadvantage. The Chaulukyan army was headed by Nayaki Devi with the boy-king sitting on her lap. Her army and the troop of elephants crushed the massive army, which were famous for defeating the mighty Sultans of Multan. Nayaki Devi killed several enemy soldiers, and
Ghori the coward he was fled with a handful of bodyguards. The battle was known as Battle of Kasahrada.

This defeat forced Ghori to change his plan next year while invading India, and entered India through Khyber pass, and captured Peshawar followed by Lahore. It can be mere co-incidence that this was the route taken by Alexander the Great and Mahmud of Ghazni. Later on, after him the cruel assassin who butchered humans, Taimur also took the same route during his conquest of North West India in 1383, and so would his descendant another assassin who butchered humans -- Babur, on his way to founding the Mughal empire in India in 1526. These invaders are glorified by the historians in India as if they came to my great country for the benefit of Indians and not to loot the great wealth which India was always famous for. They have streets named after them; their portraits are hung in the party office of a political party I do not want to name here. An actor couple named her son after one such invader, as if there was shortage of names.

If the strong queen of the Chalukyas had not taken charge, it is quite possible the History of India would have been very different. However, the great queen is unknown and buried in the sands of time, while these invaders are well-known. Naiki Devi’s victory is mentioned in the state chroniclers of Gujarat as well as Chalukyan inscriptions. There are two Sanskrit inscriptions in Gujarat, where Mulraja II is mentioned as the conqueror of Garjanakas (dwellers of Ghazni and even a woman could defeat the Hammira during the reign of Mulraja II”.

Thu, 28 Jul 2022 00:20:38 +0530
2nd Test Day 4 Dhananjaya s ton puts Sri Lanka in an unassailable position against Pakistan

Galle, July 27: Dhananjaya de Silva's century along with vital contributions from Dimuth Karunaratne and Ramesh Mendis put Sri Lanka in a virtually unassailable position at the end of fourth day in the second Test against Pakistan at Galle International Stadium, here on Wednesday.

Chasing 508 for a win after Sri Lanka declared their second essay on 360 for 8, Pakistan were 89 for 1 at stumps on Day 4 and need 419 runs on the final day to record a historic run-chase.

It was the partnership between Dimuth Karunaratne and Dhananjaya de Silva late on day three that bailed Sri Lanka out of trouble from 117/5. On day four, the pair continued to pile on the runs as they dealt with everything Pakistan had to throw at them.

Both the batters were resolute in their defence in their opening exchanges, opting to rotate strike regularly instead of searching for boundaries. Skipper Karunaratne joined Sri Lanka's elite 6000-run club early in the day, becoming the sixth batter from the nation to do so.

Once they got their eye in, the boundaries started to flow regularly. Dhananjaya brought up the 100-run stand for the sixth wicket with a four through mid-wicket. The very next over, Karunratne got to his 31st Test fifty. His fellow batting partner wasn't to be left behind as he too got to the milestone a few overs later.

It needed something special to break the resolute stand and Abdullah Shafique pulled off a stunning catch at short leg to end the skipper's resistance. Dunith Wellalage departed for 18 but a flurry of boundaries from the bat of Dhananjaya meant Sri Lanka managed to add 121 runs to their overnight score before lunch.

At the break, Sri Lanka had a lead of 444 runs but given the memorable chase of 342 Pakistan pulled off in the first Test, the hosts decided to continue batting in the afternoon session.

Dhananjaya de Silva got to his 9th Test century in style with a boundary. At the other end, Ramesh Mendis landed a few heavy blows - including three consecutive fours against Hasan Ali - to take the lead past 500. A direct hit from Yasir Shah ended the centurion's innings as Sri Lanka finally called for a declaration, setting Pakistan a target of 508.

In reply, Pakistan started their innings with intent. Both Abdullah Shafique and Imam-ul-Haq were amongst the boundaries.

It took a great catch from Wellalage to dismiss the in-form Shafique. Despite the wicket, Pakistan maintained a healthy run rate, courtesy of the free-flowing strokes from Imam and Babar Azam, who once again walked out to bat at No.3.

The two batters ensured the Sri Lankan spinner didn't inflict any more damage, as they batted cautiously into tea. Just as the game was approaching the final hour of play, bad light once again played spoilsport as the players were forced off the pitch. No play was possible thereafter as umpires called early stumps.

Brief Scores: Sri Lanka 378 (Dinesh Chandimal 80, Niroshan Dickwella 51; Naseem Shah 3-58, Yasir Shah 3-83) & 360/8 (Dhananjaya de Silva 109, Angelo Mathews 61; Naseem Shah 2-44, Mohammad Nawaz 2-75) lead Pakistan 231 (Agha Salman 62, Imam ul Haq 32; Ramesh Mendis 5-47, Prabath Jayasuriya 3-80) & 89/1 (Imam ul Haq 46 not out) by 418 runs
 

IANS

Wed, 27 Jul 2022 23:58:13 +0530
Taliban s suffocating crackdown destroying lives of women and girls

New York, July 27: The lives of women and girls in Afghanistan are being devastated by the Taliban's crackdown on their human rights, Amnesty International said.

Since they took control of the country in August 2021, the Taliban have violated women's and girls' rights to education, work and free movement; decimated the system of protection and support for those fleeing domestic violence; detained women and girls for minor violations of discriminatory rules; and contributed to a surge in the rates of child, early and forced marriage in Afghanistan.

"Less than one year after the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan, their draconian policies are depriving millions of women and girls of their right to lead safe, free and fulfilling lives," said Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International's Secretary General.

"Taken together, these policies form a system of repression that discriminates against women and girls in almost every aspect of their lives. Every daily detail -- whether they go to school, if and how they work, if and how they leave the house -- is controlled and heavily restricted.

"This suffocating crackdown against Afghanistan's female population is increasing day-by-day. The international community must urgently demand that the Taliban respect and protect the rights of women and girls."

One of the women told Amnesty International: "We were beaten on our breasts and between the legs. They did this to us so that we could not show the world. A soldier who was walking next to me hit me in my breast, and he said, 'I can kill you right now, and no one would say anything'. This happened every time we went out: we were insulted -- physically, verbally, and emotionally."

Detained protesters had inadequate access to food, water, ventilation, sanitary products and health care. To secure their release, the women were forced to sign agreements that they and their family members would neither protest again, nor speak publicly about their experiences in detention, Amnesty International said.

According to four whistleblowers from Taliban-run detention centres, the Taliban has increasingly arrested and detained women and girls for minor violations of their discriminatory policies, such as the rule against appearing in public without a mahram (male chaperone) or with a man who does not qualify as a mahram. Those arrested are usually charged with the ambiguous 'crime' of 'moral corruption'.

A prison staff member explained: "Sometimes they bring the boys and girls from the coffee shop... (Or) if they see a woman who is not with a mahram, she can be arrested... Before these kinds of cases were not in the prison... The numbers are increasing each month."

One university student, who was detained in 2022, told Amnesty International that she was threatened and beaten after being arrested on charges related to the mahram restrictions.

She said that Taliban members "started giving me electric shocks... on my shoulder, face, neck, everywhere they could.... The one holding the gun said, 'I will kill you, and no one will be able to find your body'."

According to Amnesty International's research -- corroborated by national and international organisations operating in Afghanistan, local activists and other experts -- the rates of child, early and forced marriage in Afghanistan are surging under Taliban rule. The key causal factors for the increase include the economic and humanitarian crisis; the lack of educational and professional prospects for women and girls; families forcing women and girls to marry Taliban members; and Taliban members forcing women and girls to marry them.

Stephanie Sinclair, director of Too Young to Wed, an organisation working on child, early and forced marriage, explained: "In Afghanistan, it's a perfect storm for child marriage. You have a patriarchal government, war, poverty, drought, girls out of school -- with all of these factors combined -- we knew child marriage was going to go through the roof."

IANS

Wed, 27 Jul 2022 23:52:08 +0530
4 siblings from UP s Lalganj crack Civil Services exam

Pratapgarh (UP), July 27: Four siblings - two brothers and two sisters - who grew up quite impoverished in Uttar Pradesh's Lalganj, have cracked the UPSC Civil Services Examination, and all are IAS and IPS officers.

Their father, Anil Prakash Mishra, who was a manager at a Gramin bank, said: "Though I was a manager at a Gramin bank, I never compromised with my children's quality of education. I wanted them to get good jobs and my children also focused on their studies."

Yogesh Mishra, the eldest of the four siblings, is an IAS officer. He completed his early education from Lalganj and then did his engineering from the Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology.

He took up a job in Noida but continued to prepare for the Civil Services.

In 2013, he cleared the UPSC examination and became an IAS officer.

His sister, Kshama Mishra, who was also preparing for the Civil Services, could not clear it during her first three attempts.

However, she cleared the exams during her fourth attempt and is now an IPS officer.

The third sibling, Madhuri Mishra, after graduating from a college in Lalganj, moved to Allahabad to pursue her Masters.

After this, she successfully cleared her UPSC exams in 2014 and became an IAS officer of Jharkhand cadre.

Lokesh Mishra, who is now in Bihar cadre, is the youngest sibling and had ranked 44th in the UPSC exam in 2015.

The proud father was quoted as saying: "What more can I ask for? I hold my head high today because of my children."

IANS

Wed, 27 Jul 2022 23:36:12 +0530
MP s tiger Pancham will now roar in India s biggest zoo in Jamnagar

Bhopal, July 27: A five-year-old tiger named - 'Pancham', who was living at rehabilitation centre of Van Vihar National Park located in Madhya Pradesh's capital city Bhopal, was transported to Gujarat on Tuesday.

Now, tiger 'Pancham' will be living in Green Zoological Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (GZRC) at Jamnagar in Gujarat, which is owned by Reliance Group. Newly established on over 280 acres of land, GZRC is considered the world's biggest zoo, in terms of number and species of wild animals at one place.

As per the officials in Wild Life Department in Bhopal, a team of GZRC had visited here to complete legal procedures of transformation of big cat and had taken 'Pancham' to Jamnagar on Tuesday. Officials said that tiger was sent to the Jamnagar-based facility in a healthy condition.

The tiger was transferred to Gujarat following the direction and approval from the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), New Delhi. "The Central Zoo Authority has permitted to transfer tiger to Jamnagar zoo in January this year. Some leopards from Van Vihar Bhopal will also be sent to Jamnagar," a senior official from Madhya Pradesh's Wildlife Department told IANS on Wednesday.

Before living in Bhopal's Van Vihar National Park, 'Pancham' lived in Pench Tiger Reserve, which is located in Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh. Now, Van Vihar National Park is left with 13 tigers after Pancham's relocation.

As per the officials, Pancham was rescued and shifted to Bhopal's Van Vihar National Park in December 2020. Pancham was three-and-a-half-year-old when his canine teeth got damaged due to an unidentified reason. Apart from Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand Central Zoo Authority has also allowed the transfer of two tigers named - "Betal and Shikha" from Nainital's Govind Ballabh Pant Zoological Park and Ranibagh Rescue Centre to Reliance group owned Green Zoological Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Jamnagar in Gujarat.

IANS

Wed, 27 Jul 2022 23:31:05 +0530
5 Places to Surprise Your Furry Friends with Treats

New Delhi, July 27: The city of dreams pampers both humans and animals. Mumbai has it all, from pet cafes and bakeries to vibrant food stores. Here are the top five places to go to surprise and relax with your four-legged friend:

Piper's Pet Bakery
Erika Kleinmann, owner of Piper's Pet Bakery and proud Labrador owner, has been baking delicious and appealing dog cakes for years. She ensures that they are made with all natural ingredients and that salt, sugar, and gluten are not used in the recipes. Kleinmann takes care of allergens and customises the food accordingly, in addition to creatively adding fun items to the menu such as cakesicles, tarts, and brownies.

Piper's Pet Bakery is located in Mumbai's Vikhroli West neighbourhood. It is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week.

Cat Cafe Studio
Cat Cafe Studio, as the name implies, is all about your feline companion. This location advertises itself as a shelter for stray cats. For an hourly fee of Rs 200/ per hour, one can visit and enjoy a cup of coffee while playing with the cuddly creatures, which helps them care for the cats with special needs. The Cat Cafe Studio, located in Andheri, is open to the public from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.

Waggilicious Pet Bakery
Waggilicious Pet Bakery offers a variety of treats for dog and cat owners to spoil their pets. They not only offer gluten-free, sugar-free, salt-free, and preservative-free products, but they also dazzle customers with colourful doughnuts, cakes, and cookie hampers. This establishment has a store in Goregaon East, Mumbai.

Bombay Barkers Dog Bakery
Bombay Barkers Dog Bakery, the ultimate treat spot for your four-legged friends, opened in 2020. It promises to provide tasty yet nutritious treats for four-legged creatures. Among other things, the brand promotes fresh birthday cakes and ice cream. It is situated in Mumbai's Colaba district.

Woodside Inn
It can be difficult to leave your pets alone at home while going out with friends. Woodside Inn, on the other hand, removes your guilt from enjoying your meals while your furry friends enjoy the offerings of this establishment.

IANS
 

Wed, 27 Jul 2022 12:45:44 +0530
Maha CM DyCM great ex CM Uddhav Thackeray on his 62nd B day

Mumbai, July 27: As Uddhav Thackeray turned 62 years old, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis greeted him as "ex-CM" -- avoiding mention as 'Shiv Sena President', here on Wednesday.

"Wishing former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on his birthday...praying before Mother Jagdamba to give him a long and healthy life," said Shinde in his greeting.

"Wishing former chief minister Uddhav Thackeray a very happy birthday... wishing him a healthy and long life," Fadnavis said in his felicitation.

Later, a Shinde group leader claimed that the official greeting was appropriate as per protocols applicable from a CM to a former CM.

Breakaway Shiv Sena faction leader Shinde and Bharatiya Janata Party's Fadnavis toppled the Maha Vikas Aghadi regime headed by Thackeray on June 29, and the duo took oath on June 30.

Since then, there is a dogfight, a war of nerves and a legal battle as the Shinde side attempts to assert its supremacy and claim of being the 'real Shiv Sena', but the Thackeray camp has rejected these contentions outright.

At midnight, the Thackeray family cut the ceremonial birthday cake and full-throated sang the all-time favourite Bollywood songs like "Tum Jiyo Hazaaron Saal...", "Baar Baar Din Ye Aaye..."

As he blew off the candles and sliced through the multi-tiered cake, the gathering comprising wife Rashmi, son Aditya and others, lustily cheered 'Happy Birthday To You...' as a grinning but a tad embarrassed Thackeray accepted the affection with folded hands.

Meanwhile, thousands of Sena leaders and ordinary party activists from Mumbai and other parts of the state thronged 'Matoshri' -- the Thackeray's residence in Bandra east -- to meet and greet the 'birthday boy' who was surrounded with his family and other close relatives.

Among the visitors were several seniors who came to 'bless' Uddhav, one came to present a sketch made in his blood, others carried flowers, bouquets and good-wishes for the Sena chief.

IANS

Wed, 27 Jul 2022 12:37:32 +0530
IIndia reports 18 313 new Covid cases 57 deaths

New Delhi, July 27: India reported 18,313 new Covid cases in the last 24 hours, a rise from the previous day's count of 14,830, said the Union Health Ministry on Wednesday.

In the same period, the country has reported 57 more Covid deaths, taking the nationwide death toll to 5,26,167.

Meanwhile, the active caseload of the country has marginally dropped to 1,45,026 cases, accounting for 0.33 per cent of the country's total positive cases.

The recovery of 20,742 patients in the last 24 hours took the cumulative tally to 4,32,67,561. Consequently, India's recovery rate stands at 98.47 per cent.

Meanwhile, India's daily positivity rate has risen to 4.31 per cent, while the weekly positivity rate in the country currently also stands at 4.57 per cent.

Also in the same period, a total of 4,25,337 tests were conducted across the country, increasing the overall tally to over 87.36 crore.

As of Wednesday morning, India's Covid-19 vaccination coverage exceeded 202.79 crore, achieved via 2,68,10,586 sessions

Over 3.86 crore adolescents have been administered with a first dose of Covid-19 jab since the beginning of vaccination drive for this age bracket.

IANS

Wed, 27 Jul 2022 12:27:35 +0530
Jo Shaheed hue inko jara yad karo qurbani

Anupama Nair

India has always given birth to many brave sons and daughters who sacrificed their lives for their mother land. Be it Rana Pratap, Shivaji Maharaj or Rani Laxmi Bai, the list is never ending. Even after Independence many brave sons and daughters gave their lives for us. “The Indian Army has been filled with spine-chilling tales of valor, indomitable spirit in the face of adversity, and unparalleled devotion towards our motherland. However, no military person in Independent India’s has ever captured the nation’s veneration as Captain Vikram Batra did. From being an ordinary boy hailing from a small village in the Palampur district of Himachal Pradesh, to becoming one of India’s most celebrated war heroes in a life that spanned merely twenty-five years, is not a mean feat”, quoted a friend of Vikram Batra.

Vikram Batra was born on 9 September 1974, in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh. He was the third child of Girdhari Lal Batra, a school principal, and Kamal Batra, a school teacher. He was the elder of twin sons, and was born fourteen minutes before his brother, Vishal. The twins were nicknamed Luv (Vikram) and Kush (Vishal) after the twin sons of  Lord Rama and Sita, by their mother as she was a faithful devotee of Rama. He had two sisters Seema and Nutan. Besides being brilliant at studies, he was a keen sportsman and represented his school at the national level during the Youth Parliamentary competitions in New Delhi. After completing his bachelor's degree in 1995, he enrolled in Punjab University, Chandigarh, where he took admission in MA English, so that he could prepare for the “Combined Defense Services” (CDS) Examination. He attended evening classes at the University and worked part-time in the morning as a branch manager of a travelling agency in Chandigarh.

In 1996, he passed the CDS examination and subsequently received a call for an interview at the Services Selection Board (SSB)in Prayag Raj and was selected. He was among the top 35 candidates in the Order of Merit. After completing his MA, he left the University to join the Indian Military Academy. Captain Vikram Batra joined the Jessore Company of Manekshaw Battalion and was commissioned into the 13 JAK Rifles, well known for its undaunted soldiers and countless battle exploits.

He was posted to Sopore in the Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir after being commissioned to the Indian army. Vikram Batra’s unit had completed its field tenure and was preparing to move to its peace location in April 1999. However, fate had planned something else -- large scale intrusions by the Pakistani forces were detected in Kargil by early May 1999. In June 1999, as part of Operation Vijay, Vikram Batra’s unit 13 JAK Rifles got deployed in the Drass area of Kargil under the operational command of 56 Infantry Brigade. It was only after the capture of the Tololing Top in Drass by 2 Rajasthan Rifle battalion that 13 JAK Rifles were given the responsibility of capturing a very strategic Point 5140.

The Point 5140 peak was one of the most treacherous and crucial peaks and was heavily defended by the enemy forces. Vikram Batra led Delta Company while Sanjeev Singh Jamwal led the Bravo Company and were allocated the arduous task of capturing Point 5140 in a daring night attack. On reaching a height of 17,000 feet, Vikram Batra and his men had planned to approach the hill from the rear. However, as they neared the top, Pakistani defenders restrained them from the cliff by firing with machine guns. Vikram Batra and his men, without caring for their lives, climbed up and  threw two grenades at the machine gun posts. He single-handedly killed three soldiers in a close combat and despite being deeply wounded, he regrouped his men and continued the mission.

Vikram Batra sent his victory signal on June 29, 1999 via a radio message, in which he said, “Chanakya …it’s Shershah reporting!! We’ve captured the post! Yeh Dil Maange More”. His victory signal, later on became the catch-line for the Kargil War, inspiring not only just the unit, but also each and every citizen -- the unflinching spirit of supreme service for the motherland. The landmark victory of Point 5140 paved the way for a string of other victories at Point 5100, Point 4700, Junction Peak and ‘Three Pimples’.

On 6 July 1999, Vikram Batra began the attack to re-capture Point 4875. With extraordinary courage and daredevilry, Captain Batra launched a frontal attack against the enemy forces shortly after re-capturing Point 4875. Unfortunately, during the exchange of fire, he got injured, but continued his efforts to reach the mouth of the ledge. However, just as he reached there, he noticed one of his young soldiers lying in a pool of blood few feet away. During his attempt to move the injured soldier to safety, he was hit by a sniper fire in the chest. His last words were “Durga mata ki jai”. Moved by his unparalleled courage and supreme sacrifice, his men attacked and captured Point 4875. Today the point is called as the ‘Batra Top’ as a tribute to the supreme sacrifice of Captain Vikram Batra at the young age of 25.

Captain Vikram Batra was given the nation’s highest gallantry award, Param Vir Chakra posthumously for his supreme sacrifice that will forever remain engraved in the annals of Indian history.

To commemorate his bravery there was movie called Shershah (named after his code name), released this year starring Siddharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani. It was one of my all-time favorite movies. The actor Siddharth Malhotra said “ they say that those who touch our lives, stay in our hearts forever. And Captain Vikram Malhotra you have touched our lives immensely with your valor, wisdom, charm and love for the nation. You will stay in our hearts forever… 

Vikram had earlier told his family “either I will come back hoisting the tricolor or come back wrapped in it, but I will come for sure! Such brave words from a great son of India. Shershah you will be remembered for ever.

Wed, 27 Jul 2022 00:18:57 +0530
Operation Vijay A tale of valor and bravery

Anupama nair

July 26 is celebrated as Kargil Vijay Divas. I am going to talk about a war I remember well. All the others occurred before I was born or just a year-old baby.  The war took place between May and July of 1999 in the Kargil district of  Jammu and Kashmir. The conflict is believed to have been planned by the then Pakistan army chief General Pervez Musharraf without the knowledge of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It began with the infiltration of both Pakistani troops and terrorists into Indian territory. The infiltrators positioned themselves in key locations that gave them a strategic advantage during the start of the conflict.

The main cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani troops disguised as Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control (LoC), which served as the de facto border between the two countries in Kashmir. The Indian Army, supported by the Indian Air Force, recaptured a majority of the positions on the Indian side of the LoC. After much international diplomatic opposition, Pakistani forces were forced to withdraw from the remaining Indian positions along the LoC.

The Kargil War is one of the most recent examples of high-altitude warfare in mountainous terrain, and as such, caused significant logistical problems for the two sides. It is also the sole instance of direct, conventional warfare between two countries possessing nuclear weapons. India had successfully conducted its nuclear tests in 1974,  while Pakistan conducted its tests in 1998.

India launched ‘Operation Vijay’ to save the Kargil sector from infiltration by Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants on the Indian side of LoC. Kargil was the first war between India and Pakistan after the 1971 War that led to Bangladesh's formation. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister of India at the time of the War. The war took place despite the two nations signing the Shimla Agreement that stated that no armed conflict shall take place on the said boundary. However, as we have witnessed in past Pakistan can never be trusted. For the first time we in India witnessed our brave soldiers through television in Kargil fighting Pakistan, ‘Operation Vijay’ was termed successful when India won a decisive victory. While PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared the operation successful on July 14,  the operation was officially declared closed on July 26, 1999. Safed Sagar, the operation of the Indian Air Force, was a major part of the Kargil War. It used air power at the height of 32,000 feet for the first time. From identifying the Pakistani troops and Mujahideens, all the actions were performed well by the pilots and engineers despite just one week of training. India lost more than 500 soldiers on the Kargil territory while reports from Pakistan claimed that more than 3000 of their soldiers, mujahideens and infiltrates died.

The Kargil War memorial, located in Dras was built by the Indian Army, in the foothills of Tololing Hill. The memorial, which is located around 5 km from the city center across Tiger Hill, commemorates the martyrs of the Kargil War. A poem “Pushp Kii Abhilasha”  written by Makhanlal Chaturvedi, inscribed on the gateway of the memorial greets the visitors of this great place. The names of the soldiers who lost their lives in the War are inscribed on the Memorial Wall and can be read by visitors. A museum attached to the Kargil War Memorial, established to celebrate the victory of ‘Operation Vijay’, has pictures of Indian soldiers, archives of important war documents and recordings, Pakistani war equipment and gear, and official emblems of the Army from the Kargil War.

Indian army is one of the bravest army in the world, after all it is our Jai Hind ki sena!

Wed, 27 Jul 2022 00:12:14 +0530
Bairstow wants to play all formats of the game for as long as possible

Manchester, July 23: England batter Jonny Bairstow said he wants to play all three formats of the game for "as long as possible", despite his team-mate, all-rounder Ben Stokes recently retiring from ODI cricket at the age of 31 and Australia batter Usman Khawaja admitting that it is tough playing all formats in international cricket.

"I don't know if it's good or bad that I'm one of the last all-format players. But naturally there are challenges, we've seen that over a period of time now. We only had to look at the Test series this summer when there was the one-day squad in Holland at the same time.

"I think even if you look at the back end of this summer as well, there are the seven T20s in Pakistan that pretty much overlap with the last Test match. And it even goes back to the last World Cup where then you fly straight to the Ashes with a week's preparation after quarantining, then straight into the Test match," said Bairstow to Sky Sports Cricket.

In the home summer for England this year, Bairstow is one of the very rare all-format players. He played in Tests against New Zealand and India, playing a huge hand in victories. He then played ODIs against India and is featuring in 50-over matches against South Africa. Bairstow will play the T20Is against the Proteas and is scheduled to play three matches in The Hundred before Test series against South Africa comes.

"But you know me well enough now: I'll be trying to play all of them for as long as possible. I'll be going all out for as long as I can. There might come a time when you do have to make a decision for different reasons, but that's part and parcel of life and cricket.

"In the near future I can't see me making a choice because I'm loving being part of all three squads. They're all individual squads and they're great to be a part of. It's exciting. You go into a new one and you've got a freshness and new faces and energy around them, because you're going into a new format," added Bairstow.

Amidst the talk over future of bilateral series, especially of the 50-over cricket at risk, Bairstow insisted he still loves ODIs and warned young players of the danger in committing only to T20 cricket. "I think it is a really good format. The journey we have been on as a group to get to (winning) the 2019 World Cup was amazing.

"I also think that 50-over cricket is in some ways a stepping stone into Test cricket. You get worked over for longer, you sometimes have to grind out difficult periods and play good cricket shots. The middle overs, especially are a lot like Test cricket.

"There is the lure of playing in T20 leagues and making a quick buck, let's be honest about that. But, everything comes from your basic technique, which you learn in four-day cricket - and then you expand from that."

Citing the example of premier England batter Joe Root, Bairstow elaborated, "Look at (Joe) Root, for instance, his technique is fantastic and then he takes that from Test cricket to 50-over cricket, to T20 cricket... and all he does is expand his game.

"I think if you try to just look at T20 cricket, it can be tricky in some ways because that is a rollercoaster that can go very quickly. Your bread and butter is your four-day cricket, your 50-over cricket and then your T20 cricket, make an impact in that to then go forward and enable you to have more longevity in it."

IANS

Sat, 23 Jul 2022 23:43:54 +0530
A global sporting spectacle spawned by a Letter to the Editor

New Delhi, July 23: It was a Letter to the Editor of 'The Times' of London in 1891 by John Astley Cooper, described by his contemporaries as "a propagandist for athleticism", that planted the seed of the idea that became the Commonwealth Games, the biggest multi-sport spectacle today after the Olympics.

Cooper made a robust case for a "Pan-Britannic-Pan-Anglican Contest and Festival every four years as a means of increasing goodwill and good understanding of the British Empire". But it was Baron Pierre de Coubertin who first acted on the idea and after of course modifying it, launched the Olympic Movement.

The original idea, which found a distant promoter in Richard Coombes in Australia (Cooper was born in Adelaide before his family moved to England), was brought to life as the Inter-Empire Championship in 1911 to coincide with the coronation of King George V, which Indians will remember for the Durbar that was held at the Red Fort in Delhi, which was attended by the British monarch and his wife. It was at this Durbar that the king announced the shifting of the capital of British India from Calcutta to New Delhi.

The Inter-Empire Championship was a "grievous disappointment", as a journalist from the 'Auckland Star' wrote, with teams from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and South Africa participating in a limited number of events. Then came the tumultuous World War I, and by the time the world recovered from it, Cooper's idea was consigned to history's footnotes.

But then came Melville Marks 'Bobby' Robinson, the sports editor of the Canadian newspaper, 'The Hamilton Spectator', who went to the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam as manager of his country's track and field team.

At the Olympics, riled by the behaviour of the Americans and the Germans, who obviously did better far than athletes from the British Empire, Robinson lobbied for a British Empire Games to be launched in his home city in 1930.

When his idea got the green light, Cooper claimed much of the credit and said that his aim had been "to show through a festival of sport and culture that Anglo-Saxons ruled the world". Unfortunately, he died six months before the first British Empire Games were flagged off on August 16, 1930, in Hamilton, Ontario, by the then Governor-General of Canada, Lord Willingdon, who later served as the Viceroy of British India between 1931 and 1936.

Ironically, far removed Cooper's vision, in the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the overwhelming majority of the 72 participating nations are not Anglo-Saxon; the city in which they are being held, Birmingham, has Britain's highest population of people of Indian origin; and the host country, England, is in the middle of a contest for the Prime Minister's office where one of the two contenders is of British African Indian origin, a devout Hindu, and is married to the daughter of one of the pioneers of India's infotech success story.

India was not among the 11 nations and territories that participated in the 1930 British Empire Games, but it opened its account in 1934, when the Games, inaugurated by King George V, were held in London. And India also got its first medal -- a Bronze for a now-forgotten wrestler, Rashid Anwar, in the welterweight division. All that we know about Anwar is that he was born in 1910 and died in 1983 in Camden, UK.

India also participated in the 1938 Games held at the Sydney Cricket Ground to also celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of Australia. The contingent returned home without a medal -- and the Games then went into a limbo only to return after 12 years in 1950.

India, however, did not join the 1950 British Empire Games in Vancouver, Canada, maybe because all its efforts and budgets had been taken up by the then-upcoming Asian Games, which were first held in New Delhi in 1951. Interestingly, Pakistan opened its account with the 1950 Games and picked up six medals.

In 1954, the British Empire Games became the British Empire and Commonwealth Games and India was back in the fray. The Games will be remembered forever before it was there that gold medallist Roger Bannister (England) and silver medallist John Landy (Australia) became the first humans to run a mile in less than four minutes.

The event, televised live across the world for the first time, became known as the 'Miracle Mile' and is commemorated by a statue of Bannister and Landis that still stands in Vancouver. The Indian contingent came back empty handed.

The next British Empire and Commonwealth Games, held in Cardiff, Wales, in 1958 is memorable for India because of Milkha Singh's historic gold medal in the 440 yards race.

But the 1958 Games will be remembered for the letter written by many leading sports stars, including Stanley Matthews, Jimmy Hill and Don Revie, to 'The Times' on July 17, 1958, slamming the presence of white-only South African sports. Perhaps in the first show of athletes uniting for a political cause, the signatories opposed "the policy of apartheid" in international sport and defended "the principle of racial equality which is embodied in the Declaration of the Olympic Games".

India missed the 1962 Games -- obviously because of the government's preoccupation with the border war with China -- but it returned in 1966 (Kingston, Jamaica). India managed a rich haul of 10 medals, including a silver in hammer Praveen Kumar, who'll forever be remembered for playing Bhim in the televised 'Mahabharata'.

The Games were renamed the British Commonwealth Games in 1970. The event in Edinburgh, Scotland, saw Queen Elizabeth II attend the Games for the first time since her coronation in 1952 in her capacity as the Head of the Commonwealth of Nations. And in 1978 (Edmonton, Canada), the Games got the name that they have carried since then -- Commonwealth Games. They were boycotted by Nigeria in protest against New Zealand's sporting links with South Africa and Uganda, for Canada's hostility towards the regime of the dictator Idi Amin.

But the biggest-ever boycott took place in 1986, when 32 African, Asian and Caribbean nations, including India, stayed away from the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh to protest against the then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's stern refusal to snap sporting ties with apartheid-era South Africa.

Since, the Commonwealth Games have grown bigger and stronger, and haven't seen political controversies on this scale, except in India, where the 2010 edition was marred by rampant mismanagement and allegations of corruption against the organising committee members. But the Games survived with their sheen intact.

IANS

Sat, 23 Jul 2022 23:35:13 +0530
IND v WI 2nd ODI India seek to avoid late middle order wobble in bid to clinch series

Port of Spain (Trinidad), July 23: In its humdinger of a victory against West Indies in the first ODI at Queen's Park Oval, India got many things right.

Like the top-order batters, captain Shikhar Dhawan, who fell three runs short of a century, his opening partner Shubman Gill and number three batter Shreyas Iyer scoring half-centuries. Then, there was Mohammed Siraj defending 15 runs in the final over and Yuzvendra Chahal backing his strengths to pick 2-58 in the middle overs.

Now, with the visitors 1-0 up in the three-match series, they would be seeking to improve on their middle-order meltdown, where they slipped from 213-1 in 33 overs to end up with 307-8 in 50 overs, a total way below the mark projected in the first half of their innings. In the second match on Sunday at the Queen's Park Oval, India will be aiming to improve on the late wobble and seal the series to make Wednesday's match a dead rubber.

Amongst the boxes India ticked on Friday, the opening stand between Dhawan and Gill was a huge one. There had been a question mark on the stand-in skipper's form after he looked a little rusty in the ODI series against England.

But Dhawan put all those questions to rest with a fantastic 97, where he played the second fiddle to a glorious Gill and after the youngster fell, he maintained the flow of attacking batting for India. On the other hand, Gill justified his selection ahead of Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ishan Kishan for a fluid knock in what was his maiden ODI fifty.

Iyer took his time to find a rhythm but reached his fifty. From there though, the West Indies bowlers mixed their line and lengths and varied their pace as Sanju Samson, Suryakumar Yadav, Deepak Hooda and Axar Patel didn't get big knocks using the platform laid by Dhawan, Gill and Iyer.

The late wobble will be something India will be keen to avoid against Alzarri Joseph, Jayden Seales, Akeal Hosein and Gudakesh Motie. With the ball, Siraj was the standout, with his yorkers and holding his nerve in the final over, so was Chahal.

West Indies, on the other hand, are on a seven-match losing streak in the format. But they will be delighted with the fact that they batted for full 50 overs, something which they have consistently struggled with and came close to achieving the highest chase at Queen's Park Oval. Kyle Mayers marked his return from injury with a splendid 75 while Brandon King made a good 54.

West Indies will be pleased by the fact that Shamrah Brooks, captain Nicholas Pooran, Hosein and Romario Shepherd chipped in with batting contributions to last their full quota of overs with the bat. Their catching was superb too though they may look at improving on some misfields.

Sunday will see both teams step up on the field, with fans expecting a thrilling cl'sh again at Queen's Park Oval.

Squads

West Indies: Nicholas Pooran (captain), Shai Hope (vice-captain), Shamarh Brooks, Jason Holder, Keacy Carty, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Jayden Seales, Romario Shephard (reserve) and Hayden Walsh Jr (reserve)

India: Shikhar Dhawan (Captain), Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shubman Gill, Deepak Hooda, Suryakumar Yadav, Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan (wicketkeeper), Sanju Samson (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja (vice-captain), Shardul Thakur, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Prasidh Krishna, Mohammed Siraj and Arshdeep Singh.

IANS

Sat, 23 Jul 2022 23:25:10 +0530
Players are stepping up looking for opportunities to deliver for the team Babar Azam Ahead of the

Galle, July 23: Ahead of the second Test against Sri Lanka at Galle, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam insisted that players in the side are always eager to step up and are looking for chances to play their role in helping the side cross the line.

Pakistan are high on confidence with a 1-0 lead in the two-match series, coming by chasing down 342 to secure the highest successful run chase at Galle, with Abdullah Shafique's unbeaten 160 leading the chase for the visitors. Azam himself was the main contributor in the four-wicket win with a brilliant 119 in the first innings.

"We are chasing scores at different venues that people often think are not achievable, but we have the faith. We are looking to make records when we take the field and it is our hard work and belief that is making it happen. We are united and players are stepping up and looking for opportunities to deliver for the team."

"We look for solutions for the challenges we encounter through partnerships or through our bowling plans. We plan for every situation. Of course, we are sportspeople and mistakes do happen, but we learn from them and make sure we do not repeat them," said Azam to PCB Digital.

Asked how the atmosphere in the team is ahead of the second Test, which gives them a chance to clinch the series in Sri Lanka, Azam remarked, "The morale is quite high in the camp as posting a good win gives you a lot of confidence. We had complete rest for one day and relaxed our bodies after spending five days in the field. It is very important to look after your body and look after your mental health."

"You stay on the toes for five days and your mind is constantly working under pressure during a match. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to look after yourself. A lot of credit goes to Cliffe (Deacon, team physiotherapist) for how he looks after us. We had a good session yesterday and are looking forward to the next Test. It was an intense competition with highs and lows so we are feeling good after winning it."

Pakistan will take the field on Sunday without their premier left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi after he was ruled out of the match because of a knee injury sustained on the fourth day of the first Test. In place of him, Pakistan have included Nauman Ali in the eleven and have decided to go with two fast bowlers.

"We will, definitely, miss Shaheen because of the way he bowls. He bowls with aggression and gets us wickets upfront that helps the team. It is unfortunate that he is not in the side, but considering the conditions, we have included a spinner, Nauman Ali, and will go with two fast bowlers in tomorrow's match," concluded Azam.

IANS

Sat, 23 Jul 2022 23:02:42 +0530
White House announces 270 mn security assistance to Ukraine

Washington, July 23:The White House has announced that the US will provide Ukraine with an additional package of security assistance worth $270 million.

According to a factsheet issued by the Department of Defence, the new round of aid includes four "High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems" (HIMARS) and additional ammunition for the HIMARS, four command post vehicles, 36,000 rounds of 105mm ammunition, 3,000 anti-armor weapons as well as up to 580 "Phoenix Ghost" tactical unmanned aerial systems, Xinhua news agency reported.

Part of the package, totaling $175 million, will be approved directly by President Joe Biden under the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), the Pentagon said, with the remaining $95 million coming from the Department of Defence-led Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) funds.

While weapons approved by the PDA are drawn directly from existing Pentagon stocks, the USAI is an authority under which the US government procures weapons from the industry via contracts.

The newly announced package brings total US commitment of security assistance for Ukraine to approximately $8.2 billion since the start of the Biden administration, according to the factsheet.

IANS

Sat, 23 Jul 2022 22:54:06 +0530
Heatwave in Europe underscores need for effective action to combat climate change WHO

Copenhagen, July 23: As Europe reels from the effects of a prolonged heatwave responsible for a series of ferocious wildfires and escalating record-breaking high temperatures, regional governments have been urged by the World Health Organization (WHO) to implement the Paris climate agreement, whose position has been reinforced "as a health treaty" by the COP26 Health Programme.

"Governments need to demonstrate political will and genuine leadership in implementing the global Paris Agreement on climate change, with collaboration replacing division and empty rhetoric," WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge said in a statement on Friday.

According to Kluge, 1,700 people have died as a result of the current heatwave in Spain and Portugal, and wildfires have spread from southern Europe to as far north as Scandinavia, reports Xinhua news agency.

This week, with the "scorching summer season barely halfway done", fires in London have destroyed 41 homes, he added.

"Ultimately, this week's events point yet again to the desperate need for pan-European action to effectively tackle climate change, the overarching crisis of our time that is threatening both individual health and the very existence of humanity."

In reaction to the extreme effects of the current heatwave, the WHO has issued guidance support for national and local authorities "to save lives and strengthen the resilience of communities and people to cope during extreme heat".

The WHO guidance recommended basic steps that everyone should take to safeguard themselves and their loved ones from the heat, including keeping out of the heat as much as possible during the night as well; avoiding strenuous physical activity and ensuring children and animals are not left in parked vehicles; and seeking medical advice if one is suffering from a chronic condition or taking multiple medications.

Furthermore, Kluge reiterated the UN Climate Change Conference's call for "health systems to assume their share of the responsibility to step up their resilience to, and fight against, climate change", arguing that coordinated action on multiple fronts will "strengthen environmental health and reverse the ravages of climate change".

IANS

Sat, 23 Jul 2022 22:49:11 +0530
Parties must work with spirit of nation first President Kovind

New Delhi, July 23: Outgoing President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday urged political parties must rise above a partisan approach and work with the spirit of "nation first".

At his farewell function in the Central Hall of Parliament, he said that he remains eternally grateful to the people of India and for giving him an opportunity to serve the country as President.

"What the Almighty had wanted me to accomplish could not have been accomplished without the support from all the elected representatives. During my term, I had frequently interacted with them on various platforms and had also met numerous delegations of parliamentarians and of people from other domains," he said.

He thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and members of his Council of Ministers, VicePresident M. Venkaiah Naidu and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla for their support during his tenure.

Citing Article 79 of the Constitution, which provides for a Parliament consisting of the President and the two houses, he said: "In keeping with this constitutional provision, I look at the President as an integral part of the Parliamentary family. As with any family, there are bound to be differences within this Parliamentary family too; there would be diverging views about how to proceed further.

"But we remain a family, and the interest of the nation remains our top priority. Political processes operate through the mechanism of party organisations, but the parties must rise above a partisan approach and consider what is good, what is essential for the common man and woman, with the spirit of 'nation first'."

The President said that when we consider the whole nation as a family, we also understand that differences are bound to crop up once in a while and such differences can be resolved peacefully and harmoniously through dialogue.

"Citizens and political parties have many constitutional avenues open to them, including protests. After all, the Father of our Nation employed the weapon of Satyagraha for that purpose. But he was equally concerned about the other side. Citizens have a right to protest to press for their demands, but it should always be in the peaceful Gandhian mould," he said.

The President said that looking back on his career in public service, and the efforts of the governments, they must accept that, although much has been achieved yet so much more remains to be done to raise the living standards of the marginalised.

"As the basic necessities are taken care of, aspirations are changing too. The dreams of average Indians have got wings now. This has been made possible by good governance, which by definition is without any kind of discrimination. This all-round progress is in tune with what Babasaheb Ambedkar had visualised," he added.

IANS

Sat, 23 Jul 2022 22:44:10 +0530
Prayagraj to revamp heritage bridge turn it into a tourist magnet

Prayagraj, July 23: The Yogi Adityanath government is all set to convert the 115-year-old Lord Curzon bridge here into Ganga gallery and heritage tourist place.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has finalised the action plan to beautify the bridge.

As per the work plan, Ganga gallery will be established on the bridge. The land on both sides of the bridge belongs to the Railways on which facilities like washrooms, parking, cafeteria etc will be built.

The bridge will display the journey of Maa Ganga to Gangasagar. Along with this, it will provide a chance to see and understand the mythology, religiosity and cultural heritage of Prayagraj through light and sound.

There is also a plan to sell Indian delicacies, crafts, etc. through mobile vehicles on the road above the bridge.

With this, tourists will not only get information about the importance of this bridge and the Ganga, but the local people will also get employment.

If the bridge's beautification is completed, then the people of Prayagraj will also get a new place for morning walks and evening relaxation.

Since times immemorial, Prayagraj has been world famous for the Kumbh, so 'samundhra manthan' will be showcased.

The flow of the Ganga will be channelised by the irrigation department and there will also be a facility to ferry people from Curzon Bridge to Sangam.

Curzon Bridge on the Ganga in Prayagraj, connecting Phaphamau and Prayagraj, was approved in 1901 in the name of Lord Curzon, who was the Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905 and its construction started in January, 1902. A 61-meter-long girder and 15 pillars have been used for this. The Singanbad gauge railway line passes on the underside of the bridge and the road above.

Till 1990, this bridge was operational. Considering the old bridge as unsafe for travel, the Railways decided to close and demolish it in 1998. The Ganga Gomti Express was the last train to pass on the bridge before its closure.

After that the Railways wanted to demolish it but on the request of the state government, the Railways handed over this heritage bridge to the government.

The Chief Minister has given instructions to make a glass floor and railing on both sides of the bridge to make it look attractive.

The bridge is also witness to the freedom struggle and was used during the Kumbh.

Principal Secretary, Tourism and Culture, Mukesh Meshram said that the construction of a gallery on Curzon Bridge and completion of other tourism development schemes will increase the inflow of tourists, which will generate revenue along with employment.

Through this, the public will come to know the various cultures, spirituality, food, living habits that have flourished on the banks of the Ganga for centuries.

IANS

Sat, 23 Jul 2022 22:36:57 +0530
Swarajya is my birthright and I will have it Tilak maker of modern India

This year 2022, is the 75th year of Independence from the British. There is hardly a month before our Independence Day. Our beloved Prime Minister decided to celebrate this year as “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. So, I am starting to write a feature on all those sons and daughters of Bharat Ma who fought against foreign invasion from time immemorial. I had written about Bharat Ma, As it is said “Janani Janmabhumishcha Swargadapi Gariyasi” which means “mother and motherland are superior even to heaven” in Dev Bhasha Sanskrit, from our great epic Ramayana. I believe in this motto and think my mother and Bharat Maa are superior to heaven. 23rd July is the birthdate of two great sons of Bharat Ma – Chandrashekar Azad and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and I am writing about both of them read on…

But the promised Dawn did finally come after nearly 200 years of colonial rule. We lost millions of Bharat Ma’s sons and daughters starting from Siraj-ud-Daula (Battle of Plassey, 1757), to Mangal Pandey, Rani Laxmi Bai (1857) and finally Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Chandrashekhar Azad, Veer Savarkar, Tilak and lastly the man who said “Give me blood, I will give you freedom”—Netaji.

As Rousseau, during the French Revolution said “Man is born free yet he is in chains”, it was true for India. The desire to be free is the dream of every human, but during the Raj it was a rare commodity. For a century we were ruled by a Company called East India Company, who let loose a reign of terror. It was truly a black era. But the Revolt of 1857 ended the Company rule and India was ruled by the British Government. But the reign of terror did not end. All voice of freedom was suppressed.

In such an India was born a true son of Bharat Ma on 23rd July1856, with the name Keshav Gangadhar Tilak, known as Bal Gangadhar Tilak in Bombay State (now Maharashtra). Tilak was born into a middle-class Brahman family. Although his birth place was Bombay, he lived in a village called Chikhali, along the coast till he was 10 years old. His father, an educator and a noted grammarian, took a job in Poona and he was educated at Deccan College in Poona. In 1876, he earned bachelor’s degrees in Mathematics and Sanskrit. Tilak then studied law, and received his degree in 1879 from the University of Bombay.  

Tilak had a long political career agitating for Independence from British Imperialism. He  was one of the most popular leader much before M.K. Gandhi. Tilak was considered a Radical Nationalist but a Social conservative unlike another great leader Gokhale. He was imprisoned many times that included a long period at Mandalay (Burma). He was called as "the father of Indian unrest" by British author Sir Valentine Chirol.

Tilak joined the Indian National Congress in 1890. He opposed the moderates in the Congress, especially towards the fight for self-government. In fact, it was the Swadeshi movement of 1905–1907 that resulted in the split within the Indian National Congress into the Moderates and the Extremists. In 1896, a bubonic plague infection spread from Bombay to Poona, and by 1897, it became a Pandemic. The Government bought in the British Army to deal with the emergency and strict measures were employed to curb the disease, which was very unpopular with the public.

Tilak soon took up this issue by publishing inspiring articles in his paper Kesari (Kesari in Marathi, and Maratha in English), quoting the Bhagvad Gita, and said “no blame could be attached to anyone who killed an oppressor without any thought of reward”. In 1897, Commissioner Rand and Lt. Ayerst were shot and killed by the Chapekar brothers “to put an end to the injustice borne by the people of Poona”.  British historians believed it was Tilak, who instigated the Chapekars. Tilak was charged with “incitement to murder” and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment. After the imprisonment, he was admired as a martyr and a national hero. He adopted a new slogan that was devised by Kaka Baptista, "Swaraj (self-rule)is my birthright and I shall have it."

When Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, partitioned Bengal in 1905, Tilak strongly supported the Bengali demand for the annulment of the partition and advocated a boycott of British goods, that soon, became a movement that swept the entire nation. Next year, he introduced a program of passive resistance, known as the “Tenets of the New Party”, that he hoped would destroy the influence of the British rule in order to gain Independence. These methods were later followed by M.K. Gandhi.

In the Mandalay Jail, Tilak wrote his magnum opus, The Srimad Bhagavad Gita, an original exposition of the most-sacred book of the Hindus. Previously in 1893, he had published The  Orion or, Researches into the Antiquity of the Vedas, and, a decade later, The Arctic Home in the Vedas. He intended to promote the Hindu culture as the successor to the Vedic Religion and he believed that the roots were in the “Aryans from the north”.

After his release from prison in 1914,  Tilak launched the Home Rule League  In 1916 he rejoined the Congress Party and signed the historic Lucknow Pact, with Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Tilak visited England in 1918 as president of the Indian Home Rule League. He then, realized that the Labor Party was a growing force in British politics, and he established firm relationships with its leaders. His prudence was justified as it was a Labor Government that granted independence to India in 1947.

Did you know Tilak met Swami Vivekananda and they mutually admired each other? They met on a train journey in 1892. It was agreed between them that “Tilak would work towards nationalism in the ‘political’ arena, while Vivekananda would work for nationalism in the ‘religious’ arena. When Vivekananda died at a young age in 1904, Tilak expressed great sorrow and paid tributes to him in the Kesari as “No Hindu, who, has the interests of Hinduism at his heart, could help feeling grieved over Vivekananda's samadhi. Vivekananda, in short, had taken the work of keeping the banner of Advaita philosophy forever flying among all the nations of the world and made them realize the true greatness of Hindu religion and of the Hindu people”.

He was part of the popular trio of Lal-Bal-Pal : Lala Lajpat Rai, Bipin Chandra Pal and Bal Gangadhar Tilak. We can rightly conclude, “Tilak left the blueprint of the Home Rule Movement, Swaraj, and Swadeshi, which made him the first national leader who envisioned the formation of linguistic states” and “Atma Nirbhar Bharat” introduced by our respected Prime Minister is his legacy.

Tilak left this world on 1st August 1920, after a brief illness. The people of India fondly called him Lokmanya. A portrait of Tilak was veiled in the Central Hall of the Parliament in 1956. Many films were made to commemorate him. He is indeed a true leader who fought for the course of Swarjya propounded by Bharat Ki Veer Putra, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

Our great and esteemed Prime Minister tweeted today by saying “One of the everlasting legacies of Lokmanya Tilak is the large-scale Ganesh Utsavs, which ignited a spirit of cultural consciousness among the people. During one of my Mumbai visits, I visited the Lokmanya Seva Sangh, which has a close association with Lokmanya Tilak."

 

Sat, 23 Jul 2022 22:30:08 +0530
Chandrashekhar Azad A man who died for Azad India

Anupama Nair

This year 2022, is the 75th year of Independence from the British. There is hardly a month before our Independence Day. Our beloved Prime Minister decided to celebrate this year as “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. So, I am starting to write a feature on all those sons and daughters of Bharat Ma who fought against foreign invasion from time immemorial. I had written about Bharat Ma, As it is said “Janani Janmabhumishcha Swargadapi Gariyasi” which means “mother and motherland are superior even to heaven” in Dev Bhasha Sanskrit, from our great epic Ramayana. I believe in this motto and think my mother and Bharat Maa are superior to heaven. 23rd July is the birthdate of two great sons of Bharat Ma – Chandrashekar Azad and Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and I am writing about both of them read on…

 

But the promised Dawn did finally come after nearly 200 years of colonial rule. We lost millions of Bharat Ma’s sons and daughters starting from Siraj-ud-Daula (Battle of Plassey, 1757), to Mangal Pandey, Rani Laxmi Bai (1857), and finally Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Chandrashekhar Azad, Veer Savarkar and lastly the man who said “Give me blood, I will give you freedom”—Netaji.

As Rousseau, during the French Revolution said “Man is born free yet he is in chains”, it was true for India. The desire to be free is the dream of every human, but during the Raj it was a rare commodity. For a century we were ruled by a Company called East India Company, which let loose a reign of terror. It was truly a black era. But the Revolt of 1857 ended the Company rule and India was ruled by the British Government. But the reign of terror did not end. All voice of freedom was suppressed.

In such an India was born a true son of Bharat Ma in 1906, in Bhabria near Prayag Raj in United Provinces, British India. His parents were Sitaram Tiwari and Jagrani Devi. He was born as Chandrashekhar Tiwari, and he was sent to Kashi Vidyapeeth because his mother wanted him to be a Sanskrit scholar. He was drawn to the Freedom struggle in 1921 when the Non-Cooperation Movement (started by M.K. Gandhi) was going on. It is said he was arrested for his participation in the Movement. When the 15-year-old boy was presented before the district magistrate Justice Tomson Kregat a week later, he gave his name as "Azad" or the Free, his father's name as "Swatantrata" or Independence, and his residence as "Prison". The infuriated magistrate ordered him to be detained for 23 weeks and ordered that he be punished with 15 lashes a day. That was the birth of Chandrashekhar Azad the Revolutionary.

When M.K Gandhi suspended the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1922 for no particular reason, Azad like Bhagat Singh was disappointed. He met a young revolutionary, Manmath Nath Gupta, who introduced him to a great Revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil, the founder of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA), a revolutionary organization. He then became an active member of the HRA and started to collect funds for HRA. 

Azad made Jhansi the hub of HRA for some time. He used the forest of Orchcha, near Jhansi, as a site for his shooting practice and trained other members of his group as he was an expert in shooting. He built a hut near a Hanuman Temple and lived there using another name Pandit Harishankar Brahmachari.  He made many friends in the village, some of who contributed generously to HRA. While he was living in Jhansi, he also learned to drive a car at the Bundelkhand Motor Garage

He was then involved in the Kakori Train Conspiracy. The robbery was conceived by Ram Prasad Bismil and Ashfaqullah Khan as the organization needed money for the purchase of weapons. Bismil and his party decided to plunder a train of the Northern Railways. The robbery plan was executed by Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, and their friends. It is believed that they looted that specific train because it was supposedly carrying the money which belonged to the Indians and was being transferred to the British Government treasury. They looted 8000 Rs and escaped to Lucknow. The objectives of this robbery were to fund the HRA with funds stolen from the British administration and to garner public attention by creating a positive image of the HRA among Indians.

He was a close friend of Bhagat Singh, Raj Guru, and Sukhdev and changed the name of HRA into the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association(HSRA) in 1928. 1928 was also the year of the Simon Commission, under John Simon who was appointed to study the implementation of the Government of India Act 1919, also called the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms (advocated the need to emancipate the local governments and legislatures from central control). Lala Lajpat Rai, a freedom fighter and educationist (opened National College in Lahore, where Bhagat Singh and Sukhdev studied) held a rally in Lahore protesting against the Simon Commission with placards “Simon Go Back”. The British police began to lathi-charge and unfortunately, Lalaji breathed his last. Bhagat Singh and his fellow revolutionaries decided to avenge the killing of Lalaji and decided to kill the officers involved in the Lathi charge. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev shot British police officer John Saunders eight times from within the DAV college in Lahore. Azad helped them and shot dead Charan Singh, the British-employed Indian police constable who chased Bhagat Singh and Rajguru as they fled and entered the college after killing Saunders. However, the person they intended to kill was not Saunders but Superintendent of Police James Scott who had ordered his men to lathi-charge protesters leading to the death of Lalaji. Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev who confessed their brave act was hanged on March 23, 1931 in Hussainwala, Lahore, and thus beloved sons of Bharat Maa, gave their lives for an Independent India. They were only 23 years old.

Now let me come back to the story of Azad. Azad managed to elude the police for some time. Jawaharlal Nehru in his autobiography stated he met Azad “in early 1931 to enquire whether, under the discussions being held that resulted in the signing of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, the revolutionaries could expect a fair deal leading to their honorable rehabilitation”.

Determined never to be captured by police, Azad was constantly on the move. On February 27, 1931, Azad arranged to meet a revolutionary at  Alfred Park in Prayag Raj. He was betrayed to the police, who surrounded him as soon as he entered the park. A gun battle ensued, in which two police officers were wounded. After a long shootout, holding true to his pledge to always remain Azad and never be captured alive, he shot himself with his last bullet.

The body was sent to Rasulabad Ghat for cremation without informing the general public. When people came to hear about their beloved leader’s death, they surrounded the park where the incident had taken place and chanted slogans against British rule and praised Azad. Thus, another beloved son of Bharat Ma sacrificed his life to free his motherland as Azad once said “Aisi jawaani kisi kaam ki nahi jo apni matrbhoomi ke kaam na aa sake (what is the use of being a youth, if you do not live for your motherland”. It is an idea I truly believe, as I have undertaken this mission to educate my country men about the true story of Independence and the many unknown who sacrificed their lives for their “watan or matrubhoomi”, so that we live in a free country.

To commemorate Azad, several schools, colleges, roads, and other public institutions across India were named after him. Many films have been made about Azad.  Manmohan played Azad in the 1965 film Shaheed, Akhilendra Mishra in the blockbuster The Legend of Bhagat Singh and Raj Zutshi in Shaheed-E-Azam.  

Our great Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had earlier announced a year-long celebration of the 75th year of Independence called Amritotsav tweeted he was a futuristic thinker and dreamt of a strong and just India. “Remembering the valiant son of Bharat Mata, the remarkable Chandra Shekhar Azad on his Jayanti. During the prime of his youth, he immersed himself in freeing India from the clutches of imperialism. He was also a futuristic thinker, and dreamt of a strong and just India”. I agree to this and I have admired him from childhood. Vandemataram Azad, you will live in our memory forever.

Sat, 23 Jul 2022 22:23:23 +0530
Frederick Taylor Father of Scientific Management

Anupama Nair

Frederick Taylor’s is known as the “father of Scientific Management”. His theories were as famous as Fayolism. In fact, Peter Drucker, who is called as the “guru’s guru”, had suggested Taylor deserved the title better.

Frederick Taylor was born on March 20, 1856 in Philadelphia, USA.  His father, Franklin Taylor, was a Princeton-educated lawyer, who built his wealth on mortgages. His mother, Emily Taylor  gave him early education. Later, Taylor studied for two years in France and Germany and traveled across Europe for 18 months. In 1872, he joined Exeter Academy with the plan of eventually going to Harvard and becoming a lawyer like his father. In 1874, Taylor passed the Harvard entrance examinations with honors, but could not join due to rapidly deteriorating eyesight.

When his sight was restored, Taylor however chose a different path. He joined as an apprentice to learn the trades of patternmaker and machinist at the Enterprise Hydraulic Works. Three years later he went to the Midvale Steel Company, where, starting as a machine shop laborer, he became successively a shop clerk, machinist, gang boss, foreman, maintenance foreman, head of the drawing office, and chief engineer. Taylor retired at age of 45 but continued to devote his time and money to promote the principles of scientific management through lectures at universities and professional societies across the US.

Taylor’s fame increased after his testimony in 1912 before a special committee of the US House of Representatives to investigate his own and other systems of shop management. Considering himself a reformer, he continued expounding the ideals and principles of his system of management until his death in 1915.

'Frederick W. Taylor was the first man in recorded history who deemed work deserving of systematic observation and study. On Taylor's `scientific management' rests, above all, the tremendous surge of affluence in the last seventy-five years which has lifted the working masses in developed countries well above any level recorded, even for the well-to-do. Not much has been added to them since - even though he has been dead all of sixty years”, said Peter Drucker, the famous Management Guru.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thu, 21 Jul 2022 22:31:49 +0530
BCCI spends Rs 3 5 crore on Team India s travel to Caribbean from England

New Delhi, July 21: After a near-perfect tour of England, the Indian cricket team flew out to the Caribbean for the white ball series and the BCCI spent around Rs 3.5 crore on their travel.

The final ODI against England got over on July 17 after which players who were rested for the upcoming 50 over matches went their own ways. However, players, who were supposed to travel to the West Indies, assembled and took a chartered flight, not a commercial one. As a result, the BCCI spent a hefty amount on a flight from Manchester to Port of Spain, a Times of India report said.

The team will play three ODIs in the Caribbean, beginning July 22, followed by five T20I starting July 29. Regular skipper Rohit Sharma, Pant and Pandya will return to the squad for the T20Is, while Kohli, Bumrah and Chahal have been rested for those matches as well.

"The BCCI spent Rs 3.5 crore on the chartered flight which took Team India from Manchester on Tuesday afternoon to Port of Spain (the capital of Trinidad and Tobago) by 11.30 pm IST. The reason a chartered flight was booked for the team was not Covid-19. It's difficult to book so many tickets on a commercial flight-the Indian contingent includes 16 players and members of the support staff, including head coach Rahul Dravid. There are players' wives who have travelled to the Caribbean too," TOI quoted a source close to the BCCI as saying.

The source added that it made sense to book a chartered flight instead of a commercial plane given how common the practice has become, especially among the world's top football clubs.

"Normally, in a commercial flight, this expense would've been around Rs 2 crore. A business class ticket from Manchester to Port of Spain would be around Rs 2 lakh. A chartered flight is more expensive, but it's a logical option to take. Most top football teams have a charter now," he said.

Upon reaching Trinidad on Wednesday, Team India, led by Shikhar Dhawan, had to turn to indoor nets ahead of the opening ODI of the three-match series starting on Friday, as rain prevented them from training outdoors.

The BCCI on Thursday tweeted a video report on the indoor nets as the final practice session had to be cancelled because of rain.

"Gearing up for ODI No.1 against the West Indies. Here's @ShubmanGill giving a lowdown on #TeamIndia's first net session in Trinidad," tweeted BCCI along with the video.

IANS

Thu, 21 Jul 2022 22:26:54 +0530
Several essential medicines vanish from Pakistani markets

Islamabad, July 21:An alarming situation has arisen as markets in Pakistan are short on several essential medicines, including suicide prevention drugs, due to a hike in their production costs - creating fear of an increased suicide rate in the country, local media reported.

"None of the brands selling lithium carbonate are available in the market for the last couple of months," a renowned psychiatrist and former president of the Pakistan Psychiatric Society (PPS) said while referring to the formulation known as the most effective medicine for the treatment of several psychiatric illnesses, including bipolar disorder.

Similarly, some other essential medicines, including methylphenidate for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and clonazepam drops and tablets for epilepsy in children and adults, are also not available in the market, physicians and pharmacists said.

Several other psychiatrists at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Shifa International Hospital Islamabad and Mayo Hospital Lahore as well as psychiatrists in Peshawar also confirmed that relatives of patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder were moving from pillar to post for lithium carbonate, but none of its brands were available in the market, The News reported.

"There are some alternatives to this medicine but they are not effective as lithium carbonate," said Iqbal Afridi, adding that pharmaceutical companies and the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) were requested to ensure the availability of this drug as hundreds of patients are suffering due to shortage of this important medicine.

Qazi Mansoor Dilawar, the chairperson of the Pakistan Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association (PPMA), conceded that several medicines were not available in the local market, as their cost of production had increased to the extent where it was not viable for manufacturers to produce the drugs and sell them at a price below the cost of production.

"(The) rupee's devaluation is the biggest factor behind increasing cost of production of many essential medicines. (The) cost of raw material is increasing while utilities, transportation and other costs have made it impossible for pharmaceutical companies to manufacture many essential medicines," Qazi Mansoor Dilawar said, The News reported.

IANS

Thu, 21 Jul 2022 22:20:07 +0530
Joe Biden tests positive for Covid 19 has mild symptoms

Washington, July 21:  US President Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid-19 and will be self-isolating at the White House from where he will continue to carry out his official duties, the White House said in a statement on Thursday.

Biden (79), who is fully vaccinated and has taken the booster dose, is showing mild symptoms and has begun taking Paxlovid, an antiviral used to treat Covid-19.

Kevin O'Connor, the President's doctor, said in a statement that Biden tested positive in a routine morning screening on Thursday, first by an antigen test and subsequently through RT-PCR.

He added that the President was showing mild symptoms -- runny nose, fatigue and an occasional dry cough -- and being fully vaccinated and twice-boosted, he is expected to respond favourably to the treatment as most maximally protected people.

The White House said Biden will work from self-isolation over phone and on Zoom till he tests negative, which could take seven to eight days.

Jill Biden, the First Lady, has tested negative. She told reporters that she spoke with her husband in the morning and he is feeling fine. For herself, she said she intends to stay with her schedule.

Biden joins a growing band of world leaders to have tested positive for the virus that has killed 6.3 million people around the world and infected over 562 million.

Other world leaders to have been infected before include his predecessor Donald Trump and former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who had been put in ICU, France President Emmanuel Macron and Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro.

"This morning, President Biden tested positive for Covid-19," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement, adding, "Consistent with CDC guidelines, he will isolate at the White House and will continue to carry out all of his duties fully during that time. He has been in contact with members of the White House staff by phone this morning, and will participate in his planned meetings at the White House this morning via phone and Zoom from the residence."

Jean-Pierre added, "Consistent with White House protocol for positive Covid cases, which goes above and beyond CDC guidance, he will continue to work in isolation until he tests negative. Once he tests negative, he will return to in-person work."

Biden has been careful and cautious as he went about his meetings and trips abroad, but his exposure to so many people almost on a daily visit, as other world leaders, left him vulnerable to the virus, which is still around in its newest iteration, Omicron BA.5, in the US, experts said.

Trump was cavalier about Covid-19 precautions set out by his own administration, shunned masks and belittled them, touted untested treatments and freely met and interacted with people despite his history of being a germaphobe.

He and then first lady Melania Trump tested had positive in October 2020. Those were pre-vaccination days and he may have concealed his symptoms as he participated in the first of the Presidential debates ahead of the November 2020 elections.

His condition had suddenly turned for the worse and he was airlifted to a military hospital outside Washington DC.

Trump received the best treatment available, getting medicines and treatments that had not been approved for general use until then and he had recovered soon enough and marked it with a triumphant return to the White House where he had dramatically ripped off his mask to prove he had returned unscathed.

Trump continued to display indifference to the virus and instead of publicly touting the benefits of vaccines that his own administration had pushed through at remarkable speed, he had quietly got himself vaccinated along with Melania before leaving the White House in January 2021.

Biden got vaccinated in full view of news cameras in a bid to encourage people to get themselves inoculated as well. Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama had also volunteered to get vaccinated publicly and together featured in a video to spread the word.

IANS

 

Thu, 21 Jul 2022 22:15:15 +0530
PM meets Droupadi Murmu after her victory

New Delhi, July 21: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening met President-elect Droupadi Murmu after her victory in the Presidential poll.

The Prime Minister reached Murmu's residence at Umashankar Dikshit Marg and congratulated her.

BJP chief J.P. Nadda was also present at their meeting which lasted around 20 minutes.

Murmu secured her victory after the third round of counting as out of the 3,219 valid votes counted so far, she bagged 2,161, while opposition candidate Yashwant Sinha got 1,058.

Several Union Ministers and BJP leaders also reached Murmu's residence to congratulate her.

IANS

 

Thu, 21 Jul 2022 22:10:52 +0530
Festive mood at Murmu s hometown in Odisha s Mayurbhanj dist

Bhubaneswar, July 21: With NDA's Presidential nominee Droupadi Murmu securing the majority mark to be elected as the 15th President of India, people at her hometown Rairangpur in Odisha's Mayurbhanj district burst into celebrations on Thursday.

Scores of people gathered at the residence of Murmu in Rairangpur and burst firecrackers, while local artistes performed tribal folk dance. The house of Murmu was decorated with flowers and lights.

People at her native place were also seen celebrating the occasion on the streets of Rairangpur. Also, around 20,000 sweets were prepared which are now being distributed among the people.

"We are really happy and proud as our 'didi' has won the election for the highest post in India. From the very beginning, we were confident that she would win this election. So, from the morning we have started celebrating her victory," said Sonali, a native of Rairangpur.

"This is the first time that someone from Odisha is going to be the President of India. We are also happy that a tribal lady has been elected for the President's post and that too from Odisha," said Simanta Digar, a social worker from Mayurbhanj.

People from different walks of life, including women and children, along with leaders from BJP and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) also started celebrating the victory of Murmu at different places across the state.

In Bhubaneswar, BJP MLAs were seen distributing sweets among themselves in the Assembly to celebrate the occasion.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik congratulated Murmu on being elected as the 15th President of India.

"It is indeed a very proud moment for everyone in Odisha that she has been elected for the highest office in the country," he tweeted.

Murmu's journey from a humble beginning to becoming the first citizen of the country is indeed inspiring and is a shining example of women empowerment, Patnaik said, as he wished Murmu for a fulfilling tenure ahead.

"Many congratulations to Draupadi Murmu Ji on getting elected as the president of India. Happy that an Odia has occupied such a high office," tweeted Congress legislative party leader Narasingha Mishra.

Similarly, Odisha BJP president Samir Mohanty congratulated Murmu and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making every Odisha proud.

IANS

Thu, 21 Jul 2022 22:05:22 +0530
Droupadi Murmu set to become India s next President

New Delhi, July 21: NDA candidate Droupadi Murmu secured victory in the Presidential poll on Thursday after the third round of counting as out of the 3,219 valid votes counted so far, she bagged 2,161 while Opposition's nominee Yashwant Sinha got 1,058.

"I heartily congratulate Droupadi Murmu on her victory in the Presidential Election 2022. I hope -- indeed, every Indian hopes -- that as the 15th President of India, she functions as the Custodian of the Constitution without fear or favour. I join my fellow countrymen in extending best wishes to her," said Sinha who is backed by the Opposition parties.

Counting of votes for the Presidential poll started on Thursday at the Parliament House in the national capital.

Murmu and Sinha were pitted against each other in the contest. It emerged that votes were clearly stacked in Murmu's favour.

Keeping in view the support extended by various parties, National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Murmu had a clear edge over Opposition's Sinha.

Voting for the Presidential polls concluded on Monday (July 18)with over 99 per cent of voting.

IANS

Thu, 21 Jul 2022 22:02:32 +0530
Pakistan pace great Wasim Akram wants ODIs scrapped from international calendar

London, July 21: Pakistan pace great Wasim Akram wants one-day internationals (ODIs) to be scrapped from the international cricket calendar. Akram, who picked 502 wickets in 356 ODIs and bowled Pakistan to victory in the 1992 Cricket World Cup final against England, also backed all-rounder Ben Stokes' decision to retire from 50-over matches citing an "unsustainable" workload.

"I think so (on ODI cricket being scrapped). In England, you have full houses. In India, Pakistan especially, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Africa, one-day cricket you are not going to fill the stadiums."

"They are doing it just for the sake of doing it. After the first 10 overs, it's just 'OK, just go a run a ball, get a boundary, four fielders in and you get to 200, 220 in 40 overs' and then have a go in the last 10 overs. Another 100. It's kind of run-of-the-mill," said Akram on Vaughany and Tuffers Cricket Club Podcast.

Further talking about Stokes and his decision to retire from ODIs to focus on Tests and T20Is, Akram remarked, "Him deciding that he is retiring from one-day cricket is quite sad but I agree with him. Even as a commentator � one-day cricket is just a drag now, especially after T20. I can imagine as a player. 50 overs, 50 overs, then you have to pre-game, post-game, the lunch game."

"T20 is kind of easier, four hours the game is over. In the leagues all around the world, there is a lot more money -- I suppose this is part and parcel of modern cricket. T20 or Test cricket. One-day cricket is kind of dying."

"It is quite tiring for a player to play one-day cricket. After T20, one-day cricket seems it is going on for days. So players are focusing on the shorter format. And longer format obviously (with) Test cricket."

Despite T20 cricket having tons of fan-following and pushing ODI cricket out of the limelight, Akram, who picked 414 wickets in 104 Tests, still believes that Test cricket is the most prominent format of the game as this is where legends of the game are made.

"There's a battle within the battle in Test cricket. I always preferred Test matches. One-day used to be fun but Test matches were where you were recognised as a player � where people still pick you for the world XIs."

"OK money matters -- I understand where they are coming from -- but they should also remember (Test cricket) if they want to be recognised as one of the greats of the game."

IANS

 

Thu, 21 Jul 2022 21:57:14 +0530
Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav The brave king who drove away the Arabs

Anupama Nair

This year 2022, is the 75th year of Independence from the British. There is hardly a month before our Independence Day. Our beloved Prime Minister decided to celebrate this year as “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. So, I am starting to write a feature on all those sons and daughters of Bharat Ma who fought against foreign invasion from time immemorial. I had written about Bharat Ma, As it is said “Janani Janmabhumishcha Swargadapi Gariyasi” which means “mother and motherland are superior even to heaven” in Dev Bhasha Sanskrit, from our great epic Ramayana. I believe in this motto and think my mother and Bharat Maa are superior to heaven. I am going to write about the mighty 7th Century Hindu king of Kashmir called Lalitaditya or Muktapida and historians call him “Alexander of Kashmir”.

Let me take you a year back to mid-2021 when, our military success over our enemy China and reclaiming places in LAC had given us all a moment to rejoice even though, the whole world was suffering from Covid and the world economy was suffering. I heard many historians compare the strategy of our beloved “Prime Minister Modi and the mighty 7th Century Hindu king of Kashmir Lalitaditya and most nationalists stated that they were happy with India using Lalitaditya’s strategy of taking the battle to the enemy territory, rather than the one of Prithviraj Chauhan and other rulers’ strategy of forgiving the enemy, and to be later beaten by them”. The result was Bharat Ma was invaded and looted and a slave for nearly 800 years.

Unfortunately, the name, Lalitaditya is totally unfamiliar to a vast majority of Indians, even though he was the mightiest ruler of India, reigning over the largest of the territories – “extending from Kashmir to Central Asia and from Uzbekistan to Sunderbans in Bengal”. I admire him as he was the only ruler who made ‘Akhand Bharat’ a reality, and also extended the territory of Bharat to the neighboring countries and beyond. The extent of his territory would disprove the theory of the ultra-left historians, that India as a nation did not exist before the British colonized us. Just because he was a Hindu king, his greatness, achievements, and military escapades were quietly ‘brushed under the carpet by our Leftist Lutyens historians, who, only with the vile intent of demeaning the Hindus, never wanted India to learn about the greatness of Hindu kings, who not only stalled any invasion attempt but also had the courage to march into their territory and occupy it.

These historians after Independence glorified and glamorized the Islamic invaders and plunderers, making the Hindu rulers appear meek and insignificant, who gave in easily to them. The result was that it demoralized Hindus for generations to come, “making them suffer from low self-esteem and low in confidence and it would be correct to say we were suffering from Stockholm syndrome, wherein, we started believing that invaders be it the Islamic rulers or the British were good and had an overbearing effect on them and were destined to be their lords and protectors, being more powerful than them”. It’s time for us to learn about the great Hindu rulers who were mightier than the invaders who should be our role models. Thankfully, it is changing as it should when we have a ruler like Modiji.

Lalitaditya was the most powerful ruler of the Karkota dynasty of Kashmir. We know more about him from the reports of the 12th-century historian, Kalhana who stated Lalitaditya was a world conqueror in his ‘Rajtarangini’. He ruled for 37 years from 724 AD to 761AD. His rule was a ‘golden age’ where art, architecture, and learning flourished. Karkota dynasty was founded by king Durlabhvardana in 625 AD. Lalitaditya was the 5th ruler. His parents were Pratapaditya and Narendraprabha of which Lalitaditya was the youngest. His two elder brothers were Chandrapida and Tarapida who ruled Kashmir before him. His aim was to expand his kingdom throughout the world.

Famous historian R.C. Majumdar wrote the book ‘Ancient India’,  and he stated that Lalitaditya first faced Yashovarman, the successor of the famous ruler of the Pushyabhuti dynasty, Harshavardana. He conquered Yashovarman’s kingdom, Antarvedi, whose capital was Kanyakubja (Modern day Kanauj) After consolidating power in Kanyakubja, Lalitaditya proceeded to the East reaching Kalinga (modern-day Odisha) and Gauda (Bengal).  After that, he set out towards the Vindhyas where he met the Karnata queen, Bhavangana of the Rashtrakut dynasty. However, a powerful ruler like her, too, bowed to Lalitaditya. He then conquered the seven Konkans to Dwarka to Avanti, and all the way into Punjab and Afghanistan, establishing his rule over all of the Indian territories. According to some folk tales, Bappa Rawal, the famous warrior from Mewar was not only a close friend of Lalitaditya but also participated in some of his famous victories against the foreign invaders and may have died during Lalitaditya’s Central Asia campaign.

Following his victories in the South, Lalitaditya now turned his attention on the North again and attacked Ladakh as well as other western provinces, which were under the rule of the Tibetans. This was the time when Muhammed Bin Qasim had invaded Multan in 712 AD and the Arabic invaders had wanted the entire Indian Subcontinent to be dominated by Islam. What we need to understand is the victory over the Arabs was, not easy. Lalitaditya contacted Tang dynasty of China, and he was successful in making them his ally in his fight against the Arabs and Tibetans. He recruited a number of Chinese mercenaries and strategists in his army, which helped him a lot. With the help of the Tangs, he successfully defeated the Tibetans and extended his rule over modern-day Bangladesh and Ahom (Assam), and the other North Eastern States. He extended his empire even up to China.  

Soon after, Junaid, the Arab governor of Sind attacked Kashmir on the orders of Caliph Hisham. The Arabs had established their rule over Sind with Muhammad Bin Qasim and the region was thoroughly looted. His next target was Kashmir which was a prosperous region. Lalitaditya defeated Junaid and the Arab army so badly that they did not attack Kashmir till he was alive. His achievements were mentioned in ‘Fatenama Sindh’. Lalitaditya then defeated the invading Turks of Turkmenistan, Bhutas from Baltistan and Tibet and the Dardas (Darius). He also won over Central Asia which comprises Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, South Kyrgyzstan, and southwest Kazakhstan.  Then he invaded Turkistan through Kabul and defeated Momin of Bukhara four times and killed him the fifth time.  According to Alberuni, “a Kashmiri king, defeated Momin, the governor of Uzbekistan. His presence discouraged the Muslim kingdoms from attacking Kashmir”. He expanded his kingdom till the Caspian Sea and went on to the Karakorum mountain ranges. He was so furious with the Arabs that he would send back prisoners of war with half their heads shaven.

“From Tibet in the North to Dwarka and the seas of Odisha in the south, from Bengal in the East to Central Asia in the West, Lalitaditya’s empire had been established with supreme might. His forces reached Aranyaka, now known as Iran”.

“He was not only a great warrior but also was a benevolent ruler and a great patron of science, arts and architecture who left behind the memoirs of his reign through marvelous works of architecture. Kashmir has always been a great seat of Hindu learning, research, science and Hindu architecture and he also promoted all Hindu arts and sciences”. He built great temples, the most like the Martanda Sun Temple which is now unfortunately in ruins. He built many schools and learning centers in Kashmir that were destroyed by Islamic invaders. Like thousands of other temples, the Sun temple was also destroyed by orders of Sikander Butshikan.

Hindu kings never destroyed the culture of the lands they conquered. When Indian kings fought with each other, they maintained principles that was mentioned in the shastras, which is in sharp contrast to the  “Islamic or other invaders who destroyed the culture and civilization of the land they conquered and did not follow any principles of war. They murdered innocents, burnt crops, raped women, took them as slaves and forcefully converted them to Islam. Defeat to these invaders meant total annihilation of our culture”.

The first Islamic invasion since the capture of Multan by Muhammed Bin Qasim in 712 AD, happened only after a long gap of 300 years when Mahmud of Ghazni invaded India between 1020-1025 AD. “The reason was that a Hindu ruler who, not only defeated Arabic and Turkish invaders at home, but also in their very own backyard, and struck such terror in their hearts that nobody dared to set their eyes on India for centuries”.

The question arises, why have the ultra-left historians never told us the tales of valor of this great king. If it was not for Uncle Pai and Amar Chitra Katha, I too would not have read about such great warriors. We came to know about him when a German art historian, Hermann Goetz read Kalhan’s ‘Rajitarangini’! The reason why Lalitaditya was never mentioned in our history books was that he was a Hindu ruler of India who had a vast empire extending the whole of the Indian subcontinent up to Central Asia, proving that ‘Akhand Bharat’ was a reality in the ancient times too. On the contrary, Leftists believed that, before the British, India as a united entity never existed.

Lalitaditya’s empire was bigger than the Mughal empire. This again is contrary to the Leftist historians’ glorification of the Islamic invaders as rulers who established welfare states, taking good care of their citizens and at the same time promoting art and culture. The might and power of Lalitaditya would surely have inspired generations of Hindus suffering from low esteem and an overbearing belief that they are and traditionally have been weaker than the Islamists as well as foreigners, thus giving in easily to them. History has primarily taught us about Hindu kings who were defeated in the war most of the time. Lalitaditya’s story and that of many other Hindu rulers prove that it was otherwise. This is something that the leftists did not want as their aim was always to make the Hindus appear inferior and weak to demoralize the present generation and attract them towards the other, ‘visibly more powerful’ faiths.

Lalitaditya’s rule proved to the world that Kashmir, the land of Rishi Kashyap, was and will always be an integral part of India, and the center of excellence in science, art, literature, and architecture. We need to understand that for a country to prosper, it needs to recognize its roots, religion, culture, and real heroes and heroines. Let us not even for a minute forget our glorious past and remember with pride, we are the only existing ‘ancient civilization’ today. Let us never forget our Hindu History!

(Dedicated to the Video by Atul Mishra of ‘The Frustrated Indian’ and Kreately and also Uncle Pai for telling us the tales of valor, and my Bharat Ma for giving birth to such great brave children)

Thu, 21 Jul 2022 21:49:07 +0530
Pakistan s win over Sri Lanka in Galle Test cause major reshuffle in WTC standings

Dubai, July 20: Pakistan's remarkable victory over Sri Lanka in the first Test in Galle on Wednesday caused a major reshuffle within the top five on the World Test Championship standings.

Babar Azam's side successfully chased down 342 runs to complete an extraordinary four-wicket triumph over Sri Lanka and in the process boosted their chances of appearing in next year's World Test Championship final.

The win helped Pakistan jump in front of Sri Lanka and move into third place on the World Test Championship standings with a win-loss percentage of 58.33 percent, with only South Africa (71.43 percent) and Australia (70 per cent) now ahead of the Asian side.

On the other hand, Sri Lanka dropped three places to sixth on the standings with a 48.15 win-loss percentage. As a result, India improved one spot to fourth (52.08 per cent) and West Indies rose to fifth (50 per cent) ahead of the second Test between Sri Lanka and Pakistan in Galle next week.

A win in the second Test against Sri Lanka will see Pakistan make further ground on South Africa and Australia at the top of the standings, while a loss will see Babar's side drop back to fifth.

Conversely, Sri Lanka can regain third place on the standings if they can recover quickly, fight back and level the series by winning the second Test.

IANS

Wed, 20 Jul 2022 21:35:48 +0530
If India drop Kohli for T20 World Cup it will be hard for him to get back in Ponting

New Delhi, July 20: Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting feels that if India decide to drop Virat Kohli for the T20 World Cup in Australia then there might be no way back for him. Kohli has not scored a century since November 2019, struggled for runs during this year's IPL and even failed to contribute much with the bat during the recently-concluded tour of England. There have been calls to drop him from the national team but Ponting, who captained Australia to two World Cup triumphs in 2003 and 2007, says that if he was India, he would keep pushing Kohli to get his confidence back.

"If you leave Virat out of the eve of the World Cup, and someone comes in and has a reasonable tournament, it will be hard for Virat to get back in it," Ponting said in the latest episode of The ICC Review. "If I was India, I would keep pushing with him, because I know the upside. If they actually get him back confident and playing as well as he can, that upside is better than most. So I think if I was a captain or a coach around the Indian set up, I would be making life as easy as possible for him to feel as comfortable as possible, and just wait for him to flick the switch and start scoring runs again," he added.

The Australian great also suggested selectors must find a spot for Kohli in India's top-order and commit to leaving the champion batter there for the entirety of the T20 World Cup, with the hope he finds his best form during the knockout stages of the tournament. "Early in the tournament, for a first-round game, (it's important to) get him in nice and early, among the runs, and then hopefully by the end of the tournament you'll have Virat Kohli back at his best," he said.

"That's the way I would look at it. I wouldn't think about holding him back at the start of the tournament, with the thought that you might be able to bring him back towards the back end and have him peak. Tournament play isn't like that. "You need to work your way into the tournament, get some runs under your belt, and get some confidence and then be playing your best cricket at the back end," he added.

Asked about India's wicket-keeping options, the former Australia captain said he is well aware of Rishabh Pant strengths, with whom he has worked closely at Delhi Capitals but veteran Dinesh Karthik also must find a spot in the middle-order.

"We have seen what Rishabh is capable of in 50-over cricket and I know absolutely what he is capable of in the T20 game. Dinesh Karthik has had his best IPL ever just very recently... and I would be trying to find every way to have both of those guys in my team," Ponting said.

"Rishabh to bat, in that three-four-five range, and have Dinesh and maybe Hardik Pandya... if you have those guys finishing for you, well that batting line-up looks very, very dangerous.

"But when you have so much talent, picking an Indian team is always going to be difficult and Pant and Karthik would be the two I would pick ahead of Kishan right now." m "I think if I was an opposition captain or an opposition player, I will be fearing playing an Indian team that has Virat Kohli in it, more than I would be one that doesn't have him in it," Ponting said in the latest episode of The ICC Review.

"I know there have been some challenges for him, it's been a difficult time. But every great player that I have seen in this game has been through it at some stage, whether that's a batsman or a bowler, they have all been through it. And somehow, the best (players) find a way to rebound and respond, and it's only a matter of time before Virat does that," he added. The Australian great believes Kohli's best performances for his country have come when he has been settled both on the field and off the field. He also feels that India's coaching hierarchy needs to try and instill that belief back in their star player as soon as possible.

"You still got to find the best balance for the team. You can't just make the team all about one person. They probably should be trying to find new ways to get him back into the form and help him out," Ponting noted. "That (moving him up the order) quite often comes at the expense of someone else as well, you are moving someone else around trying to find a spot for Virat. He has opened the batting, he's batted at No.3 in the IPL in the last couple of years and done the same for India.

"Moving him around will make him feel that people are worried about him, and he will be more unsettled. I will be going the other way. I'll be telling him, 'This is your spot, this is where you're batting, it's not going to change. Keep believing in yourself, keep putting in the hard work, keep believing what made you the best player in the world for a number of years -- get back to those thoughts and the runs will come'," he added.

Former India skipper Kohli has been rested from the West Indies series beginning July 22 and he is likely to be back for the Asia Cup.

Wed, 20 Jul 2022 21:29:24 +0530
Death toll in Pakistan boat tragedy touches 26

Islamabad, July 20: With the recovery of three more bodies from the Indus river, death toll in the boat tragedy near Machhka area of Sadiqabad city in Pakistan's Punjab province has mounted to 26.

As many as 23 bodies were retrieved from Indus river after an overloaded boat carrying 75 people of a wedding party capsized on Monday, Geo News reported.

The incident occurred when the ill-fated boat was carrying back wedding guests to Hussain Bakhash Solangi village in Machka.

Search is on for 23 more missing persons.

IANS

Wed, 20 Jul 2022 21:19:25 +0530
Five killed in road accident in Bangladesh

Dhaka, July 20: Five people were killed and two others injured after a minibus collided with an autorickshaw on the Barisal-Patuakhali highway in Bangladesh's Barisal city on Wednesday.

The incident occurred around 12 p.m., The Dhaka Tribune reported.

Bakerganj Police OC Alauddin Milon said the victims, all occupants of the autorickshaw, are yet to be identified.

The injured have been rushed to Barisal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital.

IANS

Wed, 20 Jul 2022 21:15:07 +0530
US under heat wave threat

 

New York, July 20: The US has come under a "Heat Wave Warning" from the National Weather Service saying "Dangerous Levels" could be reached this week affecting 100 million Americans across several states from Texas, Louisiana to Kansas and Missouri.


The summer heat is getting intense, so hot that forecasters put nearly 100 million Americans under excessive heat warnings or advisories this week. The National Weather Service says the "dangerous heat" is forecast to impact a large swath of the country, including states ranging from Texas and Louisiana to Kansas and Missouri.

Heat wave is sweeping across Europe and London alone experienced the seasons highest off 40 degrees Celsius on a single day sending Londoners to the nearest air conditioners and fan shops to buy them to cool themselves down, reports from London said.

Politicians are blaming global warming as the reason for climate change leading to unusual heat waves in countries which have not experienced such temperatures.

A number of states were also placed under a heat advisory with most areas forecast to reach at least the high 90s (Fahrenheit) and other areas, including Phantom Ranch, Ariz., on track to reach a whopping 114 degrees. Amarillo, Texas, is similarly expected to reach a high of 113 degrees and Shreveport, Louisiana, will soar to 108 degrees, according to a report in the USA today quoting NWS sources.

Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas are expected to bear the brunt of the highest temperatures, forecasters say.

"This warning is reserved for only the hottest days of the year and is issued when temperatures are expected to rise to dangerous levels," the National Weather Service wrote in an excessive heat warning.

The Weather Service places areas under an excessive heat warning when the maximum heat index temperature is expected to be 105 degrees or higher for at least two days and temperatures won't dip below 75 degrees. A heat advisory is posted for an area when temperatures are expected to reach 100 degrees for at least two days.

The "extreme heat" will continue through the week and expand across the Northeast on Wednesday, according to the Weather Service. A majority of the excessive heat warnings mostly cover the southern Plains and lower Mississippi River Valley.

Several heat advisories have also been placed in portions of the Northeast, ranging from Philadelphia to Boston. In those areas, the heat index is expected to approach 100 degrees.

Heat index is how hot it really feels when humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature, according to the Weather Service. For example, if the relative humidity reaches 70 per cent and the temperature is 90 degrees, the heat index will be 105.

In addition to high temperatures, several states are also seeing heightened fire danger. The Weather Service placed portions of Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas under red flag warnings. These warnings, USA today says, mean weather conditions, such as high heat, low humidity and strong winds, along with dry vegetation are providing the perfect mix for wildfires that could rapidly grow out of control.

Almost 90 large fires are actively burning across 13 states, 58 in Alaska alone. Over 3 million acres are covered in US large fires, as of Tuesday. The largest active wildfire in Alaska is up to 865,620 acres wide in McGrath. It is 56 per cent contained and expected to be fully contained by August 1.

The Weather Service is advising people to take extra care when outside and do things like drinking plenty of fluids, staying in an air-conditioned room and getting out of the sun. "Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke," the National Weather Service wrote in a heat advisory warning.

As temperatures rise, it is important to know the symptoms for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion symptoms include dizziness, profuse sweating, pale skin, nausea, weak pulse and muscle cramps. Someone experiencing a heat stroke may have a pulsating headache, dry skin, nausea and even lose consciousness. If someone is experiencing these symptoms, they should immediately seek medical assistance and try to cool down.

IANS

Wed, 20 Jul 2022 21:09:31 +0530
PM lauds collective efforts powering India s vaccination drive

New Delhi, July 20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lauded the collective efforts of scientists, doctors and nurses in powering India's vaccination drive.

As Microsoft founder Bill Gates congratulated him for crossing 200 crore vaccine doses mark, the Prime Minister, in his response, said: "India's vaccination drive is big on speed and scale. It has been powered by collective efforts of many, including scientists, doctors and nurses. At the same time, the people of India have shown remarkable faith in science and taken their doses in a timely manner.

Gates had tweeted: "Congratulations @narendramodi for yet another milestone of administering #200crorevaccinations. We are grateful for our continued partnership with Indian vaccine manufacturers and the Indian government for mitigating the impact of COVID19."

On July 17, India crossed the milestone of administering 200 crore doses of Covid vaccines.

IANS

Wed, 20 Jul 2022 21:02:11 +0530
PM expresses delight over Arunachal sisters singing Tamil patriotic song

New Delhi, July 20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed delight upon watching two sisters from Arunachal Pradesh sing a Tamil patriotic song by Subramania Bharti.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Modi said: "I am delighted and proud to see this. Kudos to these shining stars of our Yuva Shakti from Arunachal Pradesh for furthering the spirit of 'Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat' by singing in Tamil."

The Prime Minister responded to a tweet of Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu.

"Listen to Arunachali Sisters sing a Tamil patriotic song written by Subramanya Bharati," Khandu had tweeted sharing a over two minute-video of the sisters.

In an earlier tweet Khandu had said, "Beautiful Carnatic Vocal performance by Wakro Sister - Kumari Ashapmai Dellang and Kumari Behelti Ama - to commemorate #AzadiKaAmritMahotsav. They are true gems of Arunachal. God bless."

IANS

Wed, 20 Jul 2022 20:59:03 +0530
I will run the economy like Margaret Thatcher Rishi Sunak

London, July 20: Rishi Sunak, the Indian origin contender for the prime ministership of the UK, said he will run the British economy like former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, if he wins.

In his first campaign interview to The Daily Telegraph, the pro ruling Conservative party daily broadsheet, he remarked: "We will cut taxes and we will do it responsibly." He added: "That's my economic approach. I would describe it as common sense Thatcherism. I believe that's what she would have done."

He continued: "If you read her speeches -- and I've quoted her and Nigel Lawson (an erstwhile Conservative chancellor of the exchequer) in other lectures I've given -- her approach to these things was to make sure that as a nation you have to earn what you spend."

Sunak was speaking in the context of a serious cost of living crisis gripping Britain, with a recession feared by economists. This has catapulted the UK's economy as the main issue in the ballots to determine who will be the next leader of the ruling Conservative party and therefore the prime minister.

Thatcher was a shrill right-wing, pro-market leader, who served as Britain's prime minister between 1979 and 1990. She is a revered figure in Conservatives circles; but generally reviled in the now opposition Labour and Liberal Democrat parties.

As chancellor of the exchequer in the government, Prime Minister Boris Johnson -- until he resigned a little over a week ago to signal the beginning of Johnson's end -- he raised taxes after borrowing heavily to protect lives, livelihoods and businesses in the face of the Covid-19 challenge. Unlike his rivals in the leadership contest that is underway, he has refused to cut taxes until national debt is brought down.

In the newspaper interview, published on Wednesday morning, he likened his upbringing to Thatcher's. He cited that akin to her upbringing above her father's grocery shop, in his childhood he helped out at his mother's pharmacy.

"My mum was a small businesswoman, she was a chemist," Sunak stated, "I worked in my mum's small chemist shop in Southampton. I did my mum's books -- that was part of my job. I also did payroll and accounts every week and every month."

On Tuesday, four potential runners either dropped out after entering the race or desisted from doing so, because of a failure to muster support from fellow MPs, who will vote to whittle down the contestants to two, before the entire Conservative party membership indicate their preference. The quartet, who pulled out, were home secretary Priti Patel, transport secretary Grant Shapps, former health secretary Sajid Javid and junior minister in the Foreign Office Rehman Chishti.

The first ballot in the contest will take place on Wednesday afternoon and the result will be revealed by 1600 hours GMT or 2130 Indian Standard Time. The eight candidates in the field will be required to attract at least 30 votes from MPs to go forward to the next round on Thursday.

Sunak's opponents are Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch, Liz Truss (who appears to have adopted a 'stop Rishi' mode), Jeremy Hunt, Tom Tugendhat, Suella Fernandes Braverman, who is also of Indian descent, and Nadhim Zahawi.

In informed groups, Sunak and Mordaunt are assessed to be neck and neck in terms of support from MPs, with the latter, according to Conservative Home, a Conservative news and analysis site, enjoying an edge among the wider party activists.

The Conservative party is largely white, Anglo-Saxon and Protestant.

IANS


 

Wed, 20 Jul 2022 20:54:01 +0530
Henry Fayol the founder of Management studies

Anupama Nair

To study the Principles of Management we need to understand the role of Henry Fayol, who is called as ‘father of modern management theory’ as he gave a new insight of the concept of management. He introduced a general theory that can be applied to all levels of management and in each and every department of an organization. The Fayol theory is practiced today, by the managers to organize and regulate the internal activities of an organization to achieve He concentrated on accomplishing managerial efficiency.

Who is Henry Fayol? Henry Fayol  was born on 29 July 1841 in a suburb of Constantinople (Istanbul). His father, who was a military engineer, was appointed as a Superintendent of Works to build Galata Bridge, across the Golden Horn. After the work was complete, the family returned to France in 1847. In 1860, he graduated from the mining academy called "École Nationale Supérieure des Mines" in Saint-Étienne.

He started working in a mining company called "Compagnie de Commentry-Fourchambault-Decazeville" in a place called Commentry. He was hired by Stéphane Mony, who had decided to hire the best engineers from the Saint-Étienne Mining School, and Fayol joined the firm as an engineer and trainee manager. Mony made Fayol his protégé, and Fayol succeeded him as manager of the Commentry mine and eventually became the Managing Director of Commentry-Fourchambault and Decazeville. What a great achievement.

During his tenor as a director, he made changes to improve the working situation in the mines, such as allowing employees to work in teams, and also by changing the division of labor. Later, due to unforeseen circumstances, the company was at the verge of bankruptcy. Fayol then became famous as he contributed a lot in turning around the fortune of the company. As a result, when he retired in 1918, the company became financially strong and one of the largest industrial combines in Europe.

He developed his concept of administration, based largely on his own management experience in turning the fortune of the Company. In 1916 he promoted his ideas in “Administration Industrielle et Générale”, which was at the same time as Frederick Winslow Taylor, who published his “Principles of Scientific Management”. After his retirement he became the Director of the Centre of Administrative Studies in Paris.

Fayol became famous in 1949 when the English translation  of "Administration industrielle et générale" was published. The English book was called the “General and industrial administration". His theory of administration and management came to be called as Fayolism.

Fayol passed away on 19 November 1925.

Wed, 20 Jul 2022 00:22:13 +0530
Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav The Great King Who Stopped Greek Invasion

Anupama Nair

This year 2022, is the 75th year of Independence from the British. There is hardly a month before our Independence Day. Our beloved Prime Minister decided to celebrate this year as “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. So, I am starting to write a feature on all those sons and daughters of Bharat Ma who fought against foreign invasion from time immemorial. I had written about Bharat Ma, As it is said “Janani Janmabhumishcha Swargadapi Gariyasi” which means “mother and motherland are superior even to heaven” in Dev Bhasha Sanskrit, from our great epic Ramayana. I believe in this motto and think my mother and Bharat Maa are superior to heaven. Today I will be writing about another great king Chandragupta Maurya who defeated the Greeks.

None of the ancient texts mention clearly when Chandragupta was born. Plutarch claims that he was a young man when he met Alexander the Great during his invasion of India (326-325 BC). Assuming the Plutarch’s account is true, Raychaudhuri a historian claimed in 1923 that Chandragupta may have been born after 350 BC. Chandragupta's life and accomplishments are described in ancient and historical Greek, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain texts, though they significantly vary in detail, which is expected. But they agree on the period of his reign (321–297 BC). Chandragupta Maurya was a pivotal figure in the history of Bharat, laying the foundations of the first government to unite most of South Asia.

The early life of Chandragupta Maurya is unclear and varies by source. According to the Sinhalese Buddhist tradition, Chandragupta's mother was pregnant when his father, who was the chief of the Maurya clan, was killed in a battle. His mother escaped to Patliputra (Patna) with the help of her brothers. For Chandragupta's safety, his maternal uncles allowed a cowherd to adopt him. When Chandragupta grew up, the cowherd sold him to a hunter who employed him to tend cattle. The greatest influence in his life was when he met the great philosopher Chanakya.

The Buddhist and Hindu sources present different versions of how Chandragupta met Chanakya. The sources mention young Chandragupta creating a mock game of a royal court that he and his cowherd friends played near Vinjha forest. Chanakya was impressed by the young Chandragupta giving orders to the others and bought him from the hunter. He adopted Chandragupta. Chanakya taught and admitted him to the famous Taxila university to study the Vedas, military arts, law, and other sastras.

After Taxila, Chandragupta and Chanakya moved to Pataliputa, the capital and a historic learning center in the eastern kingdom of ancient Bharat called Magadh. They met the ruler of Magadh Dhana Nanda according to Pali language Buddhist sources. Chandragupta became a commander of the Nanda army, but according to the great Roman historian Justin, Chandragupta offended the Nanda king who ordered his execution. An alternate version states that it was the Nanda king who was publicly insulted by Chanakya. Sources reveal that Chandragupta and Chanakya escaped and became rebels who planned to remove the Nanda king from power. The Mudrarakshasa also states that Chanakya swore to destroy the Nanda dynasty after he felt insulted by the king.

The Roman text by Justin mentions a couple of miraculous incidents that involved Chandragupta and presents these legends as omens and portents of his fate. In the first incident, when Chandragupta was asleep after having escaped from Pataliputra, a big lion came up to him, licked him, and then left. In the second incident, when Chandragupta was preparing for war with Alexander's generals, a huge wild elephant approached him and offered itself to be his steed.

According to the Buddhist text Mahavamsa Tika, Chandragupta and Chanakya raised an army by recruiting soldiers from many places after the former completed his education at Taxila. Chanakya made Chandragupta the leader of the army. Greco-Roman writer Plutarch stated, in his book “Life of Alexander”, that the Nanda king was so unpopular that had Alexander tried, he could have easily conquered India. After Alexander ended his campaign and left, Chandragupta's army conquered the Nanda capital Pataliputra around 322 BCE with Chanakya's counsel. Chanakya in other words can be called “king maker”.

Alexander Great’s invasion ended before Chandragupta came into power. Alexander had left Bharat in 325 BC and assigned the northwestern territories to Greek governors. The nature of the early relationship between these governors and Chandragupta is unknown. Justin mentions Chandragupta as a rival to Alexander's successors in north-western Bharat. He said that after Alexander's death, Chandragupta freed some territories from the Greeks and executed some of the governors. 

Appian a historian stated that Selucas Nicator, one of Alexander's Macedonian generals fought a war with Chandragupta. Seleucus and Chandragupta waged war until they came to an understanding with each other. Seleucus married off his daughter to Chandragupta to forge an alliance. Selecus send Megasthenes as a Greek ambassador to Chandragupta’s court for four years. After annexing Seleucus' provinces west of the Indus river, Chandragupta had a vast empire extending across the northern Indian sub-continent from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea. Chandragupta began expanding his empire southwards beyond the Vindhya Mountains and into the Deccan Plateau. By the time his conquests were complete, Chandragupta's empire extended over most of the subcontinent.

Sources state that there was a great economic development, Art and literature flourished. Infrastructure was vastly advanced. All these details can be found in Megasthanes’s book Indica. It is stated that in his later years he renounced his kingdom and became an ascetic. We should feel proud this great king saved us from Greek invasion of Bharat.

 

Wed, 20 Jul 2022 00:15:55 +0530
Putin arrives in Iran to forge fearsome new anti West alliance

London, July 19: Vladimir Putin has arrived in Iran to forge a fearsome new alliance, with both sanction-hit countries united by their hatred for the West, media reports said.

The Russian leader will meet President Ebrahim Raisi and Ayatollah Khamenei, the Islamic Republic's supreme leader, during the talks aimed at boosting ties between the regimes, Daily Mail reported.

It is only the second time that Putin has been abroad since launching his invasion of Ukraine five months ago.

The meeting comes amid warnings from the US last week that Iran is preparing to sell drones to Russia for use in Ukraine, Daily Mail reported.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had said Tehran is planning to provide 'hundreds' of combat drones to Moscow, and Iranian soldiers will train their Russian counterparts in how to use the drones -- with lessons beginning in just a few weeks.

A Russian delegation had visited an Iranian airfield on June 8 and July 5 to inspect the drones which could be used to direct artillery fire and destroy Ukrainian military hardware, the White House said.

It has been suggested that Russia will offer unspecified military assistance in exchange for the drones.

The gathering has symbolic meaning for Putin back home, showing off Russia's international clout as it grows increasingly isolated and plunges deeper into confrontation with the West.

Russian state TV propagandist Yevgeny Popov said the two nations will form an 'axis of good', mocking George W. Bush's 'axis of evil' description of Iran, Iraq and North Korea, Daily Mail reported.

Andrey Kortunov, head of the Russian International Affairs Council, said: "This is an important visit for Putin personally."

IANS

Wed, 20 Jul 2022 00:03:18 +0530
Have always admired energy and his commitment to the game Stokes responds to Kohli s message

Durham, July 19: England Test captain Ben Stokes, who is playing his last ODI match in international cricket on Tuesday, acknowledged the heartfelt message from Virat Kohli and returned the compliment by saying he has always admired the energy and commitment that the Indian star brings to the game.

Stokes on Monday announced his sudden retirement from ODI cricket, saying that the rigours of playing all three formats of the game were "unsustainable" for him and he was not able to give his 100 percent to the team in the 50-over format.

Following his announcement, Kohli had called the all-rounder "the most competitive bloke" he has played against.

"You're the most competitive bloke I've ever played against. Respect," Kohli had written on Stokes' retirement post on Instagram.

Speaking to the official broadcasters in the lead-up to the first ODI between South Africa and England at Chester-le-Street, Stokes highlighted the impact Kohli's energy and intensity have had on the game.

"Look, Virat is going to go down as one of the greatest players to play the game in all three formats. He is a phenomenal player. And I have absolutely loved every time I have played against someone like him," Stokes told Sky Sports.

"The energy and the commitment that he gives to the game is something I have always admired even before I started playing against him. When you play against guys like that, you understand sort of what it means to not just yourself but for everybody else who was lucky enough to play at the top level.

"I am sure we will have some other battles on the field. It was nice to hear what he (Kohli) said," he added.

Kohli, who has not scored a century since November 2019 and struggled even in the recently-concluded tour of England, has been rested from the West Indies series beginning July 22.

On the other hand, the 31-year-old Stokes was the centre of attraction on Tuesday as South Africa won the toss and opted to bat in the first of the three-match ODI series. The all-rounder, who played a pivotal role in England's 2019 World Cup triumph, will be looking to make one memorable contribution for the last time in the 50-over format of the game.

Notably, Stokes was appointed as England's Test captain after Joe Root stepped down from the role earlier this year. The all-rounder led England to a 3-0 sweep of world champions New Zealand at home after which they defeated India in the rescheduled 5th Test.

IANS

 

Tue, 19 Jul 2022 23:57:57 +0530
Capitol Hill Riots Two key White House aides to testify on Thursday

New York, July 19: The Congressional Committee investigating the Capitol Hill insurrection of January 6, 2021 has lined up for Thursday two key witnesses, both then US President Donald Trump's top aides, to testify on what happened in the ex-President's Oval office and the West Wing on the fateful day of the mob attack on the Congress building.


Scheduled to appear on Thursday before the committee's next public hearing are reportedly two former White House aides -- a press aide and a deputy NSC advisor -- who are expected to testify as to what Trump was doing when a mob comprising his supporters violently stormed the US Capitol.

The hearing, according to committee member Jamie Raskin, would be a "moment of reckoning" for the US, and is set to focus on Trump's inaction during the attack.

The two aides in question are Matthew Pottinger, former deputy national security advisor, and Sarah Matthews, a former press aide, according to media reports trickling in from Washington.

Both Pottinger and Matthews were among a group of Trump administration staffers who resigned immediately after January 6, 2021, when a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to disrupt the certification of the 2020 Presidential election results.

They will join a parade of witnesses -- including Trump family members, former administration staffers and Republican state officials -- who have testified publicly before the panel or sat for previously recorded depositions.

Matthews, who was first deposed by the committee in February, came to the defence of Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, who testified last month about how a frantic Trump ordered Secret Service agents to take him to the Capitol following his January 6 speech on the Ellipse rallying his supporters, according to the New York Post.

The panel has interviewed over 1,000 witnesses, including star witnesses Pat Cipollone, White House counsel to Trump, and Cassidy Hutchinson, top aide to Mark Meadows, white house chief of staff, already over the former President's behaviour during the riots, during which Hutchinson disclosed in an explosive testimony that Trump had refused to send a tweet calling the crowd off and that he may have suggested they were right to call for Mike Pence to be hanged as she overheard conversations in the West Wing. Cipollone did not deny Hutchinson's testimony or witnesses prior to that.

Trump ally Steve Bannon was scheduled to stand trial on Monday on contempt charges for his involvement as he had advance knowledge of the insurrection since he had said in messages prior to January 6 that "all hell is about to break loose (tomorrow) on Jan 6".

A former Trump strategist had reportedly been in touch with Trump all through, though not physically present in the White House on the fateful day.

Bannon, the former President's longtime lieutenant and hardcore right-wing agitator, had refused to comply with the committee's subpoena, and his various last-ditch efforts to head off or delay the trial had failed.

The committee had said he was not entitled to executive privilege of the ex-President as he was not physically present in the White House on that day, though Trump had said he was willing to waive that.

Secret service to hand over erased tapes to select committee

The Secret Service is facing the deadline on Tuesday to hand over text messages from January 5-6, 2021, some of which the agency said it deleted as part of a "device-replacement programme" and secret service periodical protocols.

The committee had subpoenaed the Secret Service for "relevant" text messages and any action reports "pertaining or relating in any way to the events" of January 6 on last Friday after the agency disputed claims that it had erased the messages before an electronic communication request was made, according to a report in the Washington Examiner.

It's not clear whether data that were "lost" on mobile phones when they were reverted to their factory settings as part of a "pre-planned" system migration could be recovered. The tapes are crucial exhibits to corroborate the events of attacks on Capitol Hill.

The subpoena was issued after Joseph Cuffari, the inspector general in the Department of Homeland Security, the parent agency of the Secret Service, met with the committee behind closed doors on Friday.

The Secret Service denied any "insinuation" that it had "maliciously deleted text messages" and said it has been cooperative with the office of the inspector general's evaluation of the events of January 6, 2021.

IANS

Tue, 19 Jul 2022 23:49:23 +0530
Sunak ahead after fourth round of Conservative party leadership race

London, July 19: UK's former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak on Tuesday hung on his lead in the race to select the next leader of the Conservative Party - and the Prime Minister, extending his lead in the fourth round to nearly a third of all votes.

Sunak secured 118 votes, three more than in the fourth round, while both his challengers - Penny Mordaunt and Liz Truss remained in double digits, the BBC reported.

It was curtains for Nigerian-origin, former Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, who came last with 59 votes and drops out.

Sunak is trailed by Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt with 92 votes, 10 more votes since Monday, and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss was third with 86 votes, having gained 15 votes.

The final round will be on Wednesday leaving just two candidates, and then, it is Conservative Party members around the country, who will make the final decision, to be be announced on September 5.

IANS

 

Tue, 19 Jul 2022 23:43:39 +0530
Kerala innerwear removal row NTA sets up fact finding committee

New Delhi, 19 July: In wake of the row over at least one girl aspirant appearing for NEET at a centre in Kerala allegedly being asked to remove innerwear, the National Testing Agency (NTA) has set up a fact-finding committee to ascertain the facts, and further action will be taken based on its report, an official statement said on Tuesday.

The incident was reported from the Marthoma Institute of Information Technology, Ayur, near Thiruvanathapuram, in the exam held on Sunday.

In view of the above allegation, the Ministry of Education has asked the NTA to ascertain all the facts about the incident on the spot from stakeholders present at the centre at that time.

In the statement, the Ministry said that it has been brought to its notice, through various media reports, that an incident allegedly happened in one of the exam centres in Kerala's Kollam district. The NTA has already issued a clarification in this regard.

It said Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V. Muraleedharan and other public representatives from Kerala have met Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday, and Kerala's Higher Education and Social Justice Minister, Dr. R. Bindu, has also written a letter to him.

The officials involved in the conduct of the NEET exam said that, on the receipt of the report, immediate comments of the Centre Superintendent and the Independent Observer as well as the City Coordinator, Kollam district were obtained. All three of them have inter alia, stated that they did not find any such incident happening in the centre. The candidate did take the examination.

According to the NTA, there was no representation or complaint to any one during immediately after the examination, and nor had it received any email complaint in this regard. As far as NTA's Dress Code for NEET is concerned, it does not permit any such activity as alleged by the parent of the candidate, an NTA official added.

The NTA said that the code provides for ensuring the sanctity and fairness of conducting the examination, while observing sensitivity towards the gender, religious, cultural, and regional sensitivities involved in frisking, and biometric checking of candidates.

IANS

Tue, 19 Jul 2022 23:40:26 +0530
Kerala innerwear removal row NTA sets up fact finding committee

New Delhi, 19 July: In wake of the row over at least one girl aspirant appearing for NEET at a centre in Kerala allegedly being asked to remove innerwear, the National Testing Agency (NTA) has set up a fact-finding committee to ascertain the facts, and further action will be taken based on its report, an official statement said on Tuesday.

The incident was reported from the Marthoma Institute of Information Technology, Ayur, near Thiruvanathapuram, in the exam held on Sunday.

In view of the above allegation, the Ministry of Education has asked the NTA to ascertain all the facts about the incident on the spot from stakeholders present at the centre at that time.

In the statement, the Ministry said that it has been brought to its notice, through various media reports, that an incident allegedly happened in one of the exam centres in Kerala's Kollam district. The NTA has already issued a clarification in this regard.

It said Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs V. Muraleedharan and other public representatives from Kerala have met Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday, and Kerala's Higher Education and Social Justice Minister, Dr. R. Bindu, has also written a letter to him.

The officials involved in the conduct of the NEET exam said that, on the receipt of the report, immediate comments of the Centre Superintendent and the Independent Observer as well as the City Coordinator, Kollam district were obtained. All three of them have inter alia, stated that they did not find any such incident happening in the centre. The candidate did take the examination.

According to the NTA, there was no representation or complaint to any one during immediately after the examination, and nor had it received any email complaint in this regard. As far as NTA's Dress Code for NEET is concerned, it does not permit any such activity as alleged by the parent of the candidate, an NTA official added.

The NTA said that the code provides for ensuring the sanctity and fairness of conducting the examination, while observing sensitivity towards the gender, religious, cultural, and regional sensitivities involved in frisking, and biometric checking of candidates.

IANS

Tue, 19 Jul 2022 23:40:24 +0530
Monkeypox cases likely undercounted Fauci

New York, July 17: The monkeypox case is likely undercounted, said top US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, emphasising the need to take the disease more seriously.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has tracked at least 1,814 probable or confirmed cases, while more than 6,000 cases of monkeypox and three deaths have been reported from across 60 countries since the beginning of the year, as per the World Health Organization (WHO).

However, the numbers are "very likely an undercount", Fauci was quoted as saying to CNN.

"This is something we definitely need to take seriously. We don't know the scope and the potential of it yet, but we have to act like it will have the capability of spreading much more widely than it's spreading right now.

"Whenever you have the emergence of something like this, you are always probably looking at what might be -- might be, we don't know -- the tip of the iceberg, so that's the reason why we've got to get the testing out there in a much, much more vigorous way".

Monkeypox is a poxvirus, related to smallpox and cowpox. The virus generally causes pimple or blister-like lesions and flu-like symptoms such as fever, the CDC explained.

The lesions typically concentrate on the arms and legs, but in the latest outbreak, they're showing up more frequently on the genital and perianal area, which has raised some concerns that monkeypox lesions may be confused with sexually transmitted disease.

The virus spreads through close contact -- including direct physical contact with lesions as well as "respiratory secretions" shared through face-to-face interaction. Touching objects that have been contaminated by monkeypox lesions or fluids may also risk the spread.

And although monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, it has mostly been spreading among men who have sex with men.

Fauci said more testing will be done with five commercial testing laboratories coming online, and he expects up to 700,000 vaccines will be distributed to communities by the end of July, the report said.

"Because you want to protect the people at risk, not only the people who might have had an exposure that they know of, but also people, by the virtue of the fact that they're in a risk situation, that they need to get vaccinated," he noted.

IANS
 

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 23:21:35 +0530
Green tea may significantly help in lowering diabetes

Beijing, July 17 :Drinking green tea may not only help in reducing your waistline, but may also prove beneficial in lowering diabetes, finds a study.

Type 2 diabetes is a significant global public health challenge and is projected to affect 693 million people by 2045. It is associated with adverse health outcomes including heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and amputation as well as is one of the leading risk factors for premature mortality.

The study, based on a meta-analysis of 27 trials published in Nutrition and Metabolism journal, showed that green tea intake had a favourable effect on fasting blood glucose concentration.

However, green tea intake did not significantly affect fasting blood insulin or HbA1c - a test that measures the amount of blood sugar (glucose) attached to haemoglobin.

A team from the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China examined the results of 27 studies that involved 2,194 participants. The pooled results showed that green tea significantly lowered fasting blood glucose.

Even as short-term trials showed green tea supplementation "significantly reduced fasting glucose", long-term trials assessing the effects of green tea supplementation on glycemic control are needed, the team said.

Green tea is produced from the fresh leaves of Camellia sinensis and has played an important dietary and medicinal role throughout history, particularly in Asian countries.

It contains a variety of effective compounds including antioxidants, vitamins, carbohydrates, protein, minerals, and flavonoid-like polyphenols, which may be beneficial in the prevention of diabetes.

IANS

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 22:58:57 +0530
Can eating fruit more often keep depression at bay

London, July 17: People who frequently eat fruit are more likely to report greater positive mental wellbeing and are less likely to report symptoms of depression than those who do not, according to research.

On the other hand, people who eat savoury snacks such as crisps, which are low in nutrients, are more likely to report greater levels of anxiety, said researchers from Aston University in the UK.

Published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the study surveyed 428 adults from across the UK and looked at the relationship between their consumption of fruit, vegetables, sweet and savoury food snacks, and their psychological health.

The results showed that both nutrient-rich fruit and nutrient-poor savoury snacks appeared to be linked to psychological health. But no direct association was found between eating vegetables and psychological health.

"Very little is known about how diet may affect mental health and wellbeing, and while we did not directly examine causality here, our findings could suggest that frequently snacking on nutrient-poor savoury foods may increase everyday mental lapses, which in turn reduces psychological health," said Nicola-Jayne Tuck lead author and doctoral student at the varsity.

"Both fruit and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, fibre and essential micronutrients which promote optimal brain function, but these nutrients can be lost during cooking. As we are more likely to eat fruit raw, this could potentially explain its stronger influence on our psychological health," Tuck said.

Based on the survey, the more often people ate fruit, the lower they scored for depression and the higher for mental wellbeing, independent of the overall quantity of fruit intake.

People who frequently snacked on nutrient-poor savoury foods (such as crisps) were more likely to experience 'everyday mental lapses' (known as subjective cognitive failures) and report lower mental wellbeing. A greater number of lapses was associated with higher reported symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression, and lower mental wellbeing scores.

"It is possible that changing what we snack on could be a really simple and easy way to improve our mental wellbeing," Tuck said.

IANS

 

 

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 22:52:52 +0530
The only Railway Station in India where you need foreign Visa

Anupama Nair

You read correctly! There is a railway station in India where you need to obtain a Pakistani Visa. Read on for more…. Yes you need a visa from Pakistan to visit Attari in Punjab.

The Indian Railways is called the lifeline of our country. Railways transport passengers from one end of the country to their destination. Rail travel in the country is also extremely economical. Just book a ticket and go on your journey. The railway as we know was first designed by George Stevenson. India's first passenger train was operated by the Great Indian Peninsular Railway and was hauled by three steam locomotives (Sahib, Sindh and Sultan), ran for 34 kilometers with four hundred people on board in fourteen carriages between Bori Bunder (Bombay) and Thane on 16 April 1853. From then on the Indian Railways have been carrying passengers from Peshawar to Chittagong and from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari i.e., the entire Sub-Continent.

India’s oldest train has been running for more than a hundred years carrying passengers from Bombay to Peshawar, and the name of the train was Punjab Limited during the pre-Independence days and now Punjab Mail. The train ran non-stop till the national lock-down in the country last year. After Independence, till now, the train runs between Firozpur Cantonment Station in Punjab and Victoria Terminus in Bombay.

After Independence, the Samjhauta Express is the only train link between India and Pakistan and always became the first casualty whenever tension escalates between the two neighbors, who were one from time immemorial. In India, the train is also called as Attari Special Express. The train service between India and Pakistan is named Samjhauta which in Hindi and Urdu means ‘agreement’. The train operates twice a week between Lahore and Delhi.

 

In reality, it is one route operated by the two trains -- from Pakistan, the Samjhota Express operates from Lahore to Attari (a small station in Amritsar), located just around three kilometres away from Wagah border. In India, the train operates from the capital New Delhi to Attari. We can see a glimpse of the train in the super-hit movie Veer Zara. The train was suspended for few days after the Pulwama Attack, but the services resumed as it is the only means of transport for commoners in both countries. For those people, who are lovers of history like me, I realized I need a Pakistani Visa to see Attari.

 

In fact, Attari is the only railway station in the country, where we need a visa. Pakistani visa has been made compulsory for citizens here. As the city is located near the Indo-Pakistan border, the Attari railway station is always under guard. If a person is caught here without a visa, a case is registered against him under the Foreign Act 14. You need to understand, bail is also obtained with very great difficulty. Punjab Police guards the railway station and photography is prohibited here.

So, if you are planning to see the Wagah border, don’t forget to get a Pakistani Visa to travel to Attari. 

 

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 22:34:48 +0530
Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav Porus the King Who Fought Against Foreign Invasion

Anupama Nair

This year 2022, is the 75th year of Independence from the British. There is hardly a month before our Independence Day. Our beloved Prime Minister decided to celebrate this year as “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. So, I am starting to write a feature on all those sons and daughters of Bharat Ma who fought against foreign invasion from time immemorial. I had written about Bharat Ma, As it is said “Janani Janmabhumishcha Swargadapi Gariyasi” which means “mother and motherland are superior even to heaven” in Dev Bhasha Sanskrit, from our great epic Ramayana. I believe in this motto and think my mother and Bharat Maa are superior to heaven. Today I am going to write about Purushottam or Porus who fought against Alexander the Great

 

He belonged to Puru tribe (a clan known to have inhabited north-western India near Peshawar since the Vedic period) mentioned in the Rig Veda and he ruled the Punjab region and expanded his kingdom between the Jhelum River and Chenab River in the Indian Subcontinent. He was a legendary warrior and possessed great military skills. He made the army most powerful with great military skills. Purushottam is believed to be the son of King Bamni and Queen Anusuya.

Purushottam was born in Punjab in modern day Pakistan. Not much is known about his birth year, but he is believed to be assassinated in 315 BC, by Eudemus, satrap of a nearby kingdom and usurped the kingdom of Pauravas.  Malayketu, son of Purushottam fought with Eudemus and killed him, taking the revenge of his father's death, and got back his kingdom. Purushottam’s kingdom spanned the area of Jhelum River and Chenab River again in modern day Pakistan. His reign is believed to be before 326 BC till 315 BC. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC. 

He is famous for his battle with Alexander the Great from Macedonia in the Battle of Hydaspes in 326 BC. After conquering the Achamenid Empire of Persia (Iran), Alexander launched a campaign into the Indian subcontinent in present-day Pakistan, part of which formed the eastern most territories of the Achaemenid Empire following the Achaemenid conquest of the Indus Valley (late 6th century BC). After gaining control of the former Achaemenid territory of Gandhar (Afghanistan), including the city of Taxila (Afghanistan). Although victorious, the Battle of the Hydaspes was possibly also the costliest battle fought by the Macedonians.

He fought bravely but lost the war and was arrested by Alexander. The legend quotes Alexander asked him how he wanted to be treated, he proudly stated” like a king”. Alexander was so impressed and reinstated him as the king of kingdom and gave him territory till the Beas river. The kingdom consisted of 5,000 considerable cities and numerous villages as per the mentions of Plutarch.

The only contemporary information available on Purushottam and his kingdom is from Greek sources, and from Chand Bardoi, whereas Indian sources do not mention him at all, which is surprising. There was a movie made on this great king called “Sikander-e-Azam”, starring Pritviraj Kapoor as Porus and Dara Singh as Alexander.

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 22:26:15 +0530
Just Comical Two of the world s best known comics and their lessons

Usually reviled by irate parents and teachers as a "waste of time and money", comic books have held their own for nearly a century. And as Shakespeare said, there are "tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything", so why not this format? Particularly, when it can have its uses -- even instructional and moral ones.

Say, for instance, showing how humanity has been the same across ages by depicting key contemporary issues in the far past, using stereotypes to evoke laughter, not xenophobia, or become a herald of (that now reviled word) globalisation with a balanced portrayal of various ethnicities.

And then for good measure, to demonstrate how humour can continue to work its magic across translations.

Comics originated in the US, and it, along with Japan and its manga, still holds the top position as far as their proliferation -- and its adaptation by other media -- goes. For the purposes above, however, we must turn to another tradition -- the Franco-Belgian, and its two most famous characters -- the diminutive but doughty Gaulish warrior, and the intrepid and globe-trotting boy reporter.

With their well-researched settings, meticulously drawn plots and characters, and of course abundant wordplay, the Frenchmen Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, and Belgian Georges Remi alias Herge, not only elevated the form to literature, but made Asterix and Tintin the world's most well-known Frenchman and Belgian, respectively.

Let us begin with Tintin, whose fans included Satyajit Ray, Steven Spielberg and Charles de Gaulle, who considered him to be his only serious rival. And then, our hero, in his lunar visit, also made a "discovery" (lunar ice) that was scorned then, but would be validated by India's Chandrayaan half a century later.

The two dozen installments of the series have sold hundreds of millions of copies in the more than 70 languages they have been translated into, and the reason is not difficult to ascertain.

Herge's trademark "ligne claire" (clear line) drawing style, creating a most realistic feel, is complemented by engrossing, well-researched stories, which quite unobtrusively deal with serious social and political themes: Crime, wars, drugs and slave trade, racism, political subversion and regime change, fuel crises and so on. And he kept pace with the times in the stories that span from the 1930s to the mid-1970s and respected diversity -- Tintin is even shown doing yoga.

And in the series, Herge also drew from his own life -- and found some peace too.

Emerging out of a weekly cartoon strip in the children's supplement of a Belgian Catholic newspaper, the initial two adventures -- set in Soviet Russia and the then Belgian Congo -- were not very refined, being an unabashed anti-Communist attack and an unashamed justification of colonialism and the "White Man's Burden", respectively.

It was from the third installment that there was a change in ideological orientation to a more multiracial-tolerant setting.

Featuring Chicago gangster boss Al Capone -- the only prominent real-life character appearing in the series, apart from a brief appearance by the creator himself much later -- "Tintin in America" combines all current perceptions of the US in a blistering denunciation of capitalism, consumerism, and criminality, not to mention racism and exploitation of indigenous people.

Tintin's adventures next take him to Egypt and India ("The Cigars of the Pharoah", where the blundering detectives Thompson and Thomson come onstage -- and so do cow vigilantes!) in a struggle against drug smuggling, which is continued in "The Blue Lotus", set in China. The latter was unprecedented in a depiction of Chinese people far removed from the racist stereotypes prevalent in then Europe, though the Japanese, who were more westernised, don't come off so well.

The Japanese aggression against China, particularly the self-engineered Mukden incident, which served as a pretext for the occupation of Manchuria, is rendered with starkness and led to an official complaint from the Japanese embassy in Brussels.

Space constraints won't permit a recap of all of Tintin's colourful adventures and characters, but we can try a few prominent ones.

"The Broken Ear", set in two fictional South American countries, combines crime and high politics, while satirising the frequent (violent) regime changes in the region, backed by foreign interests, seeking to spark war between countries -- and supplying both with weapons.

"King Ottokar's Sceptre", with its political subtext chronicling contemporary happenings, was unexpectedly not banned by Nazi censors in occupied Belgium, but Herge played it safe and the next half-dozen odd installments -- from "The Crab With the Golden Claws" (where Captain Haddock makes his appearance) to "Prisoners of the Sun" -- abandon political themes for pure adventure.

In the 1950s, Herge returned to contemporary happenings -- the Cold War, the arms race, political subversion, human trafficking can all be found.

Tintin also had a therapeutic effect on Herge. Having been "forced" to marry co-worker Germaine Kieckens by his conservative editor, despite both being unhappy about it, he had numerous affairs. This caused him to feel guilty and have recurrent nightmares of what he described as "the beauty and cruelty of white" -- visions of white and snow.

He even consulted a psychologist and was counselled to leave his art, but rejected the advice and found expiation of sorts in drawing the desolate landscapes of "Tintin in Tibet".

"Tintin and the Picaros", the last completed adventure, is full of political intrigue -- and messaging -- down to its final panel: a new regime, but slums still filled with wretched people, with the only change seen being in the uniforms of the apathetic police and names on the victory signs.

Asterix and his extremely well-built (never call him fat!) friend Obelix, created by writer Goscinny (1926-77) and illustrator Albert Uderzo (1927-), have regaled the world since his first appearance in French comic magazine 'Pilote' in October 1959, before branching out to his own series of albums, as well as films -- both animated and live action.

The series survived Goscinny's death, and the 2008 retirement of Uderzo, who had taken both roles, with his assistants nominated to carry on with it.

It was set in 50 BCE in an unnamed village in Armorica (what is now Brittany in France), termed the sole area in Gaul that Roman ruler Julius Caesar had failed to subdue due to a magic potion of the local druid, which gave its users short-term superhuman strength.

Apart from local adventures, Asterix and Obelix (and sometimes other villagers) go out on missions in other parts of Gaul and what are now Belgium, Britain, Germany, Switzerland as well as to North America, Middle East, and India.

There is a lot of bashing up of Romans, pirates, assorted barbarians or whoever else comes in their way, the series is not mere slapstick. Its humour works on some more subtle devices -- the witty dialogue, the puns, the running gags, the caricatures, the accurate, tongue-in-cheek but affectionate stereotyping of various peoples, who are depicted like their contemporary counterparts -- the proper, reserved British, the clean and hospitable Swiss, and the rule-obeying Goths (Germans).

The humour, typically French-specific, raised concerns if the work could be feasibly translated, but the gifted duo of Anthea Bell (1936-) and Derek Hockridge (1934-2013) succeeded, with the English versions maintaining the original's spirit and jokes, and devising equally irresistibly funny puns where needed.

And what doesn't need translation are the references from art and poetry as well as films, music as well as historical characters -- prototypes of Mussolini, Napoleon, Sigmund Freud, Laurel and Hardy, Thomson and Thompson, Winston Churchill as well as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley, besides Charlton Heston as Ben Hur, Kirk Douglas as Spartacus and Sean Connery as James Bond, can be seen.

Then, keeping the series relevant are the well-aimed pokes at social, economic and political issues, as relevant now as when written -- luxury accommodation including its land acquisition, environmental costs, labour relations, or marketing gimmicks, and business jargon.

Who says comics are only for children?

Vikas Datta -- IANS

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 22:13:15 +0530
Hosting of 2022 Asia Cup could be moved from Sri Lanka to the UAE

Dubai, July 17: The hosting of 2022 Asia Cup could be shifted out of Sri Lanka despite the island nation successfully hosting an all-format tour of Australia men's team, a white-ball tour of India women's team and is currently hosting a two-match men's Test series against Pakistan without any major issues.

A report in ESPNCricinfo says that despite the possibility of the tournament being moved to the UAE, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will remain the official host of the 2022 Asia Cup. The report added that a decision was taken at an Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting this week, which remains concerned by the acute shortage of fuel which has played a big part in grinding Sri Lanka down to a halt.

Since April this year, Sri Lanka has been in acute economic and social crisis due to daily power cuts, rising fuel prices and massive shortages of basic essentials like food and medicines which prompted resignation of president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled to Singapore via Maldives.

"Hosting two teams is not the same as hosting ten teams. You have to provide ten buses with fuel for all of them. You have to give every team a luggage van with fuel, and transport for the managers. You also have to give the sponsors transport and ensure that they are getting the mileage that they want from their sponsorship. The fuel for the generators to run the floodlights will also have to be found," SLC chief executive officer Ashley de Silva was quoted as saying in the report.

The report further said that the ACC is set to announce the 2022 Asia Cup schedule on July 22 and it will likely have India and Pakistan facing each other twice in the league phase. De Silva added that with Sri Lanka in a dire state due to fuel shortage and political instability would have stopped many fans from India and Pakistan to fly in to the country.

"There are also two India vs Pakistan matches, and there will be people who want to travel and watch those matches. People might not be happy to travel to Sri Lanka because of the situation."

The report also said that with the operational costs for the Asia Cup borne by ACC, SLC won't see any revenue loss, but the local economy in Sri Lanka will lose substantially with hotels and transport operators missing out.

"The ACC had limited options regarding back-up venues considering June through September is monsoon season over most of the Indian subcontinent. In terms of the infrastructure and travel, the UAE has proved to be a successful venue, but late August and early September generally witness extreme temperatures of over 40 degree celcius with humidity also expected to be a factor. Accordingly, the matches could start early evening," added the report.

The 2022 Asia Cup, in 20-over format, will see India entering the competition as defending champions, having won the competition in the 50-over format in 2018 in the UAE. Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh will feature in the tournament and will be joined by another Asian side, which could be either of UAE, Kuwait, Singapore or Hong Kong, to be decided after a qualifying tournament, for which the schedule is yet to be known.

The 2022 Asia Cup will be the 15th edition of the tournament, having started from 1984 in Sharjah. India are the most successful team of the tournament, winning it seven times, including the T20I edition in 2016. Sri Lanka have won the competition five times while Pakistan emerged as the winning team twice.

IANS

 

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 22:06:46 +0530
1st Test Day 2 Babar Azam s gritty ton keeps Pakistan alive against Sri Lanka

Galle, July 17:Pakistan captain Babar Azam once again showed why he is so highly rated, striking his seventh Test hundred in a brilliant rear-guard action and leading his side's fightback against Sri Lanka on the second day of the opening Test, here on Sunday.

With nine wickets down and the score reading only 148, Sri Lanka looked set to gain a healthy lead. But Babar Azam (119) stitched a valuable stand of 70 for the last wicket with Naseem Shah, who scored just five runs off 52 balls, to take Pakistan to safety.

Prabath Jayasuriya couldn't have written a better script in his second Test, taking five wickets and giving away only 82 runs. He was a menace to Australia on debut and Pakistan too got a taste of the skills of the left-arm spinner.

Jayasuriya struck off just the third ball of the day by trapping Azhar Ali in front of the stumps. After a brief period of resurgence from Pakistan, courtesy of the partnership between Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, Ramesh Mendis strangled the latter down the leg-side.

The wicket opened the gates for Sri Lanka, with Jayasuriya wreaking havoc thereafter. Debutant Agha Salman fell to the left-arm spinner's arm ball. A few overs later, Jayasuriya recorded his third five-for in as many innings and was on a hat-trick having dismissed Mohammad Nawaz and Shaheen Afridi off consecutive deliveries.

Earlier in the morning, Pakistan managed to add 80 runs to their overnight score but lost five wickets doing so.

While wickets continued to tumble at one end, Babar Azam put up a gritty resistance at the other. As he has made a habit of, he broke yet another record during his innings -- he became the fastest Pakistan batter to 10,000 international runs across formats and fourth overall.

The grind continued for the Pakistan skipper, who received some support -- first from Yasir Shah and then Hasan Ali. With the two, Babar Azam added crucial 27 and 36 runs for the 8th and 9th wickets respectively, and also brought up his 22nd Test fifty in the process.

At 148/9, Sri Lanka were in the driver's seat and were on the verge of taking a big lead. However, what followed was an incredible show of grit and resistance from the final wicket pairing of Babar Azam and Naseem Shah.

Babar did the majority of the batting in the innings, opting to farm strike to protect the 19-year-old Naseem. Naseem, to his credit, played his role to perfection whenever he had to face the music. He showed tremendous patience for a No.11 and it wasn't until the 39th ball of his innings that he got off the mark.

The Pakistan skipper, on the other hand, mixed caution and aggression brilliantly to reduce the first-innings deficit. He brought up his seventh Test hundred, an incredible knock under the circumstances and kept going even after getting to the milestone.

It was Maheesh Theekshana who brought respite to Sri Lanka by getting Babar out lbw and bringing an end to a 70-run stand. By the end of the innings, the hosts were left with a negligible lead of four runs.

Pakistan got the big wicket of Dimuth Karunaratne (16) before stumps, with Sri Lanka (36/1) leading by 40 going into Day 3.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 222 and 36/1 in 11.5 overs (Mohammad Nawaz 1-12) lead Pakistan 218 (Babar Azam 119; Prabath Jayasuriya 5-82) by 40 runs.

IANS

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 22:02:05 +0530
Gold for Mandeep Nithya Team India bags 11 medals in Ireland Para Badminton Int l

Dublin, July 17: Mandeep Kaur and Nithya Sre clinched gold medals as the Indian para-badminton contingent signed off its campaign at the 4 Nations Para-Badminton International 2022 with 11 medals here on Sunday.

Overall, the Indian team will return home with two gold, four silver and five bronze medals.

Kaur, who has had a great season with gold and three silver before the Ireland event, defeated a fighting Oksana Kozyna from Ukraine in her final women's singles SL3 game with a scoreline of 21-18, 21-18 to take the gold.

Kaur also claimed a silver in the mixed doubles SL3-SU5 event along with Chirag Baretha, after losing to French top seed Lucas Mazur and Faustine Noel 14-21, 18-21 in the final.

Meanwhile, Sre overcame a second-game scare from'England's Rachel Choong to win 21-14, 18-21, 21-7 in 32 minutes, for the women's singles SH6 gold medal.

However, Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion Pramod Bhagat had to settle for the silver going down to his arch-rival Daniel Bethell of England 17-9, 9-21 in the men's singles SL3 final.

Among other medallists were: Abu Hubaida (mixed doubles WH1-WH2) and Baretha & Hardik Makkar (men's doubles SU5) claimed the silver medals, while Nilesh Balu Gaikwad (MS SL4), Deep Ranjan Bisoyee (2. MS SL4), Nitesh Kumar (MS SL3), Charanjeet Kaur (WS SL3) and Nilesh Gaikwad & Manoj Sarkar (MD SL3-SL4) took bronze.

The Indian Para-badminton team will next be seen in action in the Thailand para-Badminton International 2022 next month.

IANS

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 21:52:50 +0530
Russia doesn t want to end war Zelenskyy

Kiev, July 17: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Sunday said that Russia started a war
and does not want to end it, whereas Ukraine is defending its own land and fighting for peace.

Ukrainian President Zelensky published several photos of Ukrainian forces, and posted, "This is a war in Ukraine that Russia started, that Russia continues and that Russia does not want to end. Ukraine defends its own land, its sovereignty, its territory. Ukraine is fighting for peace."

He added that this is a cruel paradox of the 21st century, and it is a reality for Ukrainians, Ukrinform reported.

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Russia has been shelling and bombing Ukrainian cities and villages since then.

IANS

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 21:50:10 +0530
G20 members denounce Russia s war against Ukriane

Kiev, July 17: Many participants in the G20 meeting of finance ministers in Indonesia's Bali have strongly condemned Russia's war against Ukraine and called for an end to it.

Indonesia's G20 presidency said this in a statement after the meeting of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors held on July 15-16, Ukrinform reported.

"Many [G20] members agreed that the recovery of the global economy has slowed and is facing a major setback as a result of Russia's war against Ukraine, which was strongly condemned, and called for an end to the war," the statement said.

"The majority of members agreed that there is an alarming increase of food and energy insecurity, which are felt disproportionately by vulnerable groups. Some also expressed concerns about fertilizer availability which has the potential to further exacerbate the food crisis. Members affirmed their commitment to use all available policy tools to address current economic and financial challenges, including the risk of food insecurity," the statement said.

IANS

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 21:46:05 +0530
Sporadic incidents of violence in Pak s Punjab province bypolls

Islamabad, July 17: Sporadic incidents of violence were reported in bypolls to 20 constituencies in Pakistan's Punjab province on Sunday.

Of the total 3,140 polling stations, clashes were reported at 14.

Thirteen PTI workers in Lahore's PP-167 were arrested for violating the election code of conduct by holding rallies in the constituency, Dawn reported.

Post the reports of violence, CEC Sikander Sultan Raja said in a statement that strict action will be taken against "those involved in creating issues in the election process" and that if candidates participate in such acts "they may also be disqualified".

PTI worker Rana Naeem was arrested for causing a head injury to a PML-N worker at an irrigation canal polling station.

Complaints of voting area alterations were also received from the same constituency.

Polling was also halted in PP-168 for some time following agitation between PTI and PML-N workers.

IANS

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 21:41:42 +0530
DMK MP protests Bhoomi Pooja by only a Hindu priest

Chennai, July 17: Lok Sabha member from Tamil Nadu's Dharmapuri constituency and DMK leader, S. Senthilkumar has objected to the 'Bhoomi Pooja' of a road project by a Hindu priest, and scolded the officials for inviting only a Hindu priest.

The MP shouted at an official, and sought to know why the 'Imam' and Christian priest were not present.

He also asked for the presence of atheist leaders as well as Dravidar Kazhagam representatives.

"Do you have instructions or not that the government functions should not be held like this. Are you aware or not?" he asked an official.

The MP also urged the authorities present to clean everything -- presumably the pooja materials that the Hindu priest had brought for the Bhoomi Pooja on Saturday.

The official at whom the MP shouted was identified as the Executive Engineer of Public Works Department. The DMK leader also later shared a short video of the episode in his Twitter handle.

He was heard saying: "Trying to keep my cool... at times, they make me lose my patience."

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has objected to the MP's behaviour.

The party's Tamil Nadu unit vice president Narayanan Thirupathy questioned Senthilkumar whether he would have reacted in the same manner had an Imam been present, and would have conducted rituals according to the Muslim belief.

The BJP leader called for the MP to apologise to the public for "disrespecting people's faith".

In a tweet, the BJP leader wrote: "I strongly condemn@DrSenthil_MDRD for Hindu beliefs and rituals at a workplace where poojas were about to be performed by the workers to their beliefs. His abuse and behaviour have once confirmed that @arivalayam is an anti-Hindu party."

IANS

 

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 21:35:49 +0530
American woman in India fakes physical assault abuse to blackmail parents Police

New Delhi, July 17: A 27-year-old woman from the US, who arrived in India as a tourist, staged a drama of being physically and emotionally abused by some unknown people to emotionally blackmail her parents back home, a Delhi Police official said on Sunday.

The victim-turned-accused was identified as Chloe Renee McLaughlin, who arrived in Delhi on May 3. The daughter of a former Army officer, she is a graduate and resides in Washington DC.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, New Delhi, Amrutha Guguloth said the US Embassy had approached them, stating that the woman was assaulted and beaten by an unidentified individual known to her and is missing after reporting the incident to her family in the US.

The woman, in an email, claimed that she is in an unsafe environment where she has encountered physical and emotional abuse.

"On July 10, the victim spoke to her mother Sandra McLaughlin via a video call on WhatsApp. The mother tried to gather some more information about her but an unknown individual entered the room and she could not disclose much," the DCP said.

Based on the complaint, the Delhi Police registered a case under various sections of the Indian Penal Code at the Chanakyapuri police station and began probing the matter.

"In order to ascertain the present whereabouts of the girl, assistance was sought from Yahoo.com for providing the IP address used by her for sending email to the American Citizens Services on July 9. Further, the Bureau of Immigration was requested to provide her immigration form to find her whereabouts," he said.

As per the immigration form details, the woman had given her local address as Khasra No 44 & 45 in Greater Noida. However, when the police team reached the location, they found it was the address of Radisson Blu hotel. "Enquiries were made at the hotel and it was found that no such person had checked in at the hotel," the official said.

Thereafter, technical assistance was taken from the Cyber Unit to find out the IP addresses used by her WhatsApp number. On analysis of the information, it was found that the victim used someone's Wi-Fi connection.

Accordingly, the mobile number associated with the IP address and the alternate mobile number was obtained and details of this number were analysed. As a result, the police team succeeded in apprehending Nigerian national Okoroafor Chibuike Okoro alias Rechi, 31, from Gurugram, after it was found that as per the IP address, his mobile was used by the woman while making WhatsApp calls to her mother.

On sustained interrogation, he revealed the location of the missing woman and ultimately she was traced to a hotel in Greater Noida. After rescue and examination of the victim, it was revealed that she had staged the incident to emotionally blackmail her parents. It was also found that her visa had expired on June 6.

As per the investigation conducted so far, it is found that the victim had befriended Rechi through Facebook and after her arrival in India, she was staying with him.

"On further investigation, it was found that the passport of Rechi had also expired," the DCP said, adding that legal action with respect to overstaying in India without a valid passport and valid visa is being taken against them.

He said that both McLaughlin and Rachi have a passion for singing, probably, which was the main reason for their friendship.

IANS

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 21:32:38 +0530
Colonialism s Counterblast Rishi Sunak s rise mirrors New Britain s growing diversity

LONDON, 16 JULY: It could be called democracy's diversity, or even colonialism's counterblast. The race to succeed UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson by becoming the new leader of the Conservative Party, which espoused the Empire, imperialism and British national identity, has been swamped with contenders from former colonies in Asia and Africa. And at the end of the preliminary rounds, the son of immigrants from British India was on top.

Rishi Sunak, UK's former Chancellor of the Exchequer, or Finance Minister, whose sudden resignation set in motion the circumstances that forced an intransigent Johnson to finally bow out, has emerged the main contender at the end of two rounds of voting by the 358 Conservative MPs.

Picking up a quarter of the votes in the first round, he became the only one to get over three digits in the second round -- and is followed by three women present and former ministers.

The initial race had a ethnically diverse list of candidates -- British Pakistani ministers Sajid Javid and Rehman Chishti, Sunak's Iraqi Kurd-born successor Nadhim Zahawi, Attorney General Suella Braverman, whose family's roots are in Goa, and Nigerian-origin former minister Kemi Badenoch.

Sunak and Braverman's fellow Indian-origin Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, chose to sit it out.

Javid and Chishti failed to get enough traction to even figure in the race, Zahawi bowed out after the first round, and Braverman after the second, leaving Sunak and Badenoch to contend against Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, and Tom Tugendhat, the backbench MP, who happens to be half-French.

It's early days for Sunak, who has emphasised that identity of a person born in the UK but with origins elsewhere matters to him. He has to remain in the reckoning till there are only two contenders left in the race, at which point the decision will be left to the rank-and-file Conservative Party members across the cities, shires, hills and dales across the British Isles.

Suave, efficient, but also controversy-ridden, the former US-based investment banker, hedge fund operator, and three-time MP still has a chance to become the first non-ethnic Briton to become Prime Minister.

This, though, will not be entirely unusual -- for such staunch British PMs as Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan happened to be half-American (on their mothers' side) and Johnson was born in the US, becoming the first non-UK-born Prime Minister since Andrew Bonar Law nearly a century ago (Bonar Law, however, was born in Canada, which was a part of the Empire.)

Born in Southhampton on May 12, 1980, Sunak is the son of (the then British) Kenya-born Yashvir Sunak and his wife, Tanganyika-born Usha, who grandparents were born in the Punjab Province of British India, and migrated to East Africa, and from there to the UK in the 1960s.

"My parents emigrated here, so you've got this generation of people who are born here, their parents were not born here, and they've come to this country to make a life," he said in an interview with the BBC in 2019.

"In terms of cultural upbringing, I'd be at the temple at the weekend -- I'm a Hindu -- but I'd also be at (Southampton Football Club) the Saints game as well on a Saturday -- you do everything, you do both," he said, also revealing that he was fortunate not to have endured a lot of racism growing up, save for one incident, when he was with his younger siblings.

With his father a general practitioner, and his mother, a pharmacist, he had an easy childhood. He studied at a prep school in Hampshire, and then he was at the prestigious Winchester College, where he was head boy and editor of the school paper; during vacations, he worked at local curry restaurant.

Oxford was the next stop and he graduated in 2001. The same year, he was interviewed along with his parents for the BBC documentary "Middle Classes: Their Rise and Sprawl". He was an analyst at investment bank Goldman Sachs till 2004, and then a hedge fund management firm till 2009, when he left to join former colleagues at a new hedge fund launched in October 2010.

In 2009, he married Akshata, daughter of Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy and writer Sudha Murthy, who's also the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. Sunak and Akshata have two daughters.

Engaged with the Conservative Party since his Oxford days, Sunak got into politics full-time in 2014 when was selected for the Richmond seat in north Yorkshire -- one of the safest Conservative seats, which has been held by the party for more than a century -- and won it in the 2015 elections by nearly 20,000 votes.

He retained it in the 2017, and 2019 elections, with increased majorities. His predecessor as Richmond MP was William Hague, now Baron Hague of Richmond, who held important cabinet position, Including Foreign Secretary, and was Leader of the House of Commons,

A staunch proponent of "Leave" in the Brexit referendum of 2016 and subsequent parliamentary votes, Sunak's first government job was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government (2018-19) in the Theresa May government and then as Chief Secretary to the Treasury (2019-20) in the government of Johnson, whose leadership bid he had supported.

He replaced his boss Javid as Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2020, and while he mostly earned plaudits for steering the government's economic response to the effects of the Covid-19 lockdown, he also became the first Chancellor to be found to have broken the law while in office by breaching lockdown norms.

His wife's non-domicile status, which let her save huge amount of taxes in the country, also became a major controversy for him.

It is Sunak's "treachery", which set off the spate of resignations that forced Johnson's resignation, that may just queer his chances to become Prime Minister.

Vikas Datta -- IANS

Sun, 17 Jul 2022 00:09:09 +0530
Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav Bharat Mata India as Mother Goddess

Anupama Nair

This year 2022, is the 75th year of Independence from the British. There is hardly a month before our Independence. Our beloved Prime Minister decided to celebrate this year as “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. So, I am starting to write a feature on all those sons and daughters of Bharat Ma who fought against foreign invasion from time immemorial. To the young and untutored, what or who is Bharat Mata? For us her children, she is our mother, and we worship her as a goddess. “Bharat Mata is the national personification of India as a mother goddess”.  As it is said, “Janani Janmabhumishcha Swargadapi Gariyasi” which means “mother and motherland are superior even to heaven” in Dev Bhasha Sanskrit, from our great epic Ramayana. I believe in this motto and think my mother and Bharat Maa are superior to heaven.

Before talking about Bharat Mata, you need to understand the concept of Bharat. The Puranas state that it is derived from the name of Bharata, the son of the saint Rishabha, while some other Puranic passages refer to the son of Dushyanta called Bharata as seen in the Mahabharata. In the Mahabharata, a larger region of North India is included by the term, but south India was excluded. Bharat Varsha had been used as a self-attributed name by the people of the Indian subcontinent and later the Republic of India.  The name is derived from the ancient Hindu Puranas, which refer to the land that encompasses India as “Bharat Varsha” or the country of Bharata and uses this term to distinguish it from other continents. 

Jambu Dvipa was another name used in ancient scriptures as a name of India before Bharat became the official name. The derivative Jambu Dwipa was the historical term for India in many Southeast Asian countries before the introduction of the English word India. This alternate name is still used occasionally in Thailand, Malaysia, Java, and Bali to describe the Indian Subcontinent. Aryavarta was a term used for northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent in the ancient Hindu texts such as Dharmashastras and Sutras, referring to the area of the Indian Subcontinent where “Indo-Aryan tribes and where Indo-Aryan religion and rituals pre-dominated”. The limits of Aryavarta spread over time, as the influence of the religion spread southwards in post-Vedic times.

Now let me talk about Bharat Mata. In the book “Everyday Nationalism: Women of the Hindu Right in India”, Kalyani Devaki Menon argued that “the vision of India as Bharat Mata has profound implications for the politics of Hindu nationalism and that the depiction of India as a Hindu goddess implies that it is not just the patriotic but also the religious duty of all Hindus to participate in the nationalist struggle to defend the nation”.

Now let me talk about the conversation between a Gujarati politician and writer KM Munshi and Aurobindo Ghosh. Munshi asked Aurobindo Ghosh a question that has become vital a century later. He asked Ghosh “how can one become patriotic?” Aurobindo Ghosh, one of the fathers of Hindu Nationalism, replied with an answer that is especially relevant today in 2022. He pointed to a map of British India on the wall, and said “do you see this map? It is not a map but the portrait of Bharat Mata, her cities and mountains rivers and jungles form her physical body. All her children are her nerves, large and small...Concentrate on Bharat as a living mother, worship her with nine-fold bhakti”. The fact that Aurobindo considered Bharat Mata worthy of ‘navavidha bhakti’ or nine-fold worship is a good indicator of how the image of India as a mother goddess had already taken origin in 1905.

The concept of worshipping ‘Bhoomi Devi’, or goddess of the earth, has always been part of Hinduism. However, modern forms of equating a nation with a mother goddess first arose in Bengal where ‘Shakto’ worship dominated and forms of the mother goddess such as Kali, Durga, and Chandi were popular. “Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay transformed Bharat Mata into a fully-fledged Hindu goddess and the symbol of India who is experiencing difficult times, but her children are indifferent to her sufferings, and they need to awaken to the dire conditions and act”. In 1875, Bankim Chandra composed Vande Mataram, a song about a benign goddess figure, which became an anthem for Indian nationalists in their struggle for liberation from British domination. The leader of the rebels in Anand Math showed Mahendra the three faces of  Bharat Mata as three idols of goddesses, being worshipped in three consecutive rooms of the ashram -- “What Mother Was – An idol of Goddess Jagadhatri”,  What Mother Has Become – An idol of Goddess Kali and finally “What Mother Will Be – An idol of Goddess Durga”.

“Bharat Mata appeared in the book as a ten-armed idol in a marble temple”. Vande Mataram, contained within the novel, is a hymn to the goddess Durga and, as Tagore wrote, “Bankim Chandra does show Durga to be inseparably united with Bengal in the end.”

During the Swadeshi movement and the agitation to withdraw the ‘1905 partition of Bengal’, the idea of India and Bengal as mother goddesses was used widely in the popular realm. Vande Mataram, (praise the Mother), was the popular anthem of the time. Bharat Mata was painted by the great painter, Abayindranath Tagore in 1905. “It represented an archaic spiritual essence, a transcendental idea of Universe as well as expressing Universal Hinduism and nationhood”. He portrayed Bharat Mata as a “four-armed Hindu goddess wearing saffron-colored robes, holding the manuscripts, sheaves of rice, a mala, and a white cloth”.

Eric Hobswam a historian gave other examples of female personifications of nations, such as in Mexico's ‘Virgin of Guadalupe’ and Catalonia's ‘Virgin of Montserrat’. These “holy icons”, imagined the nation visually and emotionally helping forge a sense of unity. During the Roman Empire, the province of Briton was visualized as ‘Britannia’, with a “woman wearing a Roman Helmet, carrying a trident in her hand”. At the time of the French Revolution, there was an idea of a “lady of liberty called Marianne”. During the time of the American War of Independence, there was an image of “Lady Columbia”, which later became “The Statue of Liberty”, built in 1920.

Then arose a view that Vande Mataram can never be the National Anthem of India. However, other streams of political thought in India at the time disagreed with this and strove to reclaim Bankim Chandra’s tradition of “blending the nation with Hindu divinity”. Chief amongst them was Veer Savarkar, who, like Aurobindo Ghosh, had once believed in a violent struggle. Just like Ghosh, Savarkar had been sent to prison by the British and had emerged a changed man.

In his book, “Hindutva”, Savarkar drew a nationalism based on religious identity. “Charging the Indian landmass with sacredness, Savarkar's definition of nationality was based on whichever religious groups had their places of worship in the Subcontinent. Since then, we started cultivating and using Bankim Chandra’s idea of Bharat Mata.

Bharat Mata has also been installed as a goddess in the traditional precincts of a Hindu temple during British rule. There was a Bharat Mata temple built in 1936 whose “installed deity is a large map of the British Indian Empire”. Since the concept of Bharat Mata was first created in British India, the map of undivided Bharat has been used. “Hindutva versions of Bharat Mata have her and her leonine mount floating above a map that almost always includes Pakistan and Bangladesh”. There are Bharat Mata temples in the Daulatabad Fort in Maharashtra as well as one in Haridwar, inaugurated by Indira Gandhi in 1983. There is a temple located in Calcutta and Bharat Mata (the Mother Land) is portrayed through the image of “Jagattarini Durga”. We can also see a Bharat Mata Temple in Kanya Kumari. Ramayana Mandir is inside the Bharat Mata Temple and it showcases the Valmiki Ramayana. So, Bharat Mata for me is a goddess which represents my country Bharat and she is my mother.

(Dedicated to my Mother and Bharat Mata and may she be the punya bhoomi and be free always, never again be invaded and subjected to 800 years of slavery)

Sat, 16 Jul 2022 23:57:09 +0530
6 Monsoon Essentials

New Delhi, July 16:The rain may not look as lovely on your hair and skin as it does in photographs. The humidity in the air can have extreme side effects ranging from unruly hair to excessively oily skin. Not to mention the unexpected breakouts that occur just as the rains arrive, along with an influx of insects. To address these concerns, we've compiled a list of some of Kama Ayurveda's best-selling products to help protect your skin and hair. These products are made with the purest natural ingredients to combat any signs of damage caused by the rainy season.

Bringadi Hair cleanser for hairfall & damaged hair

One of the primary causes of hair breakage during the Monsoon is dirty hair and scalp. Keeping the scalp cleansed and clarified during the monsoons is an effective way to avoid hair breakage. Bringadi Hair Cleanser accomplishes the same thing without stripping the hair of its natural oils and softness. This gentle hair cleanser has been shown in studies to reduce hair loss, dandruff, and oily scalp. This Ayurvedic formulation reduces hair loss by 60% and oily scalp in just 28 days. It contains ingredients like Bhringraj Amla and Liquorice, which help reduce hairfall and promote hair growth.

Anti Acne cleansing foam

The rainy season causes your oil-secreting glands to go into overdrive. Oily skin attracts dust, dirt, and other pollutants, which irritate your skin and contribute to breakouts. The Anti Acne Cleansing Foam is a lightweight aromatic cleansing foam that is ideal for deep cleansing. It dries out active acne, unclogs and tightens skin pores, and reduces breakout frequency.

Bringadi Intensive Hair treatment

Monsoons can cause excessive humidity and sweating, which can harm your crowning glory by causing hair breakage and scalp infections. By massaging your hair with oil, you can prevent hair loss and nourish the roots. The Bringadi Intensive Hair Treatment Oil, a rich earthy oil infused with potent Ayurvedic herbs, aids in the prevention of dandruff and other scalp infections. Liquorice and Balloon Vine are antifungal and antibacterial ingredients that help reduce dandruff, itching, and prevent scalp infections. The treatment has been clinically proven to reduce hair loss by 61percent.

Organic Neem Oil

Moist and damp skin and hair can attract bacteria and germs, resulting in a variety of skin and hair irritations. The 'Sarva Roga Nivarini' or 'curer of all ailments' of Kama Ayurveda, Neem Oil, helps keep all infections at bay. This 100 percent pure and cold-pressed oil from Tamil Naidu's farms is high in antioxidants and the ideal partner for trees during the rainy season.

Natural Insect Deterrent Spray

This light body spray is perfect for the Monsoon season. It repels mosquitoes and other insects, is safe to use on a daily basis, and is free of toxic insect repellent chemicals. A completely natural formulation that offers the most effective natural protection against mosquito and other insect bites. Its lovely citrusy scent, infused with essential oils of Lemongrass, Citronella, Geranium, Vetiver, Neem, and Peppermint, leaves you feeling uplifted and joyful.

IANS
 

Sat, 16 Jul 2022 23:18:18 +0530
The kingdom awakens a brand new Dawn in Bhutan

New Delhi, July 16: In a changing world, visitors to Bhutan will discover that much remains unchanged. On September 23, 2022, the sole remaining Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom will reopen its borders to international travel. The same cobalt skies, vibrant smiles, and timeless sense of tranquillity can be found here, where everyday life is defined by the pursuit of peace and nature is as revered as happiness.

Bhutan has been retreating into the mists of its Himalayan eyrie for over two years to ensure the well-being of its people. The Kingdom is now ready to emerge, like a gilded peak after the storm clouds have passed, with an ever rarer and more awe-inspiring cultural safari. Allowing Amankora to once again offer unparalleled journeys of discovery through this mystical land in its five lodge.

Amankora's gateway lodges, each of which is a distinct expression of its surroundings, is as warm as ever. It has been honoured to be Bhutan's first and most trusted international travel partner since the Kingdom's opening to the outside world, and has participated in every effort to uplift and rebuild during this unprecedented time, waiting for the day when each lodge can once again offer travellers a meaningful personal 'kora' - a circular journey - across the country's spectacular central and western valleys.

Amankora, Bhutan

Aman was privileged to mark its entry into the Kingdom with the opening of AmankoraParo in 2004, giving it nearly two decades of unparalleled insight and knowledge of Bhutan. As the Kingdom reopens, there is no one more soulfully connected to the Land of the Thunder Dragon to ensure a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage.

Amankora's lodges in the valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey, and Bumthang will welcome their first guests since March 2020. The Kingdom chose this auspicious day with the same thought that it has invested in renewing its focus on sustainability. It marks the end of the monsoon season and is a celebration of the rain, which is regarded as sanctifying and holy, that has cleansed the earth and humanity. This day will also mark a new dawn for Bhutan's vision of a better future, with symbolism resonating far beyond the borders of this mountain kingdom.

International visitors to Bhutan will now pay a daily Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) of USD 200 to the Kingdom's fund, which was established in 1991 at a cost of USD 65, to help finance Bhutan's Low Volume, High Value tourism concept. The new rate, the first increase in 30 years, reflects the Kingdom's determination to preserve its pristine natural beauty and wildlife, as well as its carbon-negative status and rich culture. Bhutan is home to hundreds of ancient sites, centuries-old monasteries, historic fortresses, and entire communities untouched by modernity, and the revised SDF will ensure their preservation. The increase will also benefit two pillars of the Kingdom's illustrious Gross National Happiness index: universal free healthcare (for citizens and visitors alike) and accessible, high-quality education.

The seven- to 13-day Amankora Journey, distilled over nearly 20 years, now offers guests the most comprehensive and soul-stirring experience of the Kingdom. It allows you to visit all five of Amankora's lodges, revealing not only Bhutan's most beautiful and iconic sights, but also the spirit of its people and culture. It is a bespoke adventure tailored to personal interests and preferences, drawing heavily on Aman's intuitive understanding of the country and providing the only way to seamlessly experience three to five different valleys in seven or more nights.

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The seven-day Amankora Journey includes transfers, daily excursions with a private car, driver, and guide, all monument passes and road permits, and a 60-minute holistic massage per person, in addition to all meals, picnics, and in-house beverages. Those staying for 10 nights or more can also enjoy a traditional herb-infused hot stone bath from the comfort of a candle-lit potato shed with dramatic views of the Phobjikha Valley at Amankora Gangtey. Large river stones are heated by fire and placed in the wooden bathtub, releasing minerals before guests immerse themselves in the healing water. The Ultimate Amankora Journey crams a lifetime of experiences into 13 days and includes one free night in addition to the domestic flight from Bumthang to Paro.

Even though Bhutan may appear remote, it is possible to visit this Himalayan paradise when time is limited. The three-night Tiger's Odyssey journey from Amankora is the ideal introduction to Bhutan, providing a satisfying, all-around experience of its cultural and natural attractions.

Guests staying at Amankora Paro can bike through the verdant rice paddies and idyllic farmhouses of Paro Valley, explore the dramatic ruins of the 17th-century Drukyel Dzong and one of the Kingdom's oldest temples, Kyichu Lhakhang, stroll through quaint Paro town sampling momos (local dumplings) and freshly brewed beer, and marvel at the historic treasures of the National Museum. The days begin with open-air yoga in the fresh pine-scented air, followed by picnics and a farmhouse lunch prepared by a former royal family cook.

No trip to Bhutan is complete without a visit to the famous Tiger's Nest, which is the name of this journey. The temple complex, perched on a cliffside with breathtaking views, was first built in 1692 around the Taktsang SengeSamdup cave, where a revered Guru is said to have meditated in the 8th century. Guests can follow the hike and personalised tour with a barbecue lunch and a well-deserved spa treatment on the final day. The spa at the lodge has a glass-walled sauna, serene treatment rooms with hot stone baths, and a peaceful yoga and meditation room that overlooks the forest and herb garden.

IANS

Sat, 16 Jul 2022 23:11:37 +0530
Strong protection following Covid vaccination short lived Study

New York, July 16:Vaccine protection against Covid-19 is short-lived and, therefore, booster shots are important, says a new study.

"The mRNA vaccines produce the highest levels of antibody response and in our analysis confer more durable protection than other vaccines or exposures," said lead author Jeffrey Townsend from Yale University, in the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"However, it is important to remember that natural immunity and vaccination are not mutually exclusive. Many people will have partial immunity from multiple sources, so understanding the relative durability is key to deciding when to provide a boost to your immune system," Townsend added.

Since Covid-19 vaccines first became available to protect against infection and severe illness, there has been much uncertainty about how long the protection lasts and when it might be necessary for individuals to get an additional booster shot.

For the study, the team quantified the likelihood of future infection following natural infection or vaccination by the Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

The risk of breakthrough infections, in which a person becomes infected despite being vaccinated, depends on the vaccine type.

According to the study, current mRNA vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna) offer the greatest duration of protection, nearly three times as long as natural infection and the Johnson & Johnson and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

IANS

 

Sat, 16 Jul 2022 23:05:11 +0530
Apple brings Music sessions with live performances in spatial audio

San Francisco, July 16: Apple Music has premiered Music Sessions, exclusive live releases featuring some of the world's most prolific artistes and emerging artistes, all in Spatial Audio.

Recorded out of Apple Music's studios around the world, the music sessions allow artistes to reimagine and recreate hits from their catalog and creative covers of beloved classics.

The first two artistes featured were Carrie Underwood and Tenille Townes.

"These unique performances are also filmed, resulting in a special, bespoke live collection comprised of brand-new Spatial Audio tracks and companion live performance music videos that will all be available exclusively to Apple Music fans worldwide," the company said in a statement.

During her session, Underwood performed her hit "Ghost Story," as well as a stripped-back version of "Blown Away," and a cover of Ozzy Osbourne's "Mama, I'm Coming Home".

"Being in the studio with Apple Music was such an incredible experience, and I'm excited to share these unique, stripped-down versions of three songs I love with my fans," Underwood said.

"We had a lot of fun reimagining these big, visual songs and presenting them in a different way," Underwood added.

Country singer-songwriter Tenille Townes performed her hits "Same Road Home" and "Somebody's Daughter," as well as a gritty, soulful cover of Etta James's "At Last".

"It was so cool capturing the spirit of how it feels to play my songs live with my band during the Apple Music Sessions performance," Townes said.

IANS

Sat, 16 Jul 2022 22:43:35 +0530
Records galore as Ridhima Apeksha Suhas Preetha shine on day one of jr national aquatics

Bhubaneswar, July 16:Top billed Ridhima Veerendra Kumar of Karnataka created a new meet record in the 100m backstroke event for Group 1 Girls on day one of the prestigious 48th Junior National Aquatic Championships which began at the Biju Patnaik Swimming Pool, Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.

The young star from Bengaluru smashed Maana Patel's record of 1:05.00, clocked in 2015. Ridhima touched the pads on 1:04.96 to clinch the gold and create a new meet record in the event. She beat Sanjana Prabhugaonkar (1:07.09) and statemate Nina Venkatesh (1:07.32) to win the gold.

In the 100m backstroke for Group II Boys, Suhas Preetha M of Telangana smashed the record with a sensational time of 1:01.29 seconds. He beat Karnataka's Ishan Mehra by a close margin. Mehra timed 1:01.71 seconds. Haryana's Krish Jain took home the bronze.

In another event, Apeksha Fernandes of Maharashtra created a new meet record in the 100m breaststroke for Group I Girls. She clocked 1:12.83 seconds to beat Karnataka's Saanvi S Rao (1:16.81) and S Lakshya (1:17.58).

Hashika Ramachandra of Karnataka set a new meet record in the 200m Freestyle for Girls' Group III, clocking 2:05.65. She improved on the old mark of 2:10.81 set by Bhavya Sachdeva at Rajkot in 2019. Dhinidhi Desinghu of Karnataka finished second while Deepti Tilak of Maharashtra bagged bronze.

Jashua Thomas of Tamil Nadu won the Group I Boys' 100m breaststroke gold, clocking 1:06.82. Arjunveer Gupta of Maharashtra won silver in 1:07.02 while Vansh Pannu of Haryana bagged bronze in 1:07.06.

IANS

Sat, 16 Jul 2022 22:34:08 +0530
Cambodia Bangladesh aim to further promote ties cooperation

Phnom Penh, July 16: Cambodia and Bangladesh have pledged to further strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation for mutual benefits.

The pledge was made during an official visit of Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen to Cambodia from July 14 to 16, the Cambodian foreign ministry said in a press statement on Saturday.

Momen underlined the Bangladeshi government's wishes to promote cooperation with Cambodia, particularly on economy and food security, during a courtesy call on Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported quoting the statement.

It added that the visiting Bangladeshi foreign minister also held a bilateral meeting with Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn on Friday, discussing bilateral cooperation as well as regional and global issues of common concern and interests.

"The two foreign ministers noticed with pleasure the similarity between both countries on several aspects, serving as ground for building and expanding the existing good relations," the statement said.

Within the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Momen sought Cambodia's support, as the ASEAN chair this year, for Bangladesh's bid to become an ASEAN sectoral dialogue partner, it said.

Sokhonn assured Momen of Cambodia's support, underlining that it needs passing through the ASEAN secretariat's assessment and a consensus among all ASEAN member states, according to the statement.

IANS

Sat, 16 Jul 2022 22:27:13 +0530
Tribal body in Pakistan province bans women from visiting tourist spots

Peshawar, July 16: A grand Jirga held in Bajaur in the Pakistan province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has decided against the liberty of women to visit the tourist spots with men in the area, media reports said.

The local elders in Tehseel Salarzai of Bajaur took this decision in a Jirga where representatives of all tribes were present, Samaa TV reported.

They announced that women will not be allowed to travel to any tourist place, even with men, it said.

The Jirga ruled that it was against their tribal values and traditions that women visit the recreational spots with men and requested the administration to respect their values.

They said that they could not allow promotion of 'vulgarity" in the name of recreation while warning the administration to implement their decision by Sunday or else they would be compelled to do so on their own.

IANS

Sat, 16 Jul 2022 22:21:47 +0530
92 year old Indian woman arrives in Pakistan to visit ancestral home after 75 years

Lahore, July 16: The Pakistani High Commission, as a goodwill gesture, issued a three-month visa to a 92-year-old Indian woman, Reena Chhibar, who reached Pakistan on Saturday to see her ancestral home, media reports said.

As she made her way through the Wagah-Attari border to see her ancestral home, Prem Niwas, in Rawalpindi, she urged the governments of both the countries to "work together" to ease visa restrictions to make "coming and going easy for us", the Express Tribune reported.

Reena reminisced of a multi-cultural diverse community that was thriving in 'Pindi before the Partition as she was driven from the border to Rawalpindi. "My siblings had friends who would come over to our house from various communities, including Muslims," she said, remembering that "our house-help was also a diverse mix of people".

In 1947, after the partition, her family moved to India. She was 15 years old at the time, and though over 75 years have passed since then, she said she "could not remove her ancestral home, her neighbourhood and the streets from her heart", Express Tribune reported.

Reena had applied for visa in 1965 to visit Pakistan, but she says she could not acquire permission amid high tensions due to the war between the two neighbours. She still managed to visit Lahore to watch a match between Pakistan and England as Pakistan had issued visas to Indians to watch the match.

Reena claims that she had expressed the desire to visit her ancestral home on social media in 2021, upon which a Pakistani citizen named Sajjad Haider contacted her and sent her images of the house. In a video on social media, she claimed that she had applied for a visa to visit the place in 2021 which was rejected, Express Tribune reported.

The 92 year-old then turned to social media and expressed her desire to visit Pakistan. She also tagged the now Pak Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar in her post.

According to Reena, the minister immediately directed the Pakistani High Commission to issue her a visa and soon after, she was contacted by the high commission in New Delhi. After meeting with the Commission's Aftab Hassan Khan, she was issued a visa for 90 days.

As Reena arrived in Pakistan via Wagah border on Saturday morning, her eyes became moist. She left for Rawalpindi where she will visit her ancestral home Prem Niwas and her childhood friends from the neighbourhood, Express Tribune reported.

IANS

 

Sat, 16 Jul 2022 22:02:42 +0530
BJP picks Bengal Guv Jagdeep Dhankhar for VP

New Delhi, July 16:  West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar will be the NDA candidate for Vice Presidential polls.

BJP chief J.P. Nadda announced the name of Dhankhar as the NDA candidate after the Parliamentary Board meeting at party headquarters here.

"After detailed discussion and considering all the names, the BJP Parliamentary Board has decided to announce the name of Kisan Putra Jagdeep Dhankhar as the BJP and NDA candidate for the post of Vice President. Presently he is the Governor of West Bengal and has been in public life for almost three decades," Nadda said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief J.P. Nadda, Union Ministers Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah and Nitin Gadkari, and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan were present in the Parliamentary Board meeting.

The BJP-led NDA candidate Dhankhar is all set to become next Vice President in this election as the voters are the members of Parliament and the BJP has a huge mandate in the Lok Sabha while in the Rajya Sabha it is the single largest party having more than 90 seats.

In the last election, the opposition fielded Gopalkrishna Gandhi but he lost to BJP's M Venkaiah Naidu. In 2017, Naidu polled 516 votes defeating the opposition's Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who could manage only 244 votes.

The last date for filing of nomination papers for the Vice President poll is July 19 and election is scheduled to be held on August 6. The date on which counting, if required, shall be taken on the same day.

IANS

 

Sat, 16 Jul 2022 21:52:11 +0530
Disrupted rail connectivity in four NE states to resume soon

Guwahati, July 12: The rail connectivity that got disrupted due to rainfall and landslides in the four northeastern states of Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur will resume soon, an official said on Tuesday, adding the restoration work has been completed.

Due to multiple landslides triggered by pre-monsoon heavy showers in the Dima Hasao district of Assam, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, and southern Assam were cut off from rail connectivity since May.

Though the North-East Frontier Railways (NFR) had immediately started the restoration process on this route, heavy rainfall in the hilly Dima Hasao district was acting as a barrier.

On Tuesday, Sabyasachi De, Chief Public Relations Officer of NFR said that despite the inclement weather in the hills for the last two months, the Railways has successfully completed the restoration work.

"Trial engine runs were conducted successfully on all the affected locations. Full-fledged rail connectivity will soon resume on the Lumding-Badarpur route. NFR has put all its efforts in restoring the damaged line and restarting the train services," De said.

He claimed that the restoration works taken up by NFR is the fastest ever in Indian Railways while dealing with such huge natural calamities.

The Railway Ministry had earlier sanctioned Rs 180 crore for the restoration of the snapped railway lines in Dima Hasao district.

De said the NFR has completed the restoration work on a war footing, by mobilising men, materials and machinery led by the Railway's skilled team of engineers, officers, and staff.

The technical team which had been deployed for quick restoration of this section was well versed with the terrain and worked 24x7.

In the second week of May, due to torrential rainfall and massive landslides, around 85 km of railway track in the Lumding -Badarpur route was badly affected.

Breaches had occurred at more than 61 locations in this section, resulting in disruption of the rail communication to the states of Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, and parts of Assam.
IANS

Tue, 12 Jul 2022 23:59:05 +0530
Sunak Suella make the cut in race to be UK s next PM

London, July 12 : Two candidates out of the eight who have made the cut for Wednesday's first round ballot in the ruling Conservative party's leadership contest, are of Indian origin - Rishi Sunak and Suella Fernandes Braverman. The final outcome of this race will throw up Britain's next Prime Minister.


A total of 11 contestants had entered the fray. But Sajid Javid and Rehman Chishti, both of Pakistani descent, who had thrown their hats into the ring, failed to secure the support of 20 fellow MPs - a pre-condition to proceed further in the competition.

Others among the eight who made the short-list were former Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch, who is of Nigerian extraction and was a minister of state in the outgoing government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who lost the confidence of his party's MPs, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, former Foreign and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, backbench MP Tom Tugendhat, and Nadhim Zahawi, who is of Kurdish background and now the Chancellor of the Exchequer after Sunak resigned from this post.

In a survey carried out by Conservative Home, 19.6 per cent of Conservative party activists preferred Mordaunt as their future Prime Minister, followed by 18.7 per cent in favour of Badenoch, 12.1 per cent for Sunak, 11.1 per cent for Braverman and 10.9 per cent for Truss.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary in Johnson's outgoing cabinet, brought up the rear with 1.7 per cent. Though enjoying the experience of a senior minister, albeit now in a caretaker capacity, she chose not to enter the race.

IANS

Tue, 12 Jul 2022 23:52:36 +0530
Rohit Sharma proves how much Team India needs him

London, July 12 (IANS) It may only be limited overs cricket. But the cost of Rohit Sharma's absence in the Test series in South Africa last winter (due to injury) and in the Edgbaston Test against England last week (because of Covid) is becoming all too apparent.


The authority, calm and control the Indian captain brings to the team's campaigns tend to inject a dramatic difference to the tourists.

After winning the Twenty20 series 2-1 on Sunday, the Indians on Tuesday humiliated England in the opening ODI of the three-match series. The visitors, after dismissing the home side for 110, did not lose a wicket before crossing the finishing line, in effect winning the game by 10 wickets. It stamped India's superiority over England in no uncertain terms.

While in the modern era, the coach and colleagues are consulted on what a team should opt for if they win the toss, the onus of the eventual decision is on the skipper. Bat first and set a target was the mantra in the just concluded T20Is, which were played in the late afternoon and evening.

The first ODI was also a day-night affair. It was 32-degree Celsius, sunny and overcast, increasingly the latter. The pitch had pace and the dry grass on it bound it rather than aided any untoward seam movement.

In hindsight, it is easy for pundits to say that it was a no brainer to bowl first. But the ease with which Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root (both were back in the England XI for this match) blunted the Indian quick bowlers at Edgbaston, the psychological advantage rested with the hosts. Besides, in the past seven years, England have been more potent in white ball cricket than in the red ball format, including winning the World Cup in 2019.

Sharma's faith in his faster bowlers was not misplaced. In the muggy conditions caused by the heatwave sweeping England, they swung the ball disconcertingly. Statistics compiled on SKY's coverage revealed the white ball has never swung more at The Kia Oval (venue of the match). It surpassed past records to bend on an average by 1.29 degrees. This, considering the fact that none of the exponents in the Indian XI is a classical swing bowler, emphasised how much the natural atmosphere plays a part in the sport.

Jasprit Bumrah, relieved of the onerous task of stand-in captain, was phenomenal with figures of 6/19.

There is no animated behaviour or sledging in Sharma's leadership. But there oozes an inner steel in the Mumbai cricketer. He was misguided in his media reaction to the likes of the well-meaning Kapil Dev calling for introspection over Virat Kohli (injured and therefore rested in this game). This was most uncharacteristic of Sharma, who, under Kohli, was the PR face of Team India.

But as the Delhi star's successor, he walks a tightrope about his obviously declining predecessor, who has been one of the great batsmen of his generation. You are damned if you defend him, damned if you don't.

The aerial environment was almost identical when India batted. But the experience of Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan shone through. Neither was at his best, especially the left-hander. But with the ask so modest, they were unhurried, though not snail-paced. Sharma's unbeaten 76 off 58 balls said it all.

Continuing dry surfaces as the hot weather intensifies could bring spinners into prominence in the next ODI at Lord's on Thursday.

IANS
 

Tue, 12 Jul 2022 23:46:05 +0530
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Tue, 12 Jul 2022 15:52:17 +0530
The story of the Maharaja and Rolls Royce

Anupama Nair

From time immemorial, the Indian Subcontinent was ruled by great kings and queens like Purushottam, Chandra Gupta Maurya, Ashoka, Prithvi Raj Chauhan, Rana Pratap, Shivaji Maharaj, Rani Lakshmi Bai and many others. Today’s story is about the great Maharaja of Alwar, Jai Singh, who used the world famous British-made car Rolls Royce as garbage vehicles and that too at the height of the British Empire, ‘where the sun never sets’! Incredible isn’t it, well it is true. Read on…

First let me tell you about the kingdom of Alwar, which is now in the state of Rajasthan. The ancient name of Alwar is Salva or Salwa. In the Later Vedic Period, the Salva is described as a non-Vedic kingdom which occupied Kurukshetra and conquered the Kuru Kingdom. The Salvas then settled along the Yamuna river and the Alwar province after attacking the Kurus and they later accepted the Vedic culture by the end of the Vedic era as they united with the remaining Kurus and the Surasena Mahajanapada, near the kingdom of Matsyas.

From time to time, a different Rajput sub-clan came to rule Alwar. The Maratha Empire also ruled this region for a short period. The foundation of the kingdom of Alwar was laid by a Rajput, Pratap Singh, who took the Alwar Fort from the Jat Raja of Bharatpur.

Rolls Royce had a very simple origin. This legendary brand finds its roots in Henry Royce's electrical and mechanical business, that was started in 1884 and went on to become a car manufacturing company in 1906. Royce made his first car in 1904, and was soon introduced to Charles Rolls, a proprietor of a car dealership company. Royce's car-making skills along with Rolls' business acumen resulted in Rolls-Royce Limited, a car manufacturing company inaugurated on March 15, 1906. It was called the Spirit of Ecstasy, as it features a woman leaning forward with her arms stretched behind her and a surging cloth runs from her arms to her back, resembling wings. However, Rolls-Royce started its association with India via the country's aerospace sector in 1932, when Tata Aviation Services, launched its first aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Gipsy engines and soon after the Indian Air Force took to the skies in 1933, powered by Bristol Jupiter engines.

Did you know that before the First World War more than twenty thousand Rolls Royce were built and almost 20 percent were shipped to India. There were almost 230 Indian Maharajas and who had around 2000 Rolls Royce in India. Owning a Rolls Royce used to be a pride. A famous king from Alwar, used to buy three cars at a time. In 1920, Maharaja of Alwar, Jai Singh was walking around the streets of Mayfair, London. He was not wearing Royal Robes and he walked into a showroom of Rolls Royce. However, a British salesman ignored the Maharaja as he thought he was just an ordinary poor Indian.

King Jai Singh couldn’t take this humiliation and soon returned to his hotel room. He then asked his servants to the call the showroom and tell them that King of Alwar was going to buy few of their cars. After that, all the salesmen in the showroom were lined up to honor the King’s visit and a red carpet was rolled out in the showroom. Then the King visited the showroom with his royal appearance. At that time there were six cars present in the showroom, the King purchased all the six cars at a time. He paid the full amount including the delivery charges.

Once, all the six Rolls Royce had been transported to India, the Maharaja ordered the Municipality to use these cars to sweep the streets of the city. He also asked them to use these cars to collect and transport garbage from every corner of the city. The news spread all over the world and the numero uno car manufacturer Rolls Royce was in total shock. Their reputation and revenue dropped rapidly. Rolls Royce had to send a telegram apologizing for their behavior to the Indian King Jai Singh. They also offered six more brand new cars free of cost. The king then asked the Municipality and others to stop using the Rolls Royce for collecting garbage, he also accepted their apologies.

The moral of the story is even if you are the best brand in the world, you need to treat your customer as king.

 

Mon, 11 Jul 2022 22:10:53 +0530
Why India is a must see place at least once in your life time

Anupama Nair

India is known as the “spiritual guru” of the world. In India, “spiritualism is not an obsession of the human mind, rather it is a heritage as well as a continuous tradition”. India is famous for her culture, civilization, traditions, literature and epics, ancient medicine – Ayurveda, Yoga , ancient scientific theses like gravitation, atomic theory (later proved by modern science), ancient temples and holy cities, you imagine and we have it all.  However, the greatness of Indian culture, especially “spiritualism” have contributed a lot —connecting the spirit of Indians throughout the ages. As a result, the spiritual-minded Indians have succeeded in maintaining their Indianness which could not have been possible otherwise. Indian life is dominated by personality which is well linked to spiritualism.

The Vedas offer spiritual direction to the Indians giving them the basics of spiritual and moral life. Our rishis should be applauded as the earliest spiritual masters on earth as their mantras resound with the seed of spiritualism, and India can be called the “cradle of spiritualism and civilization”.

India is a vivacious land of staggering contrasts where “both the traditional and modern worlds meet”. We are the world's seventh largest country by area and the second largest in terms of population. India has a rich heritage that's “the result of centuries of different cultures and religions leaving their mark”. What travelers to my country prefer to do is have the opportunity to “experience an array of sacred sites and spiritual encounters, while nature lovers will enjoy its sun-kissed beaches, lush national parks, and exciting wildlife sanctuaries” – all in all a great package .

Many say “India is very diverse, probably the most diverse country that you will find on this planet. We have the second coldest places in the world – Drask, a place that has the highest rainfall in world – Cherapunji, and also one of the driest places on the Earth – The Thar Desert. Then the peninsula is home to beautiful beaches, and in contrast the northern part of India hosts snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas. Mix all this with different cultures and hundreds of languages and dialects, you have got a potent mix of diversity”. No wonder tourists flock to India!

There are many reasons you need to visit ‘Incredible India’ at least once in your lifetime. Here they are:

  • It is affordable.
  • India boasts of rich culture.
  • India has many places called ‘photographic scenery’.
  • We have one of the most delicious food to tempt your tastes.
  • A trip on our extensive railways is treat.
  • A stay on shikhara or house boats is best in the world.
  • We have many festivals which attract international tourists.
  • The ‘seven sisters’ or seven north-eastern states are places to visit.
  • India’s temple architecture is worth seeing.
  • India’s palaces are so beautiful and full of splendor.
  • India’s street life is sure to be amazing.

So, I would suggest coming to ‘Incredible India’ for a trip of a lifetime.

Mon, 11 Jul 2022 21:56:36 +0530
BA 5 sub variant can re infect you with Covid within weeks Experts

New Delhi, July 11:The BA.5 Omicron sub-variant, which is known to evade immunity induced both by vaccines as well as prior infection, has the potential to reinfect you with Covid again "within weeks", global researchers have said.

BA.5, together with BA.4 and other sub-variants, are said to be behind the current surge in infections seen in a slew of countries including India, China, US, and European nations, notably the UK and Italy.

It has been a common assumption during the pandemic that being infected with a Covid variant provides a natural immune boost, enabling one's immune system to better recognise and fend off infection in the future.

However, Omicron BA.5 proves to be different, with several researchers terming it as "the most easily transmissible Covid variant to date".

"The main reason this variant has become the predominant one that is now circulating is that it is able to evade previous immunity," said Dean Blumberg, chief of Paediatric Infectious Diseases at University of California, Davis, Children's Hospital. "Even people who have partial immunity from a previous infection or vaccination can still have a breakthrough infection."

That means even if you were infected in 2020 with Delta or even Omicron BA.1 last winter, you can still get BA.5. Your previous immunity does not protect you from the latest strain.

"What we are seeing is an increasing number of people who have been infected with BA.2 and then becoming infected after four weeks," Andrew Roberston, the chief health officer in Western Australia, was quoted as saying to News.com.au.

"So maybe six to eight weeks they are developing a second infection, and that's almost certainly BA.4 or BA.5," he added.

This may be explained by a recent study, published in the journal Science, which showed that Omicron provides a poor natural boost of Covid immunity against reinfection even with Omicron and also in people who are triple-vaccinated.

Researchers at the Imperial College London called the BA.5 "an especially stealthy immune evader".

"Not only can it break through vaccine defences, it looks to leave very few of the hallmarks we'd expect on the immune system - it's more stealthy than previous variants and flies under the radar, so the immune system is unable to remember it," said Professor Danny Altmann, from Department of Immunology and Inflammation at Imperial.
 

IANS

 

Mon, 11 Jul 2022 21:42:12 +0530
Always think of DDLJ s dialogue Bade Bade deshon mein aisi choti choti baatein hoti rehti hain

New Delhi, July 11:Nadia Nadim, a Danish international woman footballer wears many hats and her storied career resembles nothing less than a script of Bollywood blockbusters.

Her journey from Afghanistan to Denmark has been filled with adversities and her story which comprises both tragedy and triumph is an inspiration to many.

Nadim, who lost her father in 2000 after the Taliban executed him, was forced to leave Afghanistan with her family. She shifted to Denmark and stayed in the refugee camp and it was here where she took to football and soon realised her dream to play professional football as she made her way to the Danish National side in 2009 and never looked back since then.

She has played for top European clubs including Manchester City and PSG and has scored 231 international and club goals. Nadia is also the Global Ambassador for FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

While she is an inspiration to many, her inspiration lies in Gurinder Chadha's movie on soccer, 'Bend it Like Beckham', "I grew up watching the movie and that's almost my life story in a nutshell. I love that movie, it's so accurate in so many ways, just because it portrays the life of a lot of individuals who do have a different background than Europe, where the culture and the religion always clash," Nadim said in an interview to Indian Sports Fans.

Nadia who speaks 11 languages has also been ranked 20th on the Forbes List of 'Most Powerful Women in International Sports.'

Just like any other Afghan citizen, her love for Indian movies is paramount and she has a lot of admiration for Indian movies and actors.

"I watch a lot of Hindi movies and my favourite actors are Ranveer Singh, and Shahrukh Khan and my all-time favourite films are Bajirao Mastani, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. And whenever I am going through a low phase in life, I always try to remember SRK's dialogue 'Bade bade deshon mein aisi choti choti baatein hoti rehti hain.' It is a big world and these kinds of problems will be there and that is how I view life and that makes me happy and colourful," Nadim said, who is also a qualified surgeon.

And that is not all, she also follows Indian cricket and is always updated about the sport. "I do follow the Indian news and love watching cricket and IPL. I kind of follow everything from a distance; I know which celebrities are marrying whom, what is happening in gossip and all of that."

Asked about the cricket players who she follows, she said it was earlier Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahendra Singh Dhoni and now she is a huge fan of Virat Kohli.
 

IANS

Mon, 11 Jul 2022 21:35:11 +0530
Suryakumar Yadav is India s very own Mr 360 degrees says Aakash Chopra

New Delhi, July 11: Former India opener Aakash Chopra has claimed that star batter Suryakumar Yadav is India's 360-degree player. Suryakumar's heroics on Sunday went in vain as England defeated India by 17 runs in the 3rd T20I.

The right-handed batter showed a range of shots on his way to an impeccable century.
Chopra lavished praise on Yadav following his sensational innings in the 3rd T20I as he compared the battler with South Africa's great AB de Villiers.

"Surya's knock was not just bravado but also a lot about the game sense�knowing where the fielders were�and where the bowlers were likely to bowl. He's India's very own Mr 360 degrees," Chopra said exclusively on the Koo app.

India might have lost the match but the visitors won the T20I series 2-1 against England.

Coming to the match, England smashed 215 in the allotted 20 Overs as Dawid Malan and Liam Livingston wreaked havoc on Indian bowlers. Chasing 216, India didn't have a great start as the visitors lost skipper Rohit Sharma, wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli inside 5 overs.

However, it was Suryakumar Yadav's sensational century (117) that brought India close to the target before losing the match.

Both teams will now lock horns in the ODI series starting on Tuesday.

IANS

Mon, 11 Jul 2022 21:25:27 +0530
Chandimal Jayasuriya guide Sri Lanka to famous victory level series with Australia 1 1

Galle, July 11: Dinesh Chandimal slammed an unbeaten double century, his best knock in Test cricket while debutant Prabath Jayasuriya scalped another six-wicket haul in the second innings to guide Sri Lanka to a famous victory over Australia, by an innings and 39 runs, in the second Test at Galle to level the two-match series 1-1.

After Chandimal's unbeaten 206 took Sri Lanka to 554 in the first innings, Jayasuriya followed up his first-innings figures of 6-118 with 6-59 in the second to grab 12 wickets on debut and cause Australia to collapse to an innings defeat after losing nine wickets in the final session on day four.

Austr'lia's disappointing batting display in the second innings will again raise question marks about their ability to bat against the turning ball, especially with a crucial Test series against India.

Resuming with an overnight lead of 67, Chandimal and Ramesh Mendis (29) went about their business in the first hour by frustrating the visitors. Chandimal was looking rock-solid while Mendis chipped with some valuable runs before their 68-run stand was broken by Mitchell Starc trapping the latter lbw.

Maheesh Theekshana would also perish for 10 before lunch. But after that, Chandimal went on the attack, smashing the Australian bowlers around and edging closer to a double century. He reached the milestone by hitting Starc for back-to-back sixes, as the Sri Lankan dressing room and fans around the stadium erupted in applause. Chandimal also became the first Sri Lankan to score a double century against Australia in Test cricket.

Australia's misery finally ended when Mitchell Swepson trapped Kasun Rajitha lbw, but the hosts had grown their lead to 190. Sri Lanka had a crucial wicket when Ramesh trapped David Warner lbw before tea break. After that, it was a Jayasuriya show all the way. He had Usman Khawaja caught at short leg and then trapped Steve Smith lbw for a duck in the same over to trigger the Australian collapse.

Travis Head was beaten all ends up by a ripping off-break from Ramesh before Jayasuriya struck thrice in the space of eleven balls. Marnus Labuschagne missed a sweep to be trapped lbw, Cameron Green was stumped while Mitchell Starc edged to slip. Maheesh Theekshana took out Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon in quick succession before Jayasuriya sealed the match for Sri Lanka by castling Mitchell Swepson.

Brief scores: Australia 364 and 151 in 41 overs (Marnus Labuschagne 32; Prabath Jayasuriya 6-59) lost to Sri Lanka 554 in 181 overs (Dinesh Chandimal 205 not out, Dimuth Karunaratne 86; Mitchell Starc 4-98, Mitchell Swepson 2-100) by an innings and 39 runs.

IANS

Mon, 11 Jul 2022 21:16:21 +0530
Chandimal Jayasuriya guide Sri Lanka to famous victory level series with Australia 1 1

Galle, July 11: Dinesh Chandimal slammed an unbeaten double century, his best knock in Test cricket while debutant Prabath Jayasuriya scalped another six-wicket haul in the second innings to guide Sri Lanka to a famous victory over Australia, by an innings and 39 runs, in the second Test at Galle to level the two-match series 1-1.

After Chandimal's unbeaten 206 took Sri Lanka to 554 in the first innings, Jayasuriya followed up his first-innings figures of 6-118 with 6-59 in the second to grab 12 wickets on debut and cause Australia to collapse to an innings defeat after losing nine wickets in the final session on day four.

Austr'lia's disappointing batting display in the second innings will again raise question marks about their ability to bat against the turning ball, especially with a crucial Test series against India.

Resuming with an overnight lead of 67, Chandimal and Ramesh Mendis (29) went about their business in the first hour by frustrating the visitors. Chandimal was looking rock-solid while Mendis chipped with some valuable runs before their 68-run stand was broken by Mitchell Starc trapping the latter lbw.

Maheesh Theekshana would also perish for 10 before lunch. But after that, Chandimal went on the attack, smashing the Australian bowlers around and edging closer to a double century. He reached the milestone by hitting Starc for back-to-back sixes, as the Sri Lankan dressing room and fans around the stadium erupted in applause. Chandimal also became the first Sri Lankan to score a double century against Australia in Test cricket.

Australia's misery finally ended when Mitchell Swepson trapped Kasun Rajitha lbw, but the hosts had grown their lead to 190. Sri Lanka had a crucial wicket when Ramesh trapped David Warner lbw before tea break. After that, it was a Jayasuriya show all the way. He had Usman Khawaja caught at short leg and then trapped Steve Smith lbw for a duck in the same over to trigger the Australian collapse.

Travis Head was beaten all ends up by a ripping off-break from Ramesh before Jayasuriya struck thrice in the space of eleven balls. Marnus Labuschagne missed a sweep to be trapped lbw, Cameron Green was stumped while Mitchell Starc edged to slip. Maheesh Theekshana took out Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon in quick succession before Jayasuriya sealed the match for Sri Lanka by castling Mitchell Swepson.

Brief scores: Australia 364 and 151 in 41 overs (Marnus Labuschagne 32; Prabath Jayasuriya 6-59) lost to Sri Lanka 554 in 181 overs (Dinesh Chandimal 205 not out, Dimuth Karunaratne 86; Mitchell Starc 4-98, Mitchell Swepson 2-100) by an innings and 39 runs.

IANS

Mon, 11 Jul 2022 21:16:17 +0530
Kohli needs just one good innings to return to form Deep Dasgupta

New Delhi, July 11: Following yet another poor performance by Virat Kohli in the recently-concluded T20I series against England, the debate over his place in the Indian team has gained more traction.

Former cricketers, including Kapil Dev and Venkatesh Prasad, have raised doubts over Kohli's place in India's T20I side.

However, India's former wicketkeeper-batsman Deep Dasgupta believes that the 33-year-old Kohli is just one good knock away from returning to his best.

Deep Dasgupta, who has played 8 Tests and 5 ODIs for India, said there's nothing wrong with Kohli's batting and felt that the former skipper needs a bit of luck.

"Ooth pa baithe aadmi ko bhi kutta kaat leta hai (A man who is sitting on a camel could also get bitten by a dog)... Virat is going through a tough period. Take yesterday's example, his flick, the straight drive was just unbelievable! Whenever he is playing, it does not look like he is out of form. I don't feel he played a bad shot yesterday, maybe it was just his luck," Deep Dasgupta told Jagran TV.

"In T20s, you need to take a risk... sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but Virat is batting beautifully. Although questions are being raised about his form, I believe he just needs one good inning to return back to form. Virat is one of the bests India has ever produced. There's no doubt about it," he said.

Earlier, Team India captain Rohit Sharma also supported Kohli, saying that everyone goes through ups and downs and a player's quality does not get affected.

"When a player is doing well for so many years, then one or two bad series does not make him a bad player. We should not overlook his past performances. We who are in the team know the importance of the player. They have got all the right to talk about it but it does not matter for us too much."

IANS

Mon, 11 Jul 2022 21:09:51 +0530
Ukraine plans a million strong army with Nato weapons to retake south

Kyiv, July 11: Ukraine plans a "million-strong army" equipped with Nato weapons to retake the south of the country from occupying Russians, its Defence Minister Oleksii Reznikov said, as per media reports.

Retaking the areas around the Black Sea coast was vital to the country's economy, Reznikov said, the BBC reported.

However, the comments are more of a rallying cry than a concrete plan, analysts say.

The Defence Minister's remarks come as Russia makes progress in taking territory in the eastern Donbas region.

An attack on a block of flats on Sunday killed at least 24 people - with nine people rescued from under the rubble, Ukraine's state emergency services said.

Rescuers are still looking for survivors at the site of the five-storey building in Chasiv Yar, near the city of Kramatorsk, in the Donetsk region which has been the focus of a Russian push, BBC reported.

In his interview with The Times newspaper, Reznikov praised the UK for being "key" in the transition from providing Ukraine with Soviet-era weapons to Nato-standard air defence systems and ammunition.

He said weapons deliveries needed to be sped up.

"We need more, quickly, to save the lives of our soldiers. Each day we're waiting for howitzers, we can lose a hundred soldiers," he said.

"We have approximately 700,000 in the armed forces and when you add the national guard, police, border guard, we are around a million-strong," the defence minister said.

However, Dr Jack Watling, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, cautioned against the figure.

"It's not a million-strong force that will be conducting a counter-attack," Watling told the BBC.

"Normally you would want operational surprise when you launch a counter-attack, so announcing it publicly is partly about forcing the Russians to have to commit resources more widely to guard against this threat."

IANS

 

Mon, 11 Jul 2022 21:04:45 +0530
Zardari siphoning money of Karachi and Sindh via hawala hundi to Dubai Imran Khan

Islamabad, July 11: Cases against former Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah were ready, but an "unknown power" prevented their prosecution, Samaa TV reported.

This was stated by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan while addressing an election rally in Lodhran.

Talking about the rains in Karachi and the current flooded state of the city, Imran said that the metropolis is the financial capital of the country.

"If the city does well, so does the entire country," he said, adding that a city which should have raised the fortunes of the country, is in poor state today.

He further claimed that the city's progress was deliberately pegged back.

"The country has been ravaged by two big looters," Imran said.

He named the first set of looters as deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his family.

The other, he named as former president Asif Ali Zardari.

"For 14 years Zardari has been sitting there (in Karachi) and has been siphoning money of Karachi and Sindh via hawala and hundi to Dubai," Imran alleged, Samaa TV reported.

"He does politics in the name of Sindh and steals their money," he accused.

He added that during his time as prime minister, he had prepared cases against Zardari, members of his family and that of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah but an unidentified 'power' prevented them from being punished.

"I tried everything to prosecute them, but whatever that power was did not let me," he said, adding that he will disclose more details about it at a later time, Samaa TV reported.

"Those who had power, they did not think their (Zardari's) theft was bad enough," he said.

IANS

 

Mon, 11 Jul 2022 20:59:53 +0530
Calls grow for inquiry into Macron s links to Uber lobbying

Paris, July 11: French opposition politicians from the left and far right have seized on the Uber files revelations to criticise President Emmanuel Macron, after the trove of documents showed his past help for the company's lobbying campaign to disrupt traditional taxis, media reports said.

The revelations come at a difficult time for Macron's centrists, who lost control of parliament in recent legislative elections, The Guardian reported.

Several figures from the left to the far right, as well as the leader of the leftwing CGT trade union, called for a parliamentary inquiry into reports that Emmanuel Macron, while he was economy minister from 2014 to 2016, went to extraordinary lengths to support Uber's lobbying campaign to help it disrupt France's closed-shop taxi industry, telling the tech company he had brokered a secret "deal" favourable to Uber with a bitterly divided Socialist party, then in power.

Aurelien Tache, a member of parliament who was elected for Macron's party in 2017 but reelected this year as part of the leftwing opposition coalition, Nupes, told France Info radio: "It's almost like a bad thriller - meetings and rendez-vous that were hidden."

He said the fact that the company asked Macron for advice during a raid on their offices by government inspectors must be investigated.

"It's a state scandal," he said, The Guardian reported.

Alain Vidalies, who was the Socialist transport secretary at the time Uber was attempting to establish itself in France, told France Info radio he was "gobsmacked" by the extent of Macron's support of Uber lobbying, particularly that Macron had taken part in "quasi-secret" meetings with the company, which he called a type of "complicity". He said the French people had a right to "a response and clarifications" from the executive.

Mathilde Panot, the parliamentary leader of the hard-left opposition party France Unbowed, denounced what she described as the "pillage of the country" during Macron's time as minister under president Francois Hollande. She described Macron as a "lobbyist" for a "US multinational aiming to permanently deregulate labour law".

Jordan Bardella of the far-right National Rally party said the revelations showed that Macron's career had "a common thread: to serve private interests, often foreign, before national interests", The Guardian reported.

Aurore Berge, the parliamentary leader of Macron's centrist party, said Macron had simply been doing his job and doing it well. She told CNews that Uber had created a service that French people wanted and Macron had rightly facilitated the arrival of companies that created jobs.

On accusations of a secret deal, she said: "There was no deal, there was no quid pro quo."

IANS

Mon, 11 Jul 2022 20:55:40 +0530
ED attaches assets worth Rs 14 cr in cryptocurrency cheating case

New Delhi, July 11: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday said it has attached assets worth Rs 14 crore in the Morris Coin cryptocurrency cheating case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The attached assets include the balance in the bank accounts of Flywithme Mobile LLP (a firm owned by Nishad K) and immovable properties of the associates of Nishad K, purchased from the proceeds of crime.

The attached properties include the bank balance in the bank account of Flywithme App, a hospital in Kochi, and 52 acres of agricultural land in Tamil Nadu.

The ED initiated the money laundering investigation on the basis of various FIRs registered in police stations against Nishad K and other persons for cheating people on the pretext of giving high returns of 2-3% per day to the investors.

"During the course of investigation it has been ascertained that Nishad K via his various firms such as Long Rich Global, Long Rich Technologies and Morris Trading Solutions collected deposits from the investors in the guise of Initial Coin Offer for the launch of Morris Coin Crypto Currency. By conducting promotional events in the presence of celebrities, introducing the investors to flashy websites and by provision of e wallets to each investor via web-based applications, Nishad K has collected deposits from the investors via various pin stockists," said the ED.

The amounts so collected were then transferred into the bank accounts of Nishad K and his firms. Subsequently, the collected amounts were layered into shell companies. From the bank statement analysis of the accounts pertaining to Nishad K and his firms, it was found that numerous firms/companies were used to launder the proceeds of crime into multiple bank accounts.

The ED has conducted searches across the country at the premises of Nishad and his associates and has seized various incriminating documents.

Earlier movable and immovable property to the tune of Rs 36.72 crore was attached by the ED.

Abdul Gafoor, Managing Director of Stoxglobal Brokers Pvt. Ltd, was arrested on March 24.

The ED filed a chargesheet against six accused before the Special Court PMLA, Kozhikode on May 21.

The total attachments in this case now stand at Rs. 50.72 crore.

IANS

Mon, 11 Jul 2022 20:48:21 +0530
India to surpass China as world s most populous country in 2023 UN

New Delhi, July 11: India is projected to surpass China as the worlds most populous country in 2023, according to a UN report.

More than half of the projected increase in global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in just eight countries: Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Tanzania. Disparate growth rates among the world's largest countries will re-order their ranking by size.

In 2022, the two most populous regions are both in Asia: Eastern and South-Eastern Asia with 2.3 billion people (29 per cent of the global population), and Central and Southern Asia with 2.1 billion (26 per cent). China and India, with more than 1.4 billion each, accounted for most of the population in these two regions.

The world's population is projected to reach 8 billion on November 15, 2022.

The latest projections by the United Nations suggest that the global population could grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2100.

Population growth is caused in part by declining levels of mortality, as reflected in increased levels of life expectancy at birth. globally, life expectancy reached 72.8 years in 2019, an increase of almost 9 years since 1990. Further reductions in mortality are projected to result in an average longevity of around 77.2 years globally in 2050.

Life expectancy at birth for women exceeded that for men by 5.4 years globally, with female and male life expectancies standing at 73.8 and 68.4, respectively. A female survival advantage is observed in all regions and countries, ranging from 7 years in Latin America and the Caribbean to 2.9 years in Australia and New Zealand.

IANS

Mon, 11 Jul 2022 20:43:55 +0530
Untold story of two teen age girls who avenged Bhagat Singh s hanging

Anupama Nair

Our great Prime Minister Modi inaugurated the Amrit Mahotsav or celebration of  India’s 75th year of Independence. We will be celebrating this event till 2022. I am going to write a feature on all those great men and women who fought against foreign invasion not just against the British. Today I am going to write about two unknown girls Shanti Ghosh and Sunita Chaudhary, who assassinated a British district magistrate when they were less than 16 years old to avenge the hanging of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukdev.

So let me tell you what happened to these three young brave hearts and then I will talk about the young girls. The promised Dawn did finally come after nearly 200 years of colonial rule. We lost millions of Bharat Ma’s sons and daughters starting from Siraj-ud-Daula (Battle of Plassey, 1757), to Mangal Pandey, Rani Laxmi Bai (1857) and finally Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev and lastly the man who said “Give me blood, I will give you freedom”—Netaji.

As Rousseau, during the French Revolution said “Man is born free yet he is in chains”, it was true for India. The desire to be free is the dream of every human, but during the Raj it was a rare commodity. For a century we were ruled by a Company called East India Company, who let loose a reign of terror. It was truly a black era. But the Revolt of 1857 ended the Company rule and India was ruled by the British Government. But the reign of terror did not end. All voice of freedom was suppressed.

In such an India was born a true son of Bharat Ma in 1907, in Lyallpur, Lahore (Pakistan). Even today he is the hero of entire Indian sub-continent. His parents were Kishan Singh and Vidyavati. His family had been active in Indian Independence movement for a long time. He was very moved by the visit to Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, where General Dyer shot innocent people. Lakhs lost their lives. In 1923 he joined National College, Lahore, where he met Sukhdev and both of them joined Hindustan Republican Association (HRA).

In 1928, the British government set up the Simon Commission to report on the political situation in India. It was opposed in India because there was not a single Indian in the Commission. Lala Lajpat Rai held a march in protest against it. Police attempts to disperse the large crowd resulted in violence. The superintendent of police, James A. Scott, ordered the police to lathi charge against the protesters and personally assaulted Rai, who was injured. Rai died in November 1928.

Bhagat was a prominent member of the Hindustan Republican Association (HRA) and was mainly responsible, for its change of name to Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA) in 1928. The HSRA vowed to avenge Rai's death. Singh conspired with revolutionaries like Rajguru, Sukhdev, and Chandrashekhar Azad to kill Scott. However, in a case of mistaken identity, the plotters shot John P. Saunders, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, as he was leaving the District Police Headquarters in Lahore on 17 December 1928. After killing Saunders, the group escaped to Calcutta with the help of an associate Durga Bhabhi.

Bhagat Singh's plan was to explode a bomb inside the Central Legislative Assembly. The intention was to protest against the Public Safety Bill, and the Trade Dispute Act, which had been rejected by the Assembly but were being enacted by the Viceroy Lord Irwin, using his special powers; the actual intention was for the perpetrators to allow themselves to be arrested so that they could use court appearances as a stage to publicize their cause for freedom. The trial began in the first week of June, following a preliminary hearing in May. On 12 June, both Bhagat Singh and Bhatukeshwar Dutt were sentenced to life imprisonment for: "causing explosions of a nature likely to endanger life, unlawfully and maliciously." After a re-trial of the Saunders Murder case, Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev were sentenced to Death by Hanging.

The entire country except the Congress under Gandhi revolted against the execution. Gandhi was greeted by black flags in Karachi. On 23rd March 1931, the British treacherously hung three young lives. Chandrashekhar Azad was also martyred but their sacrifices did not go in vain as Dawn of Freedom come on 15th August 1947 as Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Sardar Patel and Veer Savarkar followed their ideas.

Shanti Ghosh and Suniti Chaudhary were like any other teenage girls – scared of darkness, and liking to play with their toys, but no one would imagine they would shoot a tyrannical British magistrate Charles Geoffrey Buckland Stevens, for avenging the hanging of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.

Shanti Ghosh was born on 22 November 1916 in Calcutta in British India. She was the daughter of Debendranath Ghosh, who was a nationalist and a professor of philosophy at Victoria College in Comilla now in Bangladesh. Suniti Chowdhury was born on 22 May 1917 in Comilla to Umacharan Choudhury and Surasundari Choudhury.

Ghosh was the founding member of the Chhatri Sangha and served as its secretary. Ghosh was inspired by Profulla Nandini Brahma, a student at Faizunnesa Girls' School in Comilla, and then joined the Jugantar Party, which was a militant revolutionary organization that “used murder as a political technique to dislodge British colonial rule”. She was trained in self-defense. Chowdhury was influenced by the revolutionary activities of Ullaskar Dutta, who also lived in Comilla. She was also recruited to the Jugantar Party by Profulla. During this time, she was known by the codename of ‘Meera Devi’. She was selected as the ‘custodian of firearms’ and was in charge of training female members of the Chhatri Sangha in lathi, and sword and other methods of fighting.

That was the time of the Civil Disobedience Movement in the country. Prafulla, their mentor had supplied them with books mainly the revolutionary books that was banned by the British. They believed, “life is a sacrifice for the Motherland” which were the words of Swami Vivekananda the monk who changed the perception of the West towards India.

Suniti became the Major of the District Volunteer Corps and led the parade of girls when Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was in town to address the student organization. Profulla asked Bose about his thoughts on the role of women in the revolutionary movement. Bose replied, “I’d be happy to see you in the front row.” On being requested by Shanti Ghosh to give his autograph, Subhash Chandra Bose wrote, “to preserve your, honor, take up arms yourselves, ye mothers”. Needless to say these words inspired the girls to fight for their Motherland.

Meanwhile, Chhatri Sangha, the female wing of the organization, affiliated to ‘Yugantar’ was training young girls, and the smartest and bravest of the trainees passed on information, papers, arms, ammunition, and money, to the revolutionaries. However, Prafulla, Shanti Ghosh, and Suniti Choudhury demanded more responsibilities and wanted to be treated equally to men! When some of the senior leaders expressed their doubts about little girls being handled responsibility, Suniti stated, “what good is our current dagger-and-stick play, if we shy away from real action”?. These were emotional outbursts of her young heart.

They stopped going to school, sneaked out to the Maynamati Hills away from the dense town, and fired practice shots.

“The key challenge was not to shoot targets but to manage the back kick of the revolver”. At first Suniti’s index finger did not reach the trigger properly, but she was not ready to give up. She used her long middle finger to fire her lethal shots from a small revolver made in Belgium.

Who was their target? Their target was the District Magistrate Charles Geoffrey Buckland Stevens, “a man who would stop at nothing to destroy the struggle for Independence. He threw all the leaders into prison, and harassed every Indian who raised a voice”. They decided to assassinate him to avenge the brutal hanging of the nation’s heroes – Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev. Stevens was born in December 1880, originally belonged to London and he arrived in India in1914. He joined as District Magistrate and Collector of Tiepera which was the district of Comilla, on 6th March 1930. 

The girls sent an interview slip through the orderly, and the Magistrate came out, along with Sub-divisional Officer (SDO) Nepal Sen. Stevens glanced at the letter passed to him. The girls, with aliases Illa Sen, and Meera Devi appealed to the Magistrate for a swimming club. “The use of a much-flattering ‘your Majesty’ and some otherwise incorrect English left no doubt about their sincerity. Illa also identified herself as being the daughter of a police officer to win over the ‘majesty’s’ sympathy”.

The girl requested Stevens to sign the letter as a reference. He went to his chamber and soon returned with the signed paper. That was his last move before the shots rang through the house. “The notorious magistrate’s last sight was the two girls, now without the silk wrapper, pointing two revolvers straight at his heart”.

The girls were taken into custody and imprisoned in a local British jail. In spite of all the difficulties, Choudhury and Ghosh never lost their calm and cheerfulness throughout their trial days in prison and in court. “They expected to die martyr’s death”. However, when in Ghosh and Choudhury appeared in court in Calcutta, both of them were sentenced to imprisonment for ten years as they were minors. They were not happy with the judgment and they stated, it is better to die than live in a horse’s stable.” Suniti was held captive in Hijli Detention Camp as a ‘third class prisoner’.

Due to Suniti’s actions, her family had to suffer. Her father’s government pension was stopped, and her two elder brothers were held in custody without trial. Her younger brother died from ‘consumption, exacerbated by years of malnutrition. Both the young girls were released in 1939, after having served seven years of her sentence, because of the amnesty negotiations between M.K Gandhi and the British government.

Contemporary Western periodicals characterized the assassination of Stevens as a sign of “Indians’ outrage against an ordinance by the Earl of Wellingdon (Viceroy of India from 1931 to 1936) that suppressed the Civil Rights of Indians, including that of free speech.” Indian sources portrayed the assassination as the “misbehavior of the British district magistrates” who had abused their positions of power to treat Indians fairly. What ever be the comments these teenagers raised their voice against injustice.

What brave girls!. True daughters of Bharat Ma

Sun, 10 Jul 2022 16:59:11 +0530
Iran tightens entry rules amid increasing Covid 19 cases

Tehran, July 10: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has said that passengers can only gain entry to Iran upon submission of negative Covid-19 test results and full compliance with Iranian health protocols, citing the recent increase in infections.

In his address to a meeting of the national anti-coronavirus task force on Saturday, Raisi called for stricter compliance with the health regulations and instructions at all land, air and sea entries to Iran, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the Iranian presidency's website.

He highlighted the necessity of receiving a booster dose of Covid-19 vaccines, noting those with underlying medical conditions should particularly take precautions.

Iran's daily cases on Monday surpassed 1,000 for the first time since April 27, according to the Iranian Health Ministry's website.

Iranian experts warn that two fast-spreading sub-variants of Omicron will become the prevailing strains in the country in the coming weeks.

IANS

Sun, 10 Jul 2022 15:43:45 +0530
It s a double shift for Indian women who choose to opt for career

Savitribai Phule, Mahasweta Devi, Amrita Pritam, Medha Patkar, Kamla Bhasin, and countless others have, since the 19th century, fought for and won equal rights for the Indian women in a variety of areas -- universal suffrage, inheritance and property rights, equal remuneration, prevention of sexual harassment at the workplace, and others.

Pioneering feminists believed that due to these hard-won rights, their daughters and granddaughters would have the opportunity to have rewarding careers, participate in the social and political growth of the country, gain economic independence, and become equal partners in their marriages.

On paper, it would appear that the lot of Indian women in the twenty-first century has vastly improved but, in reality, the demands of capitalism and the persistence of patriarchal attitudes have meant that they continue to lead lives that are hard and unequal, especially when compared to their male counterparts.

The Indian women are among the most overworked in the world -- they spend on average 299 minutes on housework and 134 minutes on care-giving per day, shouldering 82 per cent of domestic duties. They are burdened with work from such a young age that many are forced to drop out of schools, leave the labour force, and give up dreams of financial independence.

For those who have the privilege of choosing to have a career, the only way they can make this viable is by doing a "double shift": women are expected to do most of the housework, childcare, and care-giving, whether they have jobs or not.

While these problems apply to all women across the country, those in India's middle class face an altogether unique challenge because middle-class families have mastered the art of simulating an environment of empowerment in their homes.

"Lies Our Mothers Told Us" (Aleph) dares to ask and evaluate if, in our patriarchal society, the assertion that "women can have it all" comes at too high a price. Taking a unique look into the state of women in India's middle class in the 21st century, the book uses the available data and in-depth interviews to reveal the real lives of Indian women across the country.

Authored by a brilliant award-winning journalist with over 20 years of experience in the field, Nilanjana Bhowmick's book is an epiphanic read for every aspiring Indian woman.

Bhowmick has won three international awards for her reports on gender and development. She began her career as a producer for the BBC Asian Network in Birmingham and The World Today, the flagship current affairs programme of the BBC World Service Radio based in London.

She was the correspondent for TIME magazine's South Asia bureau in New Delhi. She has written for the Washington Post, Al Jazeera, and National Geographic Magazine. Her non-fiction work, poetry, and short stories have appeared in several international anthologies.

IANS

Sun, 10 Jul 2022 15:35:53 +0530
Modi vs Thackeray Who Is India s Hindu Hriday Samrat

"Trail of the Tiger" tracks the personal and political journey of Uddhav Thackeray against the backdrop of the changing narrative of Hindutva, and new connotations to Hindutva sub-national plot, with the rise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a new Hindu Hriday Samrat. It is the story of one of the biggest upheavals in Indian politics where breaking a 30-year-old alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Shiv Sena joined Sonia Gandhi's camp, holding Sharad Pawars finger after the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections)

Uddhav Thackeray's decision to snap ties with the BJP and align with the Congress and the NCP in Maharashtra needs to be understood against the backdrop of the political narrative built by Balasaheb, revered by hardcore Hindu nationalists and Sainiks as the Hindu Hriday Samrat (monarch of the Hindu heart), and the emergence of Narendra Modi.

Balasaheb claimed that the Thackerays had been proponents of Hindutva ever since his father Keshav Thackeray started a movement in 1922. Balasaheb claimed that he was only taking forward his father's push for Hindutva. But Balasaheb coloured his father's reformist Hindutva agenda an even darker saffron after the latter's death in 1973.

The 1987 Vile Parle by-poll was one of the turning points in Hindutva politics. The Shiv Sena decided to contest the seat after the death of the sitting Vile Parle MLA, Hans Bhugra. It fielded the Mumbai mayor, Dr Ramesh Prabhoo, as a 'Shiv Sena independent' candidate because at the time the Sena had not yet been recognised as a political party.

This was the first time Balasaheb fiercely and openly sought votes in the name of religion. In one campaign speech, he said, 'We are fighting this election for the protection of Hinduism. Therefore, we do not care for the votes of the Muslims. This country belongs to Hindus and will remain so.' A banner with the slogan 'Garva se kaho hum Hindu hain' was displayed on the dais. Balasaheb claimed that Hindutva was in danger and Shiv Sena would be its saviour. He appealed to voters to vote for the victory of Hindutva.

'You will find Hindu temples underneath if all the mosques are dug out [up]. Anybody who stands against the Hindus should be shown or worshipped with shoes,' Balasaheb said. He brought Lord Ram into the election arena too, 'We have come with the ideology of Hinduism. Shiv Sena will implement this ideology. Though this country belongs to Hindus, Ram and Krishna are insulted.' The electoral narrative appeared to work -- Shiv Sena won the by-election.

The defeated candidate, Congress leader Prabhakar Kunte, took the matter of the communal speeches to the Bombay High Court which declared Prabhoo's election void as per the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The court named Balasaheb for the commission of corrupt practices under the Act. Prabhoo approached the Supreme Court which upheld the high court's judgment and concluded that Balasaheb's three speeches amounted to corrupt practices under the Act. Since votes were sought in the name of Prabhoo, he too was declared a part of the corrupt practices. The Election Commission stripped Balasaheb of voting rights for six years.

The Supreme Court, in its judgment, said that the offending speeches made by Balasaheb violated and eroded India's secular polity. 'We say this with the fervent hope that our observation has some chastening effect in the future election campaigns,' the court added. The Supreme Court Bench, comprising Justice Jagdish Verma, N P Singh and K Venkataswami, said that it had to record its distress at the communal speeches given by top political leaders. It added that given the likely impact of such speeches, leaders need to be more circumspect in how they address voters during campaigns. But Balasaheb had already set the tone for all hardcore Hindu nationalist leaders to follow. He even questioned the court's judgment.

Balasaheb's Hindutva turned even more ferocious after the 1987 by-polls. Interestingly, the BJP was not with the Sena -- or the Hindutva agenda -- in this election; it had opted to support a Janta Dal candidate who championed secularism. After this election, the Sena fought and won the Aurangabad civic election, again using the Hindutva line. Thackeray led the way for the BJP on Hindutva, noted Prakash Akolkar in his book Jai Maharashtra, which documents Shiv Sena's history.

The BJP was forced to abandon its Gandhian socialism after Balasaheb's strategy won the popular vote. Balasaheb did not just introduce hardcore Hindutva narrative into India's electoral politics but also placed Lord Ram at its centre, as mentioned earlier. During the Vile Parle elections, the Sena objected to how Dr B R Ambedkar spoke of Ram and Krishna in his writings, especially Riddles in Hinduism. The government of Maharashtra was publishing his collated works and the Sena objected to this. For Balasaheb, the Vile Parle election verdict was the victory of Ram and Krishna and a 'licence' for the formation of a 'Hindu Rashtra'. It was God's wish to put this 'licence' in his hands, said Balasaheb, and claimed that the process of building the Hindu Rashtra would begin from Maharashtra before spreading across India.6

Hindutva and nationalism proved to be powerful political tools and the Sena wore its 1987 victory, and the subsequent court reproof, as a badge of honour. According to Uddhav, 1987 gave a specific 'direction' to Indian politics. He claimed that the Sena propelled Hindutva politics long before the BJP. 'That election (1987) showed that India needs the Hindutva ideology and that this ideology can lead to electoral victory. Then the BJP also realised it. Honourable Advanisaheb started the rath yatra,' Uddhav said in an interview in Saamana.

He pointed out that Pramod Mahajan and Gopinath Munde joined the Hindutva bandwagon after this, starting the era of the Sena-BJP alliance. After 1987, Balasaheb talked about hardcore Hindutva without worrying about the political or legal consequences. His popularity soared as the media broadcast his sensational statements to a national audience. He became, for his followers, the 'Hindu Hriday Samrat'.

The year 1992 was a decisive chapter in India's politics. The demolition of the Babri mosque gave BJP a stronger hold on Hindutva. Riots broke out in Mumbai in December 1992 and January 1993, killing about 900 and injuring around 2,036. The Sena's role in the riots was highlighted by the Srikrishna Commission appointed by the Maharashtra government to probe the riots. The panel named Balasaheb in its report.

Saamana was spewing fire and Mumbai was gripped by fear. It was around this time that the BJP leader Sunder Singh Bhandari claimed that the Babri mosque was demolished by the Sena cadre. Sujata Anandan, a reporter with a national wire service, called Balasaheb for a reaction to this statement and reported that he sounded 'flummoxed' when he heard about it. He asked her to call him back for a response and later said, 'Well, if my Shiv Sainiks have brought down the mosque, I can only be proud of them.'

Anandan further claims that Balasaheb knew that no Shiv Sainik was present in Ayodhya during the demolition. However, Bhandari had given away an ace to Balasaheb -- he became the hero of hardcore Hindus, boasting that his men demolished the mosque. This line was repeated often by Uddhav and the rest of the Sena.

(Excerpted from "Trail of The Tiger: Uddhav Baalasaheb Thackeray - A Journey" by Radheshyam Jadhav, with the permission of the publisher, Bloomsbury) -- IANS

Sun, 10 Jul 2022 15:29:33 +0530
Jonathan Cape to publish Salman Rushdie s new novel Victory Street

New Delhi, July 10: Hidden in a clay pot; sealed with wax; buried at the heart of a ruined palace amidst the ashes of an empire -- a story waits to be told.

When nine-year-old Pampa Kampana starts hearing the voice of a goddess, she vows to ensure that no more women suffer her beloved mother's unconscionable fate. Her magic creates a mighty city; her whispered words inspire its people to grow and change. Her poetry maps the rise and fall of its empire. And the prophetess herself -- beloved, feared, timeless -- watches as the world changes across the centuries and her body fades along with her city's glory.

Half a millennium later, her writing is discovered, deep in the ancient earth. This is an epic tale with a message for us all: our power is fleeting, but our stories last forever.

"From one of our greatest storytellers, 'Victory City' is a tale for our times. Brilliantly styled as a translation of an ancient epic, this is a saga of love, adventure, and myth that is in itself a testament to the power of storytelling. And at its heart, a true heroine, Pampa Kampana, who sets out to give women equal agency in a patriarchal world. This is a stunningly beautiful, lyrical and gripping novel about power and the hubris of those in power," said Michal Shavit, Publishing Director at Jonathan Cape who acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Andrew Wylie at The Wylie Agency.

A Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature, Rushdie has received, among other honours, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel (twice), the Writers' Guild Award, the James Tait Black Prize, the European Union's Aristeion Prize for Literature, Author of the Year Prizes in both Britain and Germany, the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Premio Grinzane Cavour in Italy, the Crossword Book Award in India, the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, the London International Writers' Award, the James Joyce award of University College Dublin, the St Louis Literary Prize, the Carl Sandburg Prize of the Chicago Public Library, and a U.S. National Arts Award.

He holds honorary doctorates and fellowships at six European and six American universities, is an Honorary Professor in the Humanities at MIT, and University Distinguished Professor at Emory University. Currently, Rushdie is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.

His novel "Midnight's Children" was adapted for the stage and performed in London and New York by the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 2004, an opera based on "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" was premiered by the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center.

A film of "Midnight's Children", directed by Deepa Mehta, was released in 2012. "The Ground Beneath Her Feet, in which the Orpheus myth winds through a story set in the world of rock music, was turned into a song by U2 with lyrics by Rushdie.

IANS

Sun, 10 Jul 2022 15:22:01 +0530
Rishi Sunak bids to be UK Prime Minister

London, July 10: Indian-origin former Chancellor of the Exchequer in the British government Rishi Sunak on Friday formally launched his bid to become leader of the Conservative Party. If he succeeds, he will automatically become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

He tweeted: "I'm standing to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and your prime minister." He added: "Let's restore trust, rebuild the economy and reunite the country." He also launched a website ready4rishi.com

Sunak posted along with the tweet a three-minute video setting out his intentions. He said: "I got into politics because I want everyone in this country to have those same opportunities, to be able to give their children a better future."

He continued: "Our country faces huge challenges, the most serious for a generation. And the decisions we make today will decide whether the next generation of British people will also have the chance of a better future."

Sunak shot from relative obscurity to fame when the just-ousted Prime Minister Boris Johnson fast-tracked him to the powerful post of Chancellor in 2020. He had been a Member of Parliament for less than five years. He became quite popular within months by providing financial support during the Covid pandemic, including furloughs to employees and soft loans to employers.

But the public liking for him was dented when this year he introduced taxes to reduce the government's heavy borrowings. This was followed by controversy over his wife avoiding paying taxes in Britain and instead doing so at a lower rate in India from her dividends from shares in Infosys, the Bangalore-based software giant founded by her father N.R. Narayana Murthy. Sunak was then accused of retaining his Green Card in the US, where he had studied and worked.

It will not be surprising if his opponents in the upcoming competition cite his wife's matter and the Green Card issue against him.

The son of a medical practitioner is, however, still one of the favourites in the contest, with probably Ben Wallace, the Defence Secretary, the current favourite.

Sunak resigned as chancellor on Tuesday, highlighting ideological and policy differences with Johnson. But also saying in his resignation letter that "the public rightly expects the government to be conducted properly, competently and seriously".

IANS
 

Sun, 10 Jul 2022 15:13:50 +0530
I don t have any idea what Baz ball is Brendon McCullum

Perth, July 10: The phrase 'Baz-ball' has been echoing in world cricket for the past few weeks thanks to the attacking style of play that England have adopted under Brendon McCullum's tutelage.

England have been in fine form this summer, winning all four Test matches they have played. Coach McCullum, nicknamed 'Baz', and captain Ben Stokes have made a formidable partnership in the longest format of the game and under them, the Three Lions have played an attacking brand of cricket, which the English press has labelled as 'Baz-ball'.

However, the former New Zealand captain has no idea what "Baz-ball is".

"I don't have any idea what 'Baz-ball' is. It's not just all crash and burn, if you look at the approach, and that's why I don't really like that silly term that people are throwing out there.

"Because there's actually quite a bit of thought that goes into how the guys manufacture their performances and when they put pressure on bowlers and which bowlers they put pressure on. There's also times where they've absorbed pressure beautifully as well," McCullum told SEN radio.

England recently defeated India by seven wickets in the rescheduled fifth Test at Edgbaston, coming back after conceding the first-innings lead to successfully chase down a record target of 378 in the fourth innings.

IANS

Sun, 10 Jul 2022 15:06:13 +0530
Jersey coach pleased with squad depth ahead of ICC Men s T20 World Cup Qualifier B

Dubai, July 10: Jersey are hoping it is third time lucky when it comes to qualifying for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup and coach Neil Macrae believes his side are well equipped for the challenge which lies ahead in Zimbabwe.

The Channel Islanders have had mixed fortunes of late, winning all their 50-over matches in the recent ICC Men's Cricket World Cup Challenge League B in Uganda before losing four T20Is in succession against Namibia and the USA, who lie in wait in their Group A opener on Monday.

Jersey are without Josh Lawrenson and Anthony Hawkins-Kay for the upcoming ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifier B but spinner Rhys Palmer and 18-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Asa Tribe, who made back-to-back half-centuries against Namibia, are included.

Tribe's brother, Zak, is also part of the squad and coach Macrae is pleased with the depth at his disposal as they attempt to claim one of the two qualification spots available.

"Both Josh and Anthony were brilliant for us out in Uganda and will definitely be missed, but we are so lucky to bring in players like Asa and Rhys," he told the Jersey Evening Post. "Both of them have already impressed in the warm-up games and have settled into the group.

"Morale and team spirit is very high. They are an incredibly close group of players. We are all extremely proud to represent Jersey in any international tournament."
Jersey have twice previously participated in ICC Men's T20 World Cup Qualifiers, finishing second-bottom in their seven-team groups on both occasions - despite winning three of their six matches last time out in 2019.

Following their clash with the USA, Jersey take on host nation Zimbabwe and Singapore in Group A, with the top two advancing to the semi-finals.
And despite the recent defeats against their first opponents, by 50 runs and seven wickets, Macrae identified notable positives - not least the performances with the bat.

Ben Ward scored 60 and Ben Stevens an unbeaten 98 across the two matches, while former Sussex batter Jonty Jenner -- Jersey's highest scorer in the 2019 qualifiers who averages 36.85 over the past year -- is also part of the squad.

"Some of the signs from batters, particularly in the last two games against the USA, have been brilliant," added Macrae, who played two ODIs for Scotland during his playing career and has been in his current role since January 2014.

"Ben Stevens and Ben Ward both put in huge individual performances respectively in separate games, which shows the strength in depth we have in the batting line-up.

"We know along with that we have some great spinners, coupled with pace options and a young, athletic fielding unit - all the elements are starting to come together."

IANS

Sun, 10 Jul 2022 14:58:03 +0530
Biden signs executive order on abortion rights challenging state laws

New York, July 10: US President Joe Biden signed off on an executive order to protect abortion rights throughout the United States to safeguard access to reproductive healthcare services, which targets states that have banned or severely restricted abortion in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision that overturned the landmark Roe vs Wade verdict.


According to the White House, Biden's executive order aims to safeguard access to reproductive healthcare services nationwide, including access to surgical and medication abortion and contraception; protecting patient privacy and access to accurate information; promoting the safety of patients, providers and facilities, and coordinating federal efforts to protect reproductive rights and access to healthcare.

The executive order (EO) also states that the Biden administration will convene private pro bono attorneys, bar associations and public interest organisations to help provide legal representation to patients, providers and third parties "lawfully seeking or offering reproductive health care services throughout the country", according to a statement issued by the White House.

The EO, however, dismissed a proposal by leading Democrats in the Senate and House who urged Biden to permit abortion services on federal land in states where the procedure is banned. The federal government controls about 63 per cent of the land in the state of Utah, which is a well-established Republican stronghold.

Utah's 'trigger law', which bans most abortions, is temporarily on hold after 3rd District Court Judge Andrew Stone issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the Utah law from going into effect for two weeks, according to Desert News from Utah.

A hearing on a request for a preliminary injunction is scheduled on Monday.

The state's memorandum opposes the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah's motion for preliminary injunction released on Friday, teeing up some of the state's arguments against the civil rights complaint, primarily that the Utah Constitution does not expressly protect a right to abortion, nor does it protect an implied right to abortion.

Moreover, the state's response cites criminal statutes outlawing abortion that date back to the 1890s, which were in effect until the Supreme Court's landmark ruling in 1973 that recognized women's constitutional right to abortion, the memo states.

The Utah Legislature's passed SB174 in 2020, which once again made abortion a crime in Utah after the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe in a 5-4 decision and uphold Mississippi's restrictive abortion law in a 6-3 decision.

SB174 bans abortion on demand but permits these exceptions: "If the mother's life is at risk; if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest; or if two maternal-fetal medicine physicians both determine that a fetus "has a defect that is uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal or ... has a severe brain abnormality that is uniformly diagnosable."

Meanwhile. CNN TV Network reported that using federal lands for abortion services would have "dangerous ramifications", quoting White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.

The White House fact-sheet reaffirms the President's earlier statements that "Americans must remain free to travel safely to another state to seek the care they need" and "his commitment to fighting any attack by a state or local official who attempts to interfere with women exercising this right".

Abortion providers in states in which access to abortion services is ensured under their state laws have reported they have been planning for increased numbers of patients from states that have imposed bans, but the waiting period for availing such services is a cause for major concern.

According to The Denver Post, abortion providers in Colorado say they've been inundated with requests for abortion appointments and are also seeing an increase in appointments for birth control strategies such as vasectomies or intrauterine devices.

According to the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services will consider additional federal medical privacy laws "to better protect sensitive information related to reproductive healthcare". Measures are in place to issue a how-to guide for consumers to protect their personal data on mobile apps.

Jacqueline Ayers, the senior vice-president of policy, organising and campaigns at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, responded to the executive order in a statement thus: "We're in a national health care crisis and need officials at every level of government to do everything within their authority to fight for access to abortion. Amid the Supreme Court stripping Americans of their constitutional right to abortion after nearly 50 years, we need an urgent and robust response to ensure people get the essential health care they need."

Biden is currently speaking on the rollback of federal abortion protections, two weeks after the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v Wade, the landmark case that protected abortion rights nationwide as pronounced in 1973 but Supreme Court overturned it in July 2022.

"This was not a decision driven by the constitution. This was not a decision driven by history," said Biden of the Supreme Court overturning the Roe vs Wade verdict.

Discussing the conservative majority in the court, Biden said: "Today's supreme court majority is playing fast and loose with the facts."

Later on in his remarks, Biden called on Americans to use their electoral power to elect senators who would help codify Roe vs Wade, saying that it was the "fastest route" to solidifying federal abortion rights.

"Your votes can make that a reality."

Biden's statement reflects his increasing frustration that his administration faces amid urging people to vote.

"You, the women of America, can determine the outcome of this issue," he said, emphasizing that the courts did not have a "clue about the power of American women." "For God's sake, there's an election in November. Vote, vote, vote," said Biden.

His remarks come on the back of his signing off on an executive order protecting access to abortion and other reproductive healthcare nationwide.

Several Democrats have responded positively to Biden's executive order, calling it a good first step but urging him to do more to protect abortion rights federally, reports Politico.

Bidens EO found its echo in the UK, a predominantly protestant country. Leading British newspaper The Guardian reported that the day Biden signed an executive order safeguarding access to abortions, ironically, Louisiana was able to enforce a near-total ban of abortions in the state under a judge's order issued on Friday.

With abortion access threatened across the country, those seeking out abortion services and other reproductive healthcare options will be forced to travel if their states do not provide it.

The Guardian's staffers Alvin Chang, Andrew Witherspoon and Jessica Glenza explored how the creation of abortion "deserts" throughout the country will change who can access care -- and how far they will be forced to travel.

During the briefing, White house press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre got into a back-and-forth discussion with a reporter on whether or not people can peacefully protest against Supreme court justices, even in settings like restaurants. The question was prompted after Justice Brett Kavanaugh reportedly had to leave a steakhouse when protesters confronted him for voting to overturn the Roe vs wade verdict.

Jean-Pierre replied to a question on if protesters could confront justices at a restaurant they're eating at, saying that the Biden administration is against the intimidation of Supreme Court justices and using violence against them.

Jean-Pierre also cited recent legislation passed to protect the safety of justices. Later on in her response, Jean-Pierre clarified, saying the Biden administration supports the right to peaceful protest, even outside of a restaurant.

IANS

Sun, 10 Jul 2022 14:48:10 +0530
What an idea MP residents throw party on pothole filled road

Bhopal, July 6 : In an effort to draw the attention of the authorities towards the poor condition of roads ridden with potholes, the residents in Anuppur district in Madhya Pradesh have found a unique way of protest.

In a viral video filmed to highlight the poor condition of a road connecting Anuppur with Bijuri Manendragarh, the residents of the area could be seen sitting on chairs on a big crater on the road, dipping their legs in the muddy water that has accumulated after the rains to "chill".

To add to the ambience, they also put up some disco lights with dance music playing in the background along with beach balls to play.

Setting the mood with party music, the residents could be seen having a blast, enjoying drinks and snacks.

The video also shows saplings planted in the smaller potholes around the crater as decoration.

In a similar symbolic protest last year, the residents of Jammu and Kashmir's Budgam district planted paddy on the muddy road leading up to their village in order to highlight the poor condition of the road.

IANS

Fri, 08 Jul 2022 20:35:07 +0530
Peter Brook could actualise what one could only dream about

"I can take any empty space and call it a bare stage. A man walks across the empty space whilst someone else is watching him, and this is all that is needed for an act of theatre to be engaged," wrote Peter Brook famously in his book 'Empty Space'. A book that most theatre directors and actors hold close to their heart.

This book has single handedly played a huge role in shaping attitudes, approaches, concepts, vocabularies and in making the 'invisible visible', cutting across physical boundaries and cultural references.

A lighthouse of profound ideas, he shared with us, a new way of looking at text, space and body. Stripping it of the superficial, the extraneous and getting to the bone of the matter. "He is," said Sir Barry Jackson, the producer for whom Brook first worked, "the youngest earthquake I know." His actors talk about needing an oxygen tent after his rehearsals.

He has been described in various ways, one adjective contradicting the other, but all equally valid. From being called a madman to a genius, an abrasive intellectual to an extraordinary showman, myths circulate around him, crystalised and made epic, by his extraordinary talent and his constant desire for change.

His life is as fascinating as his work. Born in London in 1925, the son of a Russian emigrant chemist, his parents were penniless when they arrived in England, until his father invented Brooklax, a laxative. Due to the success of this pill the family became well-ensconced financially, leaving their penury-ridden existence behind.

Aware of his Russian ancestry, most people refused to accept Brook as a Russian surname, and were convinced that he was hiding his parentage. Many incidents of Brook leaving lucrative job offers due to an argument about his name, becoming a subject of inquiry and distrust, are part of the folklore that followed Brook.

Performing Shakespeare under a circus tent with a trapeze artiste swinging wildly in 'Midsummer Night's Dream' was his much celebrated production, making him the new creative voice in British theatre.

Despite success, accolades and huge grants, he ran away from British Theatre and spent the next five decades of his career in Paris, working on a project that could be termed idiosyncratic. His project, 'Conference of the Birds', compiled in a book, shared experiences of taking his actors from the cocoon of living in Paris to the tumult, heat and dust of traversing a difficult and alien landscape in Africa.

His international group of actors were made to take this journey in an attempt to search for a new language of sound. To figure out if actors from different cultures and backgrounds could transcend the clogged urbanisation of city living and, through encounters and confrontations, bring a richer perception and quality to their lives.

I met Peter Brook in Bhopal at Bharat Bhavan in 1981, when he was touring India to identify actors, forms, images, colours and smells that could be fed into his production, based on the 'Mahabharata'. Through this production, Brook sought to achieve universality and comprehensibility through images and gestures, stating that the 'Mahabharata' did not belong to one country or race but to humanity.

A workshop was organized at Bharat Bhavan, which included an overwhelming list of celebrated directors, local actors, dancers, musicians, and observers. I was supposed to manage the logistics of the workshop and see to Brook's comfort and well-being. What I noticed was a watchful man, with a gnomish appearance, short and stocky, dressed in loose denim, but the energy that flowed was like tiny bomb explosions.

An exercise was given, in which the directors, including Brook, had to choreograph the opening scene from Kalidasa's 'Shakuntalam' -- the first meeting of Dushyanta, the king, and the maiden Shakuntala.

Brook's wife, the brilliant actress Natasha Parry, played Shakuntala without carrying the cultural baggage, memory or references to the character. Escaping the cliched performance templates that existed for characterizing classical characters, Brook made us see through Parry's Shakuntala a fresh avatar of the classical heroine.

Utterly alive, an animated being, a voluptuous spring of sexuality that one may never have associated with the image of Shakuntala, as we knew her from our Sanskrit theatre classes! His chapter on Deadly Theatre was understood practically!

During that visit, I was supposed to buy him a gift as a way of thanking him. But I had read that Peter Brook possesses three shirts, one suit and two pairs of jeans. His home has minimal furniture and no artifacts. A rootless man, actually nomadic is how he has been described. It was truly a dilemma to locate a gift for the spartan Brook!

He made the impossible possible by staging a nine-hour-long performance of the 'Mahabharata' in a stone quarry framed against a forest on the outskirts of Avignon.

Starting at sunset and ending with the sunrise was magical, where the two warring families with their arches taunt and a giant wheel rolling across the stage shows the great battle with cosmic grandeur. A clash of two great dynasties, locked in a mortal fight of ideal heroes representing divine forces arrayed against demonic energies, creating a production of monumental dimension. This was in 1985.

Peter Brook's death is like the end of an era, the loss of a revered figure. A formidable creative giant, a theorist, and definitely an anarchist, who tore into established ways of working by introducing something fresh, novel, and experimental. He believed very deeply in the transformative power of theatre and his legacy will live on.

What one could only dream about was actualized by Brook, not one to be intimidated by the scale and vision of his own inspiration. It was the gift that he bequeathed to the world of theatre. Take risks, jump the cliff, let your vision swirl in a vertiginous precipice!

(Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry-- IANS

Fri, 08 Jul 2022 20:28:47 +0530
2nd Test Day 1 Smith Labuschagne tons put Australia in a strong position against Sri Lanka

Galle, July 8: Centuries from Marnus Labuschagne (104) and Steve Smith (109 not out) put Australia in a strong position on the opening day of the second Test against Sri Lanka, here on Friday.

Australia were 298 for 5 at stumps on Day 1 with Smith and Alex Carey (16) unbeaten at the crease.

Earlier, Australia won the toss, opted to bat first and fielded the same side as the first Test but Sri Lanka were forced to make four changes after a Covid outbreak in their camp. All-rounder Kamindu Mendis and spin duo Prabath Jayasuriya and Maheesh Theekshana made their Test debuts for the hosts.

The hosts got off to a good start with Kasun Rajitha providing them with an early breakthrough when he knocked off David Warner's off stump in the fifth over of the day.

Pairing with Ramesh Mendis and debutant Prabath Jayasuriya, Rajitha kept the Australians in check with his probing line and length. Mendis dismissed Usman Khawaja in the 22nd over just when the second-wicket partnership had started to grow. At 70/2, the match seemed evenly balanced.

However, with no demons in the pitch, it was only a matter of time before the Australia batters took back control of the game. Leading the way was Marnus Labuschagne, who did not take long after the lunch break to bring up a wonderful fifty. He accelerated upon reaching the milestone, racing towards triple figures.

The second session was completely dominated by the visitors and Steve Smith proved to be the perfect partner for Labuschagne's antics. The latter brought up his fourth Test century, his first outside of Australia with a gentle single to mid-wicket.

Niroshan Dickwella, who had missed a stumping chance to dismiss Labuschagne for 28 earlier in the day, made amends when he whipped off the bails of the advancing batter to give Prabath Jayasuriya his maiden Test wicket. Labuschagne departed for 104 (156) with Australia going to tea at 204/3.

However, the wicket did little to dampen Steve Smith's spirits as the veteran batter dropped in anchor. The experienced batter kept Australia in control. Two brief partnerships with Travis Head and Cameron Green followed but with Smith in the picture, Sri Lanka could not wrest back control of the game.

Smith's patience was rewarded when he brought up his 28th Test hundred with a crunching cover drive in the final hour of the day. It was a long wait for the talented player, who last reached triple figures in January 2021.

Despite wickets falling at the other end, Smith and Alex Carey batted with great patience to ensure more wickets don't fall and took Australia to stumps at 298/5. The visitors will be looking at the 400-run mark in the first innings, a total that would take some effort to take down by Sri Lanka.

Brief scores: Australia 298/5 (Steve Smith 109 not out, Marnus Labuschagne 104; Prabath Jayasuriya 3-90) vs Sri Lanka

IANS

Fri, 08 Jul 2022 20:20:59 +0530
Pandemics from Middle Ages Till Now

Anupama Nair

A plague attack (1709-1713)  followed the Great Northern War (1700–1721), between Sweden and the Tsar of Russia and its allies, killing about one hundred thousand in Sweden, and three hundred thousand in Prussia. However, the good news was that this was the last plague in Scandinavia, but the one hundred thousand Russians succumbed to the plague of 1770–1772.

The Great Plague of Marseille (France) was the last major outbreak of bubonic plague in western Europe. In 1720, the disease killed a total of one hundred thousand people. Fifty thousand people were killed in Marseille alone and during the next two years and another fifty thousand in the north. How did it occur? On the fateful day i.e., May 25, 1720, a ship named the Grand Saint-Antoine arrived in the port of Marseille, France, laden with cotton, fine silks, and other goods. The ship carried an invisible cargo the bacteria known as “Yersinia pestis”, and brought about the Great Plague of Provence, the last major outbreak of bubonic plague in Europe.

Then a series of Cholera Pandemics hit the world. The seven cholera pandemics lasted over the next 150 years. The first wave originated in Russia, in 1817, where about one million people died due to infection of the small intestine. Spreading through feces-infected water and food, the British soldiers carried the bacterium to India where million more people died. Where ever the traveled due to the Empire, its navy spread cholera to the rest of the countries like Spain, South Africa, Indonesia, China, Japan, Italy, Germany, and the United States of America, where it killed nearly two million people. A vaccine was created in 1885, but pandemics continued without abating.

The world had just started recovering from the casualties – human lives, property, economy, when a tragedy struck again, this time from another deadly Pandemic. The Spanish Flu, also known as the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, was an unusually deadly caused by the H1N1 (a virus similar to Corona). This virus lasted from February 1918 to April 1920 and infected 500 million people – about one-third of the world's population at the time, in four successive waves. The death toll is estimated to have been somewhere between twenty million and fifty million, while some reports claim one hundred million. Is Covid 19 going on the same path as the US has most Corona casualties followed by India? The infection originated in Kansas (USA) and spread to France, Germany and United Kingdom. In India, the British soldiers carried it, when they came home after the War. The Flu claimed the lives of young people. Some analyses have shown the virus to be particularly deadly because it triggered a cytokine storm, which ravaged the stronger immune system of young adults.

A new strain of influenza virus, called H2N2 was reported in Singapore in 1957 and later spread to China, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Asian Flu is responsible for killing more than one million people across the globe. A second wave, more deadly than the first attacked young children, and pregnant women. Though a vaccine was developed in 1957, it did little to prevent the virus.

This Cholera Pandemic has the record for the longest Pandemic. It started in 1969 and is still continuing till date in different parts of the world. The origin of the Pandemic was Indonesia, which spread to other parts of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. In the later part of the 20th century, it spread to South America and Zimbabwe. Major outbreaks in Haiti and Yemen affected more than half a million people worldwide. Every year around three million people are affected but are no longer so much deadly now.

Smallpox was once considered a deadly disease and plagued the human race for more than two thousand years was diagnosed in 1977 in Somalia. Starting with a twenty-year vaccination program it was finally eradicated from the world. The elimination of disease, that was considered fatal could be eradicated by the US—Russian cooperation during the Cold War. The vaccination helped in controlling diseases such as polio, measles, diphtheria, and whooping cough.

If all these diseases weren’t enough there were more to come. A new disease conquered the world in 1981, called Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV. By the millennium it killed millions in the United States. In 1996, the United Nations established UNAIDS to coordinate global action. By then infection spread to Africa. Today, nearly forty million people suffer from AIDS and nearly 10 million people died globally.

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) a strain of coronavirus caused destruction around the world in 2002--2003. Again, China was the birthplace of SARS too. The symptoms were shortness of breath and coughing. SARS spread all around the world. It affected more than eight thousand people. Like Corona, China tried to suppress the news of the virus. The infection spread to humans due to civet cats. A new influenza virus, a strain of H1N1 called Swine Flu in 2009 again was severe. Swine Flu spread due to infections in pigs. From China, it spread to Mexico and the United States. Nearly five million people lost their lives.

SARS- COV2 (coronavirus) originated in bats in the Middle East. It is transmitted to humans in Wuhan’s (China) open wet meat markets. Gradually the virus spread to the whole world killing millions in its wake, destroying lives and livelihoods, etc. It is surprising to hear that this virus was discovered in 1965 and called B814. Corona or Covid 19 was many times more deadly than the SARS infection of 2002-2003. More than 1.6 billion people were affected and three million lost their lives and the list goes on… The US has nearly thirty-three million cases with around six hundred thousand people deaths, followed by India with twenty-six million cases and three hundred thousand deaths. Others are not far behind. Brazil, France, Turkey, Russia, and the United Kingdom are in the race.

Is it a curse that since 1720, the world has been witnessing such killer pandemics every hundred years? The Great Plague (1720-1723), killed one hundred thousand people worldwide. The Cholera Pandemic (1820-1824) killed millions in Asia. In 1920 after the First World War, the Spanish Flu killed nearly 17 million people. Come circa 2020, Corona Virus has killed nearly 3 million people and the list goes on and on. According to historians, “pandemics like COVID-19 strike with eerie precision, every 100 years: 1720 — Plague; 1820 — Cholera outbreak; 1920 — Spanish flu; 2020 — Chinese coronavirus. What’s happening? There is a theory that every 100 years, a pandemic happens. At first glance, nothing seems strange, but the accuracy with which these events take place is scary.”

Looking at the history of Pandemics occurring from time immemorial, haven’t we learned any lessons? Is not time to ensure that such Pandemics do not wipe away the human race? All we can do is to ensure “prevention is better than cure” and control the coronavirus and other such viruses in the future. We can surely try for the world to be a better place. All countries of the world forgetting wars and enmity need to help each other. India showed the way by distributing free vaccines to eighty countries, following the principle of “vasudaiva kudumbakam” and “loka samastha sukino bhavanthu”. When the second wave was severe in India, many other countries reciprocated by sending vaccines and oxygen. This is the way to go forward.

Unfornutately, waves after waves are attacking the people. Lord save this world.

Fri, 08 Jul 2022 20:15:07 +0530
Pandemics Over The Years A Trip Down Memory Lane

Anupama Nair

It is more than two years now, we’ve been hearing the word Pandemic and a mere ‘virus’, that originated from China is holding the world hostage. The killer Virus Corona affected millions and killed many more. So, I thought let me do research on the Pandemics over the years and how they impacted the world. Before Corona, there are many Pandemics that almost wiped out the entire human population. Fasten your seat belts, I am taking you on time travel, many millenniums ago.

What is a Pandemic? In the kingdom of infectious diseases, a pandemic is a worst-case scenario. When an epidemic spreads beyond a nation’s borders, that’s when the disease officially becomes a pandemic. Intermittent outbreaks of infectious diseases have had profound and lasting effects on societies throughout history. Those events have powerfully shaped the economic, political, and social aspects of human civilization, with their effects often lasting for centuries. Epidemic outbreaks have defined some of the basic tenets of modern medicine, pushing the scientific community to develop principles of epidemiology, prevention, immunization, and antimicrobial treatments.

In a long succession throughout history, pandemic outbreaks have decimated societies, determining outcomes of wars, wiped out entire populations, but also, paradoxically, cleared the way for innovations and advances in science (including medicine and public health), economy, and political systems. Pandemic outbreaks, or plagues in ancient history, as they are often referred to, have been closely examined in the realm of history, including the history of medicine. In the era of the modern world, plague is however not such a killer pandemic as other diseases.

As civilizations spread, so did pandemics, some of which decimated millions of lives. Communicable diseases existed even during the time of “early men” and when men were hunters, but the shift to agrarian life nearly ten thousand years ago created communities that made epidemics more possible. Malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, influenza, and smallpox were major diseases during this period.

The first recorded epidemic was in China the birthplace of Corona too. Around 5000 years ago, an epidemic wiped out a pre-historic village in China. It is said that the bodies of the dead were stuffed inside a house that was later burned down. No age group was spared, as the skeletons of juveniles, young adults and middle-aged were found inside the house. The site is now called "Hamin Mangha" and is one of the best-preserved pre-historic sites in northeastern China. Before the discovery of “Hamin Mangha”, another pre-historic mass burial site was discovered, believed to be of the same period called “Miaozigou”, in northeastern China. These discoveries prove that an epidemic ravaged the entire region. 

Greece was the next venue. In 430 B.C., just before the war between Athens and Sparta began, an epidemic ravaged the people of Athens and lasted for five years. Reports stated around one hundred thousand people lost their lives. The Greek historian Thucydides wrote that "people in good health were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the head, and redness and inflammation in the eyes, the inward parts, such as the throat or tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and fetid breath". There are varied causes for the epidemic, some scientists say typhoid, while others say it was Ebola. Many scholars believed that overcrowding due to the war worsened the epidemic. The spartan army was stronger, thereby forcing the Athenians to take refuge behind a series of fortifications called the "long walls" that protected their city. Despite the epidemic, the war continued till  Athens conceded defeat to Sparta.

Let us now travel to Rome. It was another outbreak that occurred a couple of centuries later that was documented and recorded by contemporary physicians of the time. It was the first recorded Pandemic, which affected many countries. The outbreak was known as the Antonine Plague of 165–180 AD. The Antonine plague occurred in the Roman Empire during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (161–180 A.D.) and the cause is thought to be smallpox.

The disease was brought into the Roman Empire by soldiers returning from Seleucia (now in Turkey), and before it declined, it had impacted Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece, and Italy. Unlike the plague of Athens, which affected a limited area, the Antonine plague spread across the vast territory of the great Roman Empire. Nearly one-third of the population was wiped out, and also annihilated the Roman army. The Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius himself lost his life.

Now let us visit Ethiopia. The Cyprian Plague (250-262 AD) described as “the end of the world”, started in Ethiopia and passed through North Africa, then onto Egypt and Rome. The city dwellers fled to the villages, further spreading the infection. The impact of the disease was felt in the next three centuries and saw recurring outbreaks, including in Britain in 444 AD. At the peak of the disease nearly five thousand deaths were reported in Rome alone.

Egypt is the next place to visit. First appearing in Egypt, the plague called Justinian plague spread through Palestine and the Byzantine Empire, and then throughout the Mediterranean region. The plague changed the course of the Roman Empire. The emperor Justinian's dream to bring the Roman Empire back together was crushed and it caused massive economic problems. Recurrences over the next two centuries eventually killed about fifty million people, which was roughly twenty-six percent of the world population. It is believed to be the first significant appearance of the bubonic plague, which is spread by rats and fleas.

Leprosy, though a killer disease for many centuries, grew into a pandemic in Europe in the Middle Ages, resulting in the building of numerous leprosy-related hospitals to treat a large number of patients. Leprosy was caused due to a slow-developing bacterial disease that causes sores and deformities. Leprosy was believed to be a punishment from God and this belief led to moral judgments and ostracization of victims.

Fri, 08 Jul 2022 20:06:31 +0530
Bermuda Triangle Unsolved Mysteries of all Times

Anupama Nair

The Bermuda Triangle Mystery is one of the unsolved mysteries even today. For more than five centuries, the Atlantic Ocean’s renowned Bermuda Triangle has captured the human imagination with unexplained disappearances of ships, planes, and people. The Bermuda Triangle or Devil's Triangle as it is called is a region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean, where a number of ships and later planes are believed to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. However, some sources dismiss the idea that there is any mystery at all. We can draw an area in the land and put a board asking people to refrain from going there, but it is impossible to do that mid-ocean. It is believed that more than 50 ships and 20 planes have mysteriously disappeared here. What is the mystery? Is it undersea currents, but how can planes disappear in undersea currents? The vicinity of the Bermuda Triangle is amongst the most heavily traveled shipping lanes in the world, with ships frequently crossing through it for ports in the Americas, Europe and the Caribbean islands. Cruise liners and merchant ships regularly sail through the region, and commercial and private aircraft fly over it.

 

Let me tell you about the story of the infamous triangle in the sea. The area, whose boundaries are not universally agreed upon, has a vaguely triangular shape marked by the Atlantic coast of  Florida  (United States), Bermuda, and Puerto Rico. Unexplained circumstances surround some of these accidents that occurred there. Ships and planes have vanished into thin air, from the area in good weather without even radioing any distress messages. But although myriad fanciful theories have been proposed regarding the Bermuda Triangle, none of them prove any mysterious disappearances occur more frequently here than in other well-traveled sections of the ocean. 

 

I am taking you on a journey down memory lane i.e., in 1492, When Christopher Columbus sailed through the area on his first voyage to the New World in search of India, he reported “that a great flame of fire (probably a meteor) crashed into the sea one night and that a strange light appeared in the distance a few weeks later”. He also wrote about “erratic compass readings, perhaps because at that time, an area of the Bermuda Triangle was one of the few places on Earth where true north and the magnetic north were the same. In the 20th century Joshua Slocum, after gaining widespread fame as the first person to sail alone around the world disappeared on a 1909 voyage from Martha’s Vineyard (Cape Cod in the state of Massachusetts, US)  to South America. Though it’s unclear exactly what happened, many sources later attributed his death to the Bermuda Triangle.

There are many reasons attributed to the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. Some researchers speculated that unknown and mysterious forces account for unexplained disappearances, such as extraterrestrials capturing humans for study. They attribute the events to Unidentified Flying Objects or UFOs. Some others, list several theories attributing the losses in the Triangle to anomalous or unexplained forces. Although theories of supernatural causes for these disappearances abound, they are most likely responsible. 

Some scientists do not believe in UFOs, they believe in the influence of the lost continent of Atlantis. They speak of the submerged rock formation known as the Bimini Road in the island of Bimini in the Bahamas, which is in the Triangle. What is Atlantis? Atlantis is an imaginary island mentioned by the famous Greek writer Plato in his works Timaeus and Critias.  The story is about the kingdom of Atlantis and their famous naval power that attacked  Athens the famous kingdom of Greece. Athens repels the Atlantean attack unlike any other nation of the world in those times, supposedly bearing witness to the superiority of Plato's concept of a state. The story ends with Atlantis falling out of favor with the Greek Gods and submerging into the Atlantic Ocean. Followers of the Atlantis theory believe  that evidence of Atlantis would be found in 1968, as referring to the discovery of the Bimini Road. Believers describe the formation as a road, wall, or other structure, but the Bimini Road is of natural origin.

Many scientists believe that vortices suck objects into them and other such fanciful ideas.  Some explanations are more based in science, if not in evidence. These include oceanic flatulence (methane gas erupting from ocean sediments) and disruptions in geomagnetic lines of flux. So maybe we’ve found the truth after all. Some other scientists blame the “rogue waves” which are massive waves that can reach heights of up to 100 feet  and would theoretically be powerful enough to destroy all evidence of a ship or an airplane. The Bermuda Triangle is located in an area of the Atlantic Ocean where storms from multiple directions can converge, making “rogue waves” a reality.

Environmentalists explain many, if not most, of the disappearances. The majority of Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes pass through the Bermuda Triangle, and in the days prior to improved weather forecasting, these dangerous storms claimed many ships. The area can cause violent changes in weather. Additionally, the large number of islands in the Caribbean Sea creates many areas of shallow water that can be treacherous to ship navigation. The U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard contend that there are no supernatural explanations for disasters at sea. Their experience suggests that the combined forces of nature and human fallibility outdo even the most incredulous science fiction.

Let us see some incidents that happened in the Bermuda Triangle. USS Cyclops is an incident that occurred in the US Navy. The Cyclops, carrying a full load of metal ore, went missing without a trace with a crew of 309 in 1918, near the island of Barbados. Although, there is no strong evidence for any single theory, many independent theories exist, some blaming storms, some capsizing, and some suggesting the enemy attack was to blame for the loss. Was it a coincidence that two of Cyclops's sister ships, Proteus and Nereus were subsequently lost in the North Atlantic during Second World War II? In all three cases, structural failure due to overloading with a much denser cargo than designed is considered the most likely cause of the sinking of the ships.

Let us see the incidents that occurred in this millennium. In 2005, A  Piper PA-23 23 disappeared between Treasure Cay Island, near Bahamas and Fort Pierce, in Florida. There were three people on board. In 2007 and nothing is known about them. In 2007,  another Piper disappeared near Berry Island after flying into a level 6 thunderstorm and losing altitude. Two people lost their lives. In 2015, two teenage boys went on a fishing trip and was reported missing. A year later, the US Coastguard found the boat in Bermuda, but the boys are still missing. In 2015, a US Ship, with 33 crew members sank off the coast of the Bahamas within the triangle. What is surprising is, that the wreckage was found 15,000 feet below sea level. There is no news of the missing crew.

In early 2017, Turkish Airlines flight TK183 was forced to change its direction from Havana, Cuba to Washington Dulles airport after some mechanical and electrical problems occurred over the triangle. Thankfully, there were no casualties. In 2017 again a private MU-2B aircraft was at an altitude of 24,000 feet when it vanished from radar and radio contact with air traffic controllers in Miami and the wreckage of the flight was found much later.

The ocean has always been a mysterious place to humans from time immemorial, and when foul weather or poor navigation is involved, even in modern times, it can be a very deadly place. This is true all over the world.  There is no evidence that mysterious disappearances occur with any greater frequency in the Bermuda Triangle alone than in any other, well-traveled area in other oceans.

 

 

Fri, 08 Jul 2022 19:45:21 +0530
Larger than Antarctic ozone hole may up skin cancer cataract risk

Washington, July 8: A huge hole in the Earth's ozone layer, seven times larger than the Antarctic ozone hole, may increase the risk of skin cancers, and cataracts among humans and also affect agricultural productivity and aquatic organisms, warned a Canadian researcher.

The ozone layer is known to absorb most of the sun's ultraviolet radiation (UV).

Qing-Bin Lu, a scientist from the University of Waterloo in Canada's Ontario, revealed a large, all-season ozone hole -- defined as an area of ozone loss larger than 25 per cent compared with the undisturbed atmosphere -- in the lower stratosphere over the tropics comparable in depth to that of the well-known springtime Antarctic hole, but its area is roughly seven times greater.

"The tropics constitute half the planet's surface area and are home to about half the world's population," said Lu.

"The existence of the tropical ozone hole may cause great global concern.

"The depletion of the ozone layer can lead to increased ground-level UV radiation, which can increase risk of skin cancer and cataracts in humans, as well as weaken human immune systems, decrease agricultural productivity, and negatively affect sensitive aquatic organisms and ecosystems," Lu noted, in the paper published in the journal AIP Advances.

According to Lu, the ozone hole is currently sitting over tropical regions and has been since the 1980s.

The observation of the ozone hole comes as a surprise to Lu's peers in the scientific community, since it was not predicted by conventional photochemical models.

As with the polar ozone hole, approximately 80 per cent of the normal ozone value is found to be depleted at the centre of the tropical ozone hole. Preliminary reports show ozone depletion levels over equatorial regions are already endangering large populations and the associated UV radiation reaching these regions is far greater than expected.

Lu said the tropical and polar ozone holes play a major role in cooling and regulating stratospheric temperatures, mirroring the formation of three "temperature holes" in the global stratosphere. He said this finding may prove crucial to better understanding global climate change.

"The present discovery calls for further careful studies of ozone depletion, UV radiation change, increased cancer risks, and other negative effects on health and ecosystems in the tropical regions," said Lu.

IANS

Fri, 08 Jul 2022 18:59:00 +0530
Shinzo Abe assassinated condolences pour in

Tokyo, July 8: Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe passed away on Friday, hours after being shot while addressing an election rally in the city of Nara, according to state media.

According to state broadcaster NHK, the attack took place at around 11.30 a.m. (local time) near the Yamatosaidaiji Station in Nara city while Abe was making a speech during a Liberal Democratic Party candidate's election campaign.

A doctor attending on Abe at the Nara Medical University Hospital said that the leader died at 08:03 GMT, BBC reported.

Abe suffered cardiopulmonary arrest at the scene of the crime and no vital signs were detected when Abe was rushed to the hospital, the doctor said.

"During the four-and-a-half-hour treatment, medics tried to stop the bleeding and carried out a blood transfusion, using more than 100 units of blood, but he bled to death," the doctor said.

Abe sustained two wounds, believed to be bullet injuries, but medics could not find bullets during surgery, the doctor added.

Abe, 67, immediately collapsed after being shot and was seen bleeding before he was taken to hospital.

The suspect, identified as 41-year-old Yamagami Tetsuya, a resident of Nara city, has been arrested.

According to the police, the accused told investigators that he was dissatisfied with the former Prime Minister and intended to kill him.

Sources added that the suspect worked for the Maritime Self Defense Force for three years until around 2005.

Investigative sources told NHK a gun seized at the scene appeared to be handmade.

Japan is slated to hold parliamentary election this Sunday.

Abe's visit was only confirmed late last night, so how the suspect managed to find out about this and carry out the attack remains an open question, said the BBC.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said the attack was a "despicable act that took place during an election period, which is the foundation of democracy", state broadcaster NHK reported.

"It is totally unacceptable. I condemn the act in the strongest possible terms."

Kishida said he is "lost for words", describing Abe as a "personal friend".

Global leaders have expressed shock and grief over Abe's demise.

Expressing grief, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "I am shocked and saddened beyond words at the tragic demise of one of my dearest friends, Shinzo Abe. He was a towering global statesman, an outstanding leader, and a remarkable administrator. He dedicated his life to make Japan and the world a better place."

Prime Minister Modi also commended Abe for his "immense contribution" to elevating New Delhi and Tokyo relations and remembered his last meeting with the former PM.

"As a mark of our deepest respect for former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo, a one day national mourning shall be observed on 9 July 2022," Modi wrote in another tweet.

In a telegram of condolence adressed to Abe's wife Akie Abe and mother Yoko Abe, Russian President Valadimir Putin said, "The hand of a criminal cut short the life of an outstanding statesman who headed the Japanese government for a long time and did a lot to develop good neighborly relations between our countries."

"We maintained regular contacts with Shinzo, in which his excellent personal and professional qualities were fully demonstrated. The bright memory of this wonderful man will forever remain in the hearts of all who knew him," The Moscow Timnes quoted Putin as saying.

Taking to twitter, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he was "deeply shocked by the odious attack" on Abe.

Macron paid tribute to Abe as "a great prime minister" and said "France stands at the side of the Japanese people."

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern said she was "deeply shocked" and extended condolences to Abe's family.

South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol expressed his condolences to Japan, describing the shooting of Abe as an "unforgiveable act of crime"

Former UK PM Boris Johnson tweeted, "Incredibly sad news about Shinzo Abe. His global leadership through unchartered times will be remembered by many. My thoughts are with his family, friends and the Japanese people. The UK stands with you at this dark and sad time."

Abe became Japan's longest-serving Prime Minister after serving from 2006 to 2007 and again from 2012 to 2020.

He stepped down in 2020 citing health reasons.

He later revealed that he had suffered a relapse of ulcerative colitis, an intestinal disease, the BBC reported.

He was succeeded by his close party ally Yoshihide Suga, who was later replaced by Fumio Kishida.

IANS

 

Fri, 08 Jul 2022 18:52:26 +0530
Draupadi Murmu arrives in Lucknow to a warm welcome

Lucknow, July 8: Draupadi Mumru, the presidential candidate of National Democratic Alliance (NDA), arrived in Lucknow on Friday evening to a warm welcome, officials said.

Mumru was welcomed by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Deputy Chief Ministers Keshav Maurya, Brajesh Pathak and other senior ministers at the airport where the BJP workers played 'dhol' to mark her arrival.

Apna Dal minister Ashish Patel and Nishad Party minister Sanjay Nishad were also present at the airport to welcome the NDA presidential candidate.

Later on Friday, Mumru is scheduled to meet the MPs and the MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies at Lok Bhawan and seek their votes for the upcoming Presidential election on July 18.

Leaders of all constituents of NDA would accompany Murmu to Lok Bhawan.

The BJP, according to sources, is now hopeful of getting some opposition votes after the increasing division in opposition ranks.

On Thursday, when the joint opposition Presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha visited Lucknow and met opposition MLAs and MPs, some key leaders of the Samajwadi-led alliance were missing.

These include Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party leader Om Prakash Rajbhar along with his MLAs, Shivpal Yadav and some other Samajwadi Party MLAs.

IANS

 

Fri, 08 Jul 2022 18:44:38 +0530
Urgent need to refill gaps in Indian healthcare post Covid Report The over two years of Covid 19 pa

New Delhi, July 8 : The over two years of Covid-19 pandemic laid bare the already failing health systems of India and people continue to suffer. With the country now facing recurring infections post-Covid, there is an urgent need to refill gaps in the healthcare systems, suggests a report on Friday.

The 'Health Systems Resilience Index (HSRI)' report by global think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF) offers insights into the state of the country's health systems at a disaggregated sub-national level, and the parameters that need to be addressed in the short term.

"There is no better time than now to invest in health systems. Today, as the world sees a likely future of recurring infections, state leaders will need to prioritise the building of knowledge systems and investment in human capital and critical infrastructure, and to put into place robust evaluative mechanisms. This will need an across-the-board consensus for action," Dr Samir Saran, President, ORF, wrote in the report.

India's healthcare delivery system has historically suffered from ad-hoc regulation, poor monitoring, and modest budgetary allocations.

The report highlighted how during the pandemic some states and Union Territories (UTs) succeeded more than others in streamlining the resources rapidly to fight Covid.

"The key was aligning their health systems with the needs of the population," Saran said.

IANS



The report showed that in the domain of institutional support to the health sector, Meghalaya did exceedingly well, and Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and even small states like Tripura, Goa, and Mizoram did relatively well. Jammu & Kashmir leads among the UTs.

In terms of managing Covid-related health outcomes, Himachal Pradesh, among the large states, and small states like Goa and Tripura did better than others. Among UTs, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands showed noteworthy results, even outperforming all states.

Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh (among the larger states) and Goa (among the small states) have the best records in their general health profile, and among the UTs, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu are the leaders.

In medical infrastructure, smaller states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Mizoram have the best population-level services as do larger states like Kerala and Maharashtra. Among UTs, Lakshadweep is the most equipped.

Goa, among the small states and Tamil Nadu and Kerala, among the large states fulfil the most number of criteria for technology infrastructure. Delhi leads among the UTs.

The report calls for better data infrastructures to drive policy, and an aggressive push towards Universal Health Coverage to "fill the yawning gaps in the country's health systems".

It showed that only the states and UTs with higher per-capita income levels are significantly more resilient to combat a potential new wave of the pandemic or any other health crisis of similar magnitude, than the poorer regions.

Calling the Covid immunisation drive a "remarkable" achievement, the report advises the policy makers to "learn from the past three waves and ramp up investments in health and develop sound strategies for expected future waves".

"As unprecedented as the Covid-19 crisis has been, it will not be the last. We are required to strengthen our health systems and make them harmonious, equitable, and sustainable. It would do us well to start doing this now," Saran said.

Fri, 08 Jul 2022 18:35:44 +0530
An enlightening guide to the desserts of India through the centuries

Religion might well be the opiate of the masses in India, but maybe the plethora of desserts offered in the name of religion have a role to play in it, says chef, columnist and food writer Rajyasree Sen, adding that in today's political climate, there are few moments as satisfying as Hindus craving for some creamy sheer korma during Eid, or Punjabis asking their Bengali friends for mishti doi.

And the fact that Muslim cooks bake the Christmas cake in Calcutta ("no, I will not refer to it as Kolkata") for a largely Hindu clientele to celebrate a Christian festival proves that when it comes to desserts and mithai -- and maybe conveniently -- the barriers drop away; one of the biggest reasons to celebrate the sweets of India, she maintains.

"I've been writing on food for a while now, almost 15 years I'd say. And it all started with me opening my Bengali and Anglo-Indian restaurant, Brown Sahib in New Delhi in 2007 (it shut down a decade ago). The thought behind the restaurant was to serve authentic Calcutta cuisine and to replicate some of the dishes I had grown up eating at home - keema chops, stuffed crabs, smoked hilsa, prawn malai curry. I have a background in journalism and with my interest in cooking, ingredients and in the history of foods and flavours, it was only natural that I'd be writing on food," Sen told IANS in an interview of her book, "The Sweet Kitchen - Tales & Recipes of India's Favourite Desserts" (Aleph).

She was the Wall Street Journal India's food columnist for years, and has written columns on food for a variety of publications and also scripted many food shows for Fox, Nat Geo and Discovery. Thus, when approached to write on the history and cultural influences on Indian sweets - a topic which surprisingly hasn't been written about in detail in any one book - the outcome presents readers with some interesting anecdotes, historical facts and tid-bits about sweets in India, and introduces them to some sweets which they might not be familiar with.

Considerable research went into the book.

"As I mentioned, for a country which loves sweets as much as India does - and has a plethora of sweets unique to different communities and regions, it was quite surprising that there was no one definitive book, even academic, on sweets in India. I've referred to old texts, books, articles, recipes and spoken to people to discover and confirm much of what you will discover in the book," Sen explained.

As a result of her extensive research, Sen discovered historical facts she was not aware of or had even considered. For instance, which desserts must we thank the Persians, the Mughals, the Portuguese, and the French for? While she knew that a sweet had been created for Lady Canning in Bengal, she had no idea which Mughal emperor to thank for bringing halwa to India, or the Sikh connection to the creation of kaju barfi. She has also tried to demystify the very controversial question of whether Bengal made the rosogolla first, or if the credit goes to Odisha. She also discovered that daulat ki chaat, an airy, churned milk dessert available only during the cold winter of North India, has a Mughal origin.

Beginning with 'Sandesh: Muse of the Bengal Renaissaince', Sen takes the reader through 13 chapters to discover 'Rosogolla: Who Stole My Cheese', 'The Christmas Cake: Cultural Chameleon', 'Payasam, Payesh, Kheer: The Three Avatars of Sweet Pudding', 'Halwa: The Arab Who Strayed onto the Indian Palate', 'Barfi: When Art Outdoes Nature', 'Gulab Jamun: Everybody's Celebration Sweetmeat', 'Jalebi: Sweet Lord of the Rings', 'Daulat Ki Chaat: The Lingering Taste of Old Delhi', 'Misthi Doi, Shrikhand, Bhapa Doi: Haute Culture Curd', 'Goan Sweets: Gems from an Indigenous Pastelaria', 'Firinghee Sweets: Delicious Relics of the Raj', and 'In God's Name: Sweetmeats and Culutral Congeniality'.

Each of these chapters contains a short introduction of the sweet, details of the ingredients, the method of making, the preparation time and the number of people it serves.

Sen also discovered that sweets are not strictly vegetarian -- they can also be made with meat and eggs.

"For example, there are some non-vegetarian variants of halwa such as gosht halwa and ande ka halwa which are worth mentioning," she said.

"Giving a whole new meaning to the word 'sweet meat', the gosht halwa is a translucent, succulent dessert soaked in ghee and cooked with tender lamb mince. The recipe is referred to in old Persian recipe books, and khansamas who worked in Old Delhi homes have recreated the dish from memory, turning out a delightful dessert prepared by cooking meat for hours by stirring it with milk and sugar till it amalgamates into a thick halwa which is then flavoured with saffron and cardamom. This preparation is supposed to have originated in Rampur, Uttar Pradesh.

"Ande ka halwa, or egg halwa, is made by cracking eggs into a pan with ghee, milk, sugar, and dried fruits. The mixture is cooked until a thick custard forms, which is then sprinkled with saffron. Most Indian halwas, however, use grains, such as the suji halwa and atta halwa," Sen explained.

She earnestly hopes the book will serve the purpose of breaking down barriers. "Like all good meals are supposed to do, this book should bring people to the same table and help create an understanding and appreciation of other communities and peoples. After all, if we love their foods, we can surely extend some affection towards them as well," she elaborated.

What next? What will her next book be on?

"Who knows, maybe I'll write a historical espionage! I'd love to write a book on Bengali cuisine with recipes. Let's see, time will tell," Sen concluded.

Vishnu Makhijani -- IANS

Fri, 08 Jul 2022 18:31:22 +0530
Anurag Thakur reviews India s preparedness for CWG 2022 says momentum of training competition enha

New Delhi, July 7: Sports minister Anurag Thakur reviewed India's preparation for the Commonwealth Games 2022 at a Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) meeting on Thursday. A total of 215 athletes will be representing India at the upcoming CWG.

Present at the MOC meeting were former long jumper Anju Bobby George, former hockey player Viren Rasquinha, former Table Tennis player Monalisa Baruah, former Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and former Badminton player Trupti Murgunde.

"The preparation of the athletes is going on in full swing. I am happy that the momentum of training and competition has been enhanced post Olympics and we can hope for continued success post Olympic and Paralympic," Thakur said while reviewing the preparations.

During the review various aspects of India's preparation came to the fore. Post the Tokyo 2020 Olympics the athletes have gone back to full-fledged training including training at national camps and multiple international exposures in training and competition. As of now, the Government of India has helped facilitate 111 exposure trips in disciplines that India will compete in Birmingham 2022.

The National Sports Federations (NSFs) are also working in tandem to organise national camps.

Several elite athletes have been training abroad post-Olympics at government cost, as per their training plan. Since return to training after Olympic Games, Javelin Thrower Neeraj Chopra has been based in Chula Vista (US), Antalya (Turkey) and Finland, Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu spent time in St Louis (US), training with specialist coach Dr Aaron Horschig, Steeplechaser Avinash Sable has been based in Colorado Springs (US) with coach Scott Simons since April 2022 and Cycling team has been based in Slovenia and Portugal for three months. Recently, exposure trips in Portugal and Republic of Ireland for the Table Tennis and Boxing contingents have also been sanctioned ahead of the CWG 2022.

IANS

Thu, 07 Jul 2022 20:43:51 +0530
Inventions and Discoveries Over the Years and How They Impacted Human Lives

ANUPAMA NAIR

The development of electricity as a source of power preceded the conjunction with steam power late in the 19th century. The pioneering work had been done by an international collection of scientists including Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania (US),  Alessandre Volta of the University of Pavia (Italy), and Michael Faraday (Great Britain). Both the generators and motors underwent substantial development in the 19th century. In particular, French, German, Belgian, and Swiss engineers evolved the most satisfactory forms of armature (the coil of wire) and produced the dynamo, which made the large-scale generation of electricity commercially feasible

In the United States Thomas Edison applied his inventive brain in discovering fresh uses for electricity, and his development of the carbon-filament lamp showed how this form of energy could rival gas as a domestic illuminant. The, subsequent spread of this form of energy is one of the most remarkable technological success stories of the modern times, but most of the basic techniques of generation, distribution, and utilization had been mastered nearly two centuries before. Can you imagine a life without electricity?

The first photograph was taken in 1826 or 1827 by the French physicist J.N. Niepce using a pewter plate coated with a form of bitumen that hardened on exposure. His partners used silver compounds to give light sensitivity, and the technique developed rapidly in the middle decades of the century. By the 1890s George Eastman of the United States started manufacturing cameras and celluloid photographic film for the popular market, and that was the first experiment with cinema, and were beginning to attract attention.

 

The electric telegraph, was made into a practical proposition for use on developing the British railway system by two inventors, Sir William Cooke and Sir Charles Wheatstone, who worked together and took out a joint patent in 1837. Almost at the same time, an American scientist, Samuel Morse devised the signaling code that was subsequently adopted all over the world. The telegraph system also played an important part in the opening up of the American West by providing rapid aid in the maintenance of law and order.

Alexander Graham Bell, best known for his invention of the telephone, revolutionized communication. His interest in sound technology was deep-rooted and personal, as both his wife and mother were deaf. While there’s some controversy over whether Bell was the true pioneer of the telephone, he started the Bell Telephone Company in 1877. He was born in Scotland, later migrated to Canada and finally settled down in the United States. In 1871, Bell started working on the harmonic telegraph — a device that allowed multiple messages to be transmitted over a wire at the same time. By 1875, Bell, with the help of his partner Thomas Watson, had come up with a simple receiver that could turn electricity into sound. Scientists, like Antonio Meucci and Elisha Gray, were working on similar technologies, and there’s confusion over who should be credited with the invention of the telephone. It’s said that Bell raced to the patent office to be the first to secure the rights to the discovery. After getting his telephone patent, he made the inaugural telephone call to Watson, and said, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.” He even refused to have a telephone in his study, fearing it would distract him from his scientific work.

 

The dream of human flight must have begun with observation of birds flying through the sky. In our great epic Ramayana, Ravana the demon king had a flying chariot called “Pushpak Viman” where the Sanskrit word means flying object. In other holy scriptures like the Bible, we read about the flying angels. The story of the invention of the airplane begins in the16th to 18th centuries, with the first research into aerodynamics—the study of the forces operating on a solid body (for instance, a wing when it is immersed in a stream of air). For a millennia, however, progress was retarded by attempts to design aircraft that emulated the beating of a bird’s wings. The Wright brothers – Orville and Wilbur were the two American aviation pioneers who invented, build, and flew the world's first successful motor-operated airplane in 1905. They were also the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered-flights possible. In 1914, the world's first scheduled passenger airline service took off, operating between St. Petersburg and Tampa in Florida (USA).

 

The dream of seeing distant places is as old as the human thoughts. Priests in ancient Greece, studied the inside of birds, trying to see in them what the birds had seen when they flew over the horizon. They believed that their gods, on Mount Olympus were gifted with the ability to watch human activity all over the world. The opening scene of  William Shakespeare’s play Henry IV, Part 1 presented the character Rumour, upon whom the other characters rely for news of what is happening in the far corners of England.

 

Television (TV), is the electronic delivery of moving images and sound from a source to a receiver By extending the senses of vision and hearing beyond the limits of physical distance, television has had a considerable influence on society.  The TV as we know was eventually used by John Logie Baird   and Charles Francis Jenkins in 1925. to build the world’s first successful televisions.

 

Charles Babbage, an English mathematician and inventor is credited with having conceived the first automatic digital computer. The idea of mechanically calculating mathematical tables first came to Babbage in 1812 or 1813. Later he made a small calculator that could perform certain mathematical computations to eight decimals. During the mid-1830s Babbage developed plans for the Analytical Engine, the forerunner of the modern digital computer. In that device he planned the capability of performing any arithmetical operation on the basis of instructions received from punched cards, a memory unit to store numbers, sequential control, and most of the other basic elements of the present-day computer. 

 

The desire to travel to moon was a dream of the modern man. Let us see, how it was achieved. In the middle part of the 20th century, space ships were made by both America and Russia. Lyka, a stray dog from Moscow was the first living being to travel to space in a space ship called Sputnik II in 1957. But unfortunately, she died in space. Then it was the turn of man in space. Yuri Gagarin was a Russian pilot, who became the first man to travel in space, achieving a major milestone in the history of space travel. His space ship Vostok I, completed one orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity and was awarded many medals and titles, including “the Hero of Soviet Union”, his nation's highest honor.

 

1969 was again a special year in Space journey. Apollo II was the space ship that first traveled with humans to the moon – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, and was truly a historic moment. Finally, the dream of man to travel to the moon was fulfilled. Armstrong became the first person to step onto the lunar surface and it was truly ““That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” as Armstrong said.

Thu, 07 Jul 2022 20:37:19 +0530
Inventions and Discoveries in the ancient world

 

Anupama Nair

What is the difference between humans and animals? The answer is simple – the power of thinking. If we didn’t we would have been still like early men and lived in caves still. There would have been no inventions and our lives would have been different. I am going to talk about inventions that changed human lives and made our lives simpler and easy to live

The first major discovery was fire. When humans, first used fire, is still not definitively known, but, like the first tools, it was probably invented by an ancestor of Homo Sapiens (man) as the evidence of burnt material can be found in caves used by Homo Eructus (meaning "upright man") around one million or maybe even one and half million years ago. However, the invention of fire helped men to stop eating raw food and instead, cook it and also keep warm during cold days and nights.

This is a matter of great pride to us Indians. According to historians, the Indus Valley Civilization had revealed the evidence of dentistry being practiced as far back as 7000 BC. One site in Mehrgarh (modern day Pakistan) even showed evidence of healers curing tooth disorders with bow drills. Incredible isn’t it. Another feature of the Indus Valley Civilization was water-flushed toilets. Both in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, almost every home had a flush toilet, connected to a sophisticated sewage system. Areas of the Indus Valley Civilization in both now-Pakistan and Western India have had rulers (scales) of ivory uncovered from ruins. One such specimen was even calibrated to 1/16 of an inch—less than 2 millimeters. These kinds of rulers were clearly very prominent, as even bricks of the valley’s buildings were found to follow the same measurements. The earliest existence of weighing scales also dates back to the Indus valley civilization, where balances were used to compare measure and compare goods in trade.

The Indian subcontinent was the birth place of Ayurveda and Yoga, around 5000 BC. The therapies generally include complex herbal compounds, minerals and metal substances. Indian physicians were known to practice a different kind of cataract surgery than that was known to the Greeks. It was performed with a tool called the Jabamukhi Salaka, a curved needle used to loosen the lens and push the cataract out of the field of vision. Greek scientists of the time travelled to India to see these surgeries, and the technique was even introduced into China from India.

The wheel is often quoted as the single most important advance in early technology. It is sometimes said to have evolved from the potter’s wheel. Both are first known at approximately the same period, around 3000 BC. But geographical origin of the invention is still not known.
In early technology a wagon wheel can only be made from wood. Several of the earliest known wheels have been found in the heavily forested regions of Europe.

Around 3000 BC, the ancient Egyptians had developed a technique for making paper from the pith of the papyrus plant, commonly seen along the bank of the Nile. Long strips were woven together and weighted down to bind them into a strong, thin sheet. The Egyptians also invented pens made of cut reeds, which were strong enough to write on the papyrus, and mixed soot or other organic material with beeswax and vegetable gum to make ink.

The world’s first university was established in Takshashila in 700 BC. It is estimated that more than ten thousand students from all over world studied more than sixty subjects. The University of Nalanda was built in the 400 BC. The Chinese scholar Hiuen Tsang studied in Nalanda and his writings tell us about the greatness of the University. Unfortunately, the University was burnt by Bakhtiyar Khilji. What a great loss to the world

The word “democracy” comes from the Greek term demokratia, literally meaning “rule by the people.” The word and the concept was introduced in 507 BC by Cleisthenes, ruler of the Greek city-state of Athens. This form of popular government consisted of three separate institutions: the ‘ekklesia’, or Assembly, which wrote laws and dictated foreign policy; the ‘boule’, a council of representatives chosen from the different Athenian tribes; and the ‘dikasteria’, a popular court system. The United States (1776) is the world’s oldest democracy.

Written evidence of martial arts in Southern India dates back to 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD. Kalarippayattu was Indian martial arts system developed in ancient Kerala. It is still very popular. For all its importance, it may surprise you to learn that zero is a relatively recent concept in human history, though it still has its roots in ancient times. The more complete vision of zero didn’t emerge until the 7th century in India, when the Hindu astronomer Brahmagupta wrote rules for using zero in mathematical operations and equations, introducing the concept that zero could be seen as a number of its own.

We Indians need to be proud of our culture and if you read most of the ancient inventions originated in India. In the next part I will talk about in the Middle Ages, and the Modern World

Thu, 07 Jul 2022 20:33:46 +0530
SC agrees to examine Zubair s plea seeking bail quashing of UP FIR Lead

New Delhi, July 7: Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair on Thursday moved the Supreme Court challenging the Allahabad High Court's refusal to quash FIR registered against him for allegedly calling Hindu seers "hatemongers" and the top court agreed to list the matter on Friday.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing Zubair, mentioned the matter before a vacation bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and J.K. Maheshwari and sought urgent hearing on the plea.

Gonsalves said that a look at the FIR shows that there is no crime and there are death threats against his client. He added that they went to the Allahabad High Court, but no relief was granted and the court said it was premature.

"Bail is sought on emergency. There are death threats on the Internet. If possible, list today at 2 pm...," said Gonsalves.

The bench agreed to list the matter and posted it for Friday.

The top court, in its order, said: "It is mentioned that there is urgency in the matter. Let the matter be listed on 08.07.2022 before the appropriate Bench subject to assignment."

In June, a case was registered against Zubair at the Khairabad police station on a complaint lodged by Hindu Lion Army district president Bhagwan Sharan. The case was registered under IPC section 295A (deliberate and malicious act intended to outrage religious feelings) and section 67 of the IT Act. On June 27, Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through one of his tweets. Zubair moved the top court against the Allahabad High Court order.

The plea contended that there is a new strategy afoot of the police in communal crime cases, which is to register FIRs against those engaging in hate speech and communal crimes, and also rope in all secular elements monitoring such crimes and protesting police inaction against the wrongdoers. The plea sought a stay of the investigation on the Sitapur FIR and also a direction to the UP government not to proceed, prosecute or arrest him.

On July 2, a Delhi court rejected the bail plea of Zubair in connection with an 'objectionable tweet' allegedly posted against a Hindu deity and granted his 14-day custody as sought by the Delhi Police. He will be next produced before the court on July 16.

The Delhi High Court had earlier issued a notice to the Delhi Police on a plea moved by Zubair challenging the Patiala House Courts order allowing his police custody and seizure of his laptop in connection with the alleged objectionable tweet.

IANS

Thu, 07 Jul 2022 20:27:11 +0530
Dhoni turns 41 Anand honi turns 41 Anand Mahindra extends birthday wishes to former India captain

New Delhi, July 7: Business tycoon Anand Mahindra on Thursday wished former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on his birthday. The legendary cricketer is celebrating his 41st birthday with family and friends in the UK and wishes for the former skipper, fondly known as 'Captain Cool', are pouring over social media platforms. Fans have flooded Twitter with sweet wishes. Anand Mahindra also took to Twitter to share a special message for Thala.

"Many Happy Returns of the Day, MS. This is one time I don't want you to get anywhere near a century! #MSDhoni," Anand Mahindra wrote. Anand Mahindra often talks about the performance of the players on social media. His company also honors athletes, who have won medals for the country in international tournaments. Anand Mahindra has always been an ardent admirer of Dhoni's leadership skills. Mahi remains the only captain in history to have won all three major ICC trophies including the ODI World Cup, and the T20 World Cup, and the Champions Trophy. Besides that, he has also led Chennai Super Kings to four IPL titles as well.

Earlier in the day, Dhoni's wife Sakshi shared a video of MSD cutting a cake to ring in his birthday.

IANS

 

Thu, 07 Jul 2022 20:20:40 +0530
Muslim mother cannot be a guardian of minor children rules Kerala HC

Kochi, July 7:  A division bench of the Kerala High Court has observed that it cannot hold a Muslim woman can be guardian of her minor child's property since it is bound by the precedents of the Supreme Court.

The division bench of Justices P.B. Suresh Kumar and C.S. Sudha observed that even though the personal law which prevents Muslim women from being guardians can be argued to be violative of Articles 14 and 15 and hence void, they cannot go into the same since it is bound by the precedents set by the apex court.

The court observed this while hearing a petition filed by C. Abdul Aziz from Kozhikode and a dozen others over a partition deed in which a Muslim mother acted as a legal guardian of her son's property.

Relying on the 'Shayara Bano's case, in which it was held that the practices of the Muslim personal law-Shariat cannot be required to satisfy the provisions contained in Part-III - Fundamental Rights of the Constitution applicable to State actions, in terms of Article 13 of the Constitution.

"That being the position, as the Shariat Act has been held to be not a State legislation, it cannot be tested on the anvil of Articles 14 or Article 15 of the Constitution as argued on behalf of the appellants," the Court held in its judgment.

The court further pointed out that since there are numerous decisions from the apex court, which holds that a Muslim mother cannot be a guardian of her minor children, the High Court is bound to follow the law declared by the apex court as provided under Article 141 of the Constitution.

The court admitted that if succession and like matters of secular character has nothing to do with religion, the same would be the position with the case of guardianship also.
IANS

Thu, 07 Jul 2022 19:01:10 +0530
Raj Babbar gets 2 year jail in a 1996 case

Lucknow, July 7:  An MP/MLA court in Lucknow has awarded a two-year jail sentence to former MP Raj Babbar in a case related to 1996. The court has also imposed a fine of Rs 8,500 on the actor turned politician. The former MP was present in court when the sentence was announced. The Congress leader has been found guilty of interfering in government duties and physical assault. Babbar was found guilty of roughing up a government officer during the 1996 Lok Sabha elections.

Babbar was then in the Samajwadi Party and was contesting the elections from Lucknow. The incident had taken place on May 2, 1996.

IANS

Thu, 07 Jul 2022 18:55:37 +0530
Boris Johnson to quit as Conservative leader but will remain PM Ld

London, July 7: Following a series of mass resignations by Cabinet members, Boris Johnson will resign as leader of the UK's Conservative Party on Thursday, but will continue as Prime Minister until later this year. Regarding the resignation, "the Prime Minister will make a statement to the country today", the BBC quoted a Downing Street spokesperson as saying. He had vowed to "keep going" following a wave of resignations from the government over his leadership but has now decided to step down. A Conservative leadership race will take place soon and a new Prime Minister will be in place in time for the Conservative Party conference in October.
Earlier on Thursday, Caroline Johnson resigned as vice-chair of the Conservative Party, as well as Nadhim Zahawi and Michelle Donelan, who were only appointed as the Chancellor and Education Secretary respectively on Tuesday, have also quit.

In his resignation letter, Zahawi, who was given the job less than 48 hours ago, said he had "made clear to the Prime Minister" that he should "leave with dignity", the BBC reported. In her resignation letter, Donelan said that "I see no way that you (Johnson) continue in post, but without a formal mechanism to remove you it seems that the only way this is only possible, is for those of us who remain in cabinet to force your hand". The Ministers Helen Whately, Damian Hinds, George Freeman, Guy Opperman, Chris Philp, and James Cartlidge have also stepped down. Two of the biggest resignations on Tuesday were that of Indian-origin Rishi Sunak from the post of Chancellor and Pakistani-origin Sajid Javid as the Secretary of State for Health.

Sunak did not directly accuse the Prime Minister of impropriety in his letter of resignation but instead highlighted ideological and policy differences, which sounded like him advocating fiscal prudence versus Johnson wanting to borrow and spend. Javid said he can no longer serve in Johnson's government in "good conscience" as he has "lost confidence" in the Prime Minister.

IANS

Thu, 07 Jul 2022 17:16:48 +0530
Modi vs Thackeray Who Is India s Hindu Hriday Samrat Book Excerpt

"Trail of the Tiger" tracks the personal and political journey of Uddhav Thackeray against the backdrop of the changing narrative of Hindutva, and new connotations to Hindutvas sub-national plot, with the rise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a new Hindu Hriday Samrat. It is the story of one of the biggest upheavals in Indian politics where breaking a 30-year-old alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Shiv Sena joined Sonia Gandhis camp, holding Sharad Pawars finger after the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly elections)

Uddhav Thackeray's decision to snap ties with the BJP and align with the Congress and the NCP in Maharashtra needs to be understood against the backdrop of the political narrative built by Balasaheb, revered by hardcore Hindu nationalists and Sainiks as the Hindu Hriday Samrat (monarch of the Hindu heart), and the emergence of Narendra Modi.

Balasaheb claimed that the Thackerays had been proponents of Hindutva ever since his father Keshav Thackeray started a movement in 1922. Balasaheb claimed that he was only taking forward his father's push for Hindutva. But Balasaheb coloured his father's reformist Hindutva agenda an even darker saffron after the latter's death in 1973.

The 1987 Vile Parle by-poll was one of the turning points in Hindutva politics. The Shiv Sena decided to contest the seat after the death of the sitting Vile Parle MLA, Hans Bhugra. It fielded the Mumbai mayor, Dr Ramesh Prabhoo, as a 'Shiv Sena independent' candidate because at the time the Sena had not yet been recognised as a political party.

This was the first time Balasaheb fiercely and openly sought votes in the name of religion. In one campaign speech, he said, 'We are fighting this election for the protection of Hinduism. Therefore, we do not care for the votes of the Muslims. This country belongs to Hindus and will remain so.' A banner with the slogan 'Garva se kaho hum Hindu hain' was displayed on the dais. Balasaheb claimed that Hindutva was in danger and Shiv Sena would be its saviour. He appealed to voters to vote for the victory of Hindutva.

'You will find Hindu temples underneath if all the mosques are dug out [up]. Anybody who stands against the Hindus should be shown or worshipped with shoes,' Balasaheb said. He brought Lord Ram into the election arena too, 'We have come with the ideology of Hinduism. Shiv Sena will implement this ideology. Though this country belongs to Hindus, Ram and Krishna are insulted.' The electoral narrative appeared to work -- Shiv Sena won the by-election.

The defeated candidate, Congress leader Prabhakar Kunte, took the matter of the communal speeches to the Bombay High Court which declared Prabhoo's election void as per the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The court named Balasaheb for the commission of corrupt practices under the Act. Prabhoo approached the Supreme Court which upheld the high court's judgment and concluded that Balasaheb's three speeches amounted to corrupt practices under the Act. Since votes were sought in the name of Prabhoo, he too was declared a part of the corrupt practices. The Election Commission stripped Balasaheb of voting rights for six years.

The Supreme Court, in its judgment, said that the offending speeches made by Balasaheb violated and eroded India's secular polity. 'We say this with the fervent hope that our observation has some chastening effect in the future election campaigns,' the court added. The Supreme Court Bench, comprising Justice Jagdish Verma, N P Singh and K Venkataswami, said that it had to record its distress at the communal speeches given by top political leaders. It added that given the likely impact of such speeches, leaders need to be more circumspect in how they address voters during campaigns. But Balasaheb had already set the tone for all hardcore Hindu nationalist leaders to follow. He even questioned the court's judgment.

Balasaheb's Hindutva turned even more ferocious after the 1987 by-polls. Interestingly, the BJP was not with the Sena -- or the Hindutva agenda -- in this election; it had opted to support a Janta Dal candidate who championed secularism. After this election, the Sena fought and won the Aurangabad civic election, again using the Hindutva line. Thackeray led the way for the BJP on Hindutva, noted Prakash Akolkar in his book Jai Maharashtra, which documents Shiv Sena's history.

The BJP was forced to abandon its Gandhian socialism after Balasaheb's strategy won the popular vote. Balasaheb did not just introduce hardcore Hindutva narrative into India's electoral politics but also placed Lord Ram at its centre, as mentioned earlier. During the Vile Parle elections, the Sena objected to how Dr B R Ambedkar spoke of Ram and Krishna in his writings, especially Riddles in Hinduism. The government of Maharashtra was publishing his collated works and the Sena objected to this. For Balasaheb, the Vile Parle election verdict was the victory of Ram and Krishna and a 'licence' for the formation of a 'Hindu Rashtra'. It was God's wish to put this 'licence' in his hands, said Balasaheb, and claimed that the process of building the Hindu Rashtra would begin from Maharashtra before spreading across India.6

Hindutva and nationalism proved to be powerful political tools and the Sena wore its 1987 victory, and the subsequent court reproof, as a badge of honour. According to Uddhav, 1987 gave a specific 'direction' to Indian politics. He claimed that the Sena propelled Hindutva politics long before the BJP. 'That election (1987) showed that India needs the Hindutva ideology and that this ideology can lead to electoral victory. Then the BJP also realised it. Honourable Advanisaheb started the rath yatra,' Uddhav said in an interview in Saamana.

He pointed out that Pramod Mahajan and Gopinath Munde joined the Hindutva bandwagon after this, starting the era of the Sena-BJP alliance. After 1987, Balasaheb talked about hardcore Hindutva without worrying about the political or legal consequences. His popularity soared as the media broadcast his sensational statements to a national audience. He became, for his followers, the 'Hindu Hriday Samrat'.

The year 1992 was a decisive chapter in India's politics. The demolition of the Babri mosque gave BJP a stronger hold on Hindutva. Riots broke out in Mumbai in December 1992 and January 1993, killing about 900 and injuring around 2,036. The Sena's role in the riots was highlighted by the Srikrishna Commission appointed by the Maharashtra government to probe the riots. The panel named Balasaheb in its report.

Saamana was spewing fire and Mumbai was gripped by fear. It was around this time that the BJP leader Sunder Singh Bhandari claimed that the Babri mosque was demolished by the Sena cadre. Sujata Anandan, a reporter with a national wire service, called Balasaheb for a reaction to this statement and reported that he sounded 'flummoxed' when he heard about it. He asked her to call him back for a response and later said, 'Well, if my Shiv Sainiks have brought down the mosque, I can only be proud of them.'

Anandan further claims that Balasaheb knew that no Shiv Sainik was present in Ayodhya during the demolition. However, Bhandari had given away an ace to Balasaheb -- he became the hero of hardcore Hindus, boasting that his men demolished the mosque. This line was repeated often by Uddhav and the rest of the Sena.

IANS (NEWS AND PICTURE COURTESY)

Mon, 04 Jul 2022 00:27:58 +0530
South Asia needs to be more connected like the EU Pakistani artist Ali Kazim

New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) When Pakistani artist Ali Kazim visited the unexcavated sites of the Indus Valley civilization, he noticed that the surface of the landscape was entirely covered with terracotta shards. It looked like a Martian landscape.

"The pottery shards had physical imprints of the people who made the pots. Their fingerprints were there. It was unreal when I picked up a pottery shard and it had some imprint of the potter. It was a kind of time travelling key for me. I wanted to pick up on this narrative in my work," he tells IANS.

Talking about his four-panel watercolour painting which is part of KNMA's group exhibition 'Inner Life of Things: Around Anatomies and Armatures', curated by Roobina Karode, the artist, a passout of Lahore's National College of Arts, who was the University of Oxford's first South Asian artist-in-residence, says that for him the Harappan ruins are not really a landscape, but a collective portrait of the people who may have lived there.

"I was more interested in creating a fictional narrative about those people by painting a surface filled with terracotta shards. It was rather a poetic approach."

Fascinated by the South Asian miniature painting, Kazim, who was also invited to the Ashmolean Museum to be an artist-in-residence for the Gandhara Connections Research Programme, feels that artists struggle with the mechanics of the painting/work at the same time while they are formalising the ideas.

Remembering that when he made a body of work with graphic inks during his undergraduate course, he noticed that after some time certain colours had faded away more quickly, the artist recalls, "I was quite upset and wanted to fix the issue, and started experimenting with pigments which are richer in colour and do not fade away over the period of time. At that point, I looked at the Bengal school painting more carefully and examined the surfaces of works by Abanindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore and A.R Chughtai's at the Lahore Museum. That is how I discovered a new and exciting way of making work. Besides, the miniature schools and the company school drawing are fascinating to look at."

Kazim, who has shown widely in India --a solo show in 2008 and 2013 besides the Art fair, says, "Exhibiting in India has always been an overwhelming experience."

Adding that while current social and political situations in Pakistan do not really have an effect on his studio practice, he says, "Of course with adequate political stability, one feels more comfortable and grounded."

Believing that there is a need to overhaul the art syllabus in academic institutions in both the countries, and bring in eastern approaches, he feels that the changes or creating a balance between the two depend on available academic resources.

"For instance, there are tons of publications, artists' interviews and documentaries on western art available for academics and students. Unfortunately, in comparison not many publications on South Asian art and contemporary artists are available, nor is much material accessible even on digital platforms. We need to develop these resources first and slowly change will happen."

The artist says that the pandemic-induced lockdowns proved to be the most productive time he spent in his studio in a decade.

"My routine was to be there by 10 a.m. I started the day by throwing a couple of forms on the pottery wheel then the rest of the time was spent painting. There was sufficient time to read and listen to the online talks and lectures."

As the conversation veers toward the need for more exchanges between Indian and Pakistani artists, he says that entire South Asia needs to be more connected like the EU.

"Many families and friends are not able to meet each other owing to the political situation. We all have seen the very emotional visual of the two brothers separated during the partition and reuniting after 75 years at Kartarpur Sahib. But then, Faiz Ahmed Faiz says 'Lambi Hai Gham Ki Sham Magar Sham he to Hai'."

Sukant Deepak -- IANS (News and Picture Courtesy)

Mon, 04 Jul 2022 00:23:03 +0530
Partition is not a thing of the past Author Amit Majmudar

 

 

New Delhi:  He feels that the process of partition is ongoing and in a constant, dynamic state. While the original two-part Pakistan was partitioned into Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Khalistan movement was and is an attempt to partition India yet again along religious lines. "Much of Dravidian politics in South India fantasizes about a severance. Partition is not a thing of the past. It may well be a feature of India's future, de-facto if not de jure," says US author Amit Majmudar, whose latest novel 'The Map and the Scissors' (HarperCollins India) recently hit the stands.

The novel by Majmudar, a poet and diagnostic radiologist specializing in nuclear medicine, is about the epic origin story of modern South Asia, brought to life by two London-educated lawyers -- Gandhi and Jinnah, mirror-image rivals who dreamt the same dream of freedom-in catastrophically incompatible ways..Majmudar named the first Poet Laureate of Ohio in 2015, who had written about the human fallout for ordinary people in his book 'Partitions' (2011), felt that he had not explored, in full detail, the political process that led up to the event and had shied away from portraying the main political players of the time.

While investigating the time period, he found an interview in which Lord Mountbatten, a quarter of a century later that spoke of how Jinnah had largely been forgotten even though he was the main reason the partition happened at all. "This led me to research Jinnah, and in doing so, I realized that Gandhi, whom I already knew much more about, was a perfect foil for him. And so the dramatic structure of the book was conceived: The duel between these two figures." Even as major publishing houses have brought out several titles on the partition in the past two years, he feels that the events of 1947 were definitional for the subcontinent -- both cartographically, and when it comes to identity.

With four poetry collections to his name and the same number of novels, Majmudar smiles that he is the same person when he writes prose and verse. "However, I sequence words by emphasizing different principles when doing either. With verse, I emphasize patterning. With prose, storytelling or logical argument." Despite contemporary times when people just need an excuse to get offended, Majmudar whose work 'Godsong', which is a translation of the Bhagavad Gita, says that he was not apprehensive while working on it.

"I do not create my art in prose or verse to offend anyone -- that is too trivial a motivation for writing a poem or a novel. Neither do I insult people or groups even when I tweet, and insults are 95 percent of what Twitter is. None of my work is polemical." A diagnostic nuclear radiologist and a writer -- with the former paying the bills and "freeing me up to write esoteric rhymes or translate Sanskrit if it pleases me," the pandemic allowed him to isolate himself and write extensively. "One product of that is 'The Mahabharata Trilogy', a massive prose retelling of the epic, with a full-scale recreation of the Gita embedded in it, that is forthcoming in India in 2023. Keep an eye out for it -- it's my pandemic epic," he concludes.

SUKANT DEEPAK -- IANS (NEWS AND PICTURE COURTESY)

Mon, 04 Jul 2022 00:19:04 +0530
Another tigress captured in Dudhwa Reserve

Lakhimpur Kheri:  Forest officials have captured a tigress, said to be responsible for recent human killings in Khairatiya area in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri district. This comes a day after another big cat was captured in the area. The tigress was caught in the Manjhra Purab forest area of the Dudhwa buffer zone. Four human killings by the big cat were reported in June alone in the area and there were at least two others in May. Divisional forest officer (DFO), Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, Akash Deep Badhawan said most probably the tigress would be sent to Gorakhpur Zoo as the Lucknow Zoo is full to its capacity.

Field director (Dudhwa Tiger Reserve) Sanjay Pathak said: "During the physical examination, the tigress was found to be nine years old. Her physical condition and age were enough to establish her to have caused the recent human casualties in the Khairatiya region. Her left canines were broken and damaged due to which she may be unable to hunt properly and this made her attack humans." Tigers turn into man-eaters when they fail to kill wild prey due to any deformity or injury like broken canines, injured paws, and old age, he informed. Pathank said that some other big cats had been noticed in the area and recorded on cameras also and the operation would continue till the entire area was free of big cat terror. "The operation will be suspended only after being assured that there is no longer a threat to the human population due to tigers," he said. Meanwhile, the big cat captured on Tuesday night, has been found to be in good health.

IANS (STORY AND PICTURE CREDIT)

Mon, 04 Jul 2022 00:11:03 +0530
Another tigress captured in Dudhwa Reserve

Lakhimpur Kheri: Forest officials have captured a tigress, said to be responsible for recent human killings in Khairatiya area in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri district. This comes a day after another big cat was captured in the area. The tigress was caught in the Manjhra Purab forest area of the Dudhwa buffer zone.

Four human killings by the big cat were reported in June alone in the area and there were at least two others in May. Divisional forest officer (DFO), Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, Akash Deep Badhawan said most probably the tigress would be sent to Gorakhpur Zoo as the Lucknow Zoo is full to its capacity. Field director (Dudhwa Tiger Reserve) Sanjay Pathak said: "During physical examination, the tigress was found to be nine years old. Her physical condition and age were enough to establish her to have caused the recent human casualties in the Khairatiya region. Her left canines were broken and damaged due to which she may be unable to hunt properly and this made her attack humans."

Tigers turn into man-eaters when they fail to kill wild prey due to any deformity or injury like broken canines, injured paws and old age, he informed. Pathank said that some other big cats had been noticed in the area and recorded on cameras also and the operation would continue till the entire area was freed of big cat-terror. "The operation will be suspended only after being assured that there is no longer a threat to human population due to tigers," he said.

Meanwhile, the big cat captured on Tuesday night, has been found to be in good health.

IANS

Sun, 03 Jul 2022 00:50:49 +0530
South Asia needs to be more connected like the EU Pakistani artist Ali Kazim

New Delhi, July 1: When Pakistani artist Ali Kazim visited the unexcavated sites of the Indus Valley civilization, he noticed that the surface of the landscape was entirely covered with terracotta shards. It looked like a Martian landscape. "The pottery shards had physical imprints of the people who made the pots. Their fingerprints were there. It was unreal when I picked up a pottery shard and it had some imprint of the potter. It was a kind of time travelling key for me. I wanted to pick up on this narrative in my work," he tells IANS.

Talking about his four-panel watercolour painting which is part of KNMA's group exhibition 'Inner Life of Things: Around Anatomies and Armatures', curated by Roobina Karode, the artist, a pass out of Lahore's National College of Arts, who was the University of Oxford's first South Asian artist-in-residence, says that for him the Harappan ruins are not really a landscape, but a collective portrait of the people who may have lived there.

"I was more interested in creating a fictional narrative about those people by painting a surface filled with terracotta shards. It was rather a poetic approach." Fascinated by the South Asian miniature painting, Kazim, who was also invited to the Ashmolean Museum to be an artist-in-residence for the Gandhara Connections Research Programme, feels that artists struggle with the mechanics of the painting/work at the same time while they are formalising the ideas. Remembering that when he made a body of work with graphic inks during his undergraduate course, he noticed that after some time certain colours had faded away more quickly, the artist recalls, "I was quite upset and wanted to fix the issue, and started experimenting with pigments which are richer in colour and do not fade away over the period of time. At that point, I looked at the Bengal school painting more carefully and examined the surfaces of works by Abanindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore and A.R Chughtai's at the Lahore Museum. That is how I discovered a new and exciting way of making work. Besides, the miniature schools and the company school drawing are fascinating to look at."

Kazim, who has shown widely in India --a solo show in 2008 and 2013 besides the Art fair, says, "Exhibiting in India has always been an overwhelming experience." Adding that while current social and political situations in Pakistan do not really have an effect on his studio practice, he says, "Of course with adequate political stability, one feels more comfortable and grounded." Believing that there is a need to overhaul the art syllabus in academic institutions in both countries, and bring in eastern approaches, he feels that the changes or creating a balance between the two depend on available academic resources.

"For instance, there are tons of publications, artists' interviews and documentaries on western art available for academics and students. Unfortunately, in comparison not many publications on South Asian art and contemporary artists are available, nor is much material accessible even on digital platforms. We need to develop these resources first and slowly change will happen."

The artist says that the pandemic-induced lockdowns proved to be the most productive time he spent in his studio in a decade. "My routine was to be there by 10 a.m. I started the day by throwing a couple of forms on the pottery wheel then the rest of the time was spent painting. There was sufficient time to read and listen to the online talks and lectures." As the conversation veers toward the need for more exchanges between Indian and Pakistani artists, he says that entire South Asia needs to be more connected like the EU. "Many families and friends are not able to meet each other owing to the political situation. We all have seen the very emotional visual of the two brothers separated during the partition and reuniting after 75 years at Kartarpur Sahib. But then, Faiz Ahmed Faiz says 'Lambi Hai Gham Ki Sham Magar Sham he to Hai'."

Sukant Deepak, IANS

Sun, 03 Jul 2022 00:45:03 +0530
ENG v IND 5th Test Bumrah s all round effort make it India s day at Edgbaston

Birmingham, July 2: With the rain eating a majority of Day Two's play between England and India in the rescheduled fifth Test at Edgbaston, captain Jasprit Bumrah shone with his all-round efforts to seal the day in India's favour. At stumps, after making 416 in the first innings, India managed to reduce England to 84/5 in 27 overs, with the visitors leading by 332 runs. After Ravindra Jadeja brought up his third Test century, Bumrah had a whirlwind time with the bat, smashing an unbeaten 31 off 16 balls, a majority of which came from a record 35-run over off Stuart Broad. With the ball, Bumrah ran through the top order, including twice taking a wicket on extra deliveries after no-balls, and was backed by Mohammed Siraj as well as Mohammed Shami picking a wicket each in the truncated final session to put India on top.

After a little over two hours of delay, the rain Gods made way for bright sunshine. Joe Root got the first boundary of the final session with a thick outer edge on a drive off Mohammed Shami over the slip cordon for a boundary before handsomely driving through cover for another boundary. While Bumrah was challenging Bairstow by mixing around off-stump and getting some to come back in, Shami roughed up Root with the nip-backer beating his inner edge and hitting the glove with a hint of extra bounce apart from beating him outside the off-stump too. Twice India went for appeal as Root was beaten on the inner edge, burning their review chance once.

Mohammed Siraj arrived and began to cramp Root for the room, beating his inner edge by mixing back of a length and wide of off ones. The efforts bore fruit as Siraj got a wobble-seam ball to nip back in and cramp Root shaping for the cut, with the ball taking the bottom edge to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant. Shami's persistence and shift to bowling a little fuller got him the wicket of nightwatchman Jack Leach, who was dropped in his previous over, by getting to angle the ball in from around the wicket and got it to move slightly away to take the outer edge to Pant. England captain Ben Stokes and Sam Billings took England to safety till stumps arrived.

Brief scores: India 416 in 84.5 overs (Rishabh Pant 146, Ravindra Jadeja 104; James Anderson 5-60, Matthew Potts 2-105) lead England 84/5 in 27 overs (Joe Root 31, Jasprit Bumrah 3-35) by 332 runs

IANS

Sun, 03 Jul 2022 00:35:53 +0530
ENG v IND 5th Test Bumrah s all round effort make it India s day at Edgbaston

Birmingham, July 2: With the rain eating a majority of Day Two's play between England and India in the rescheduled fifth Test at Edgbaston, captain Jasprit Bumrah shone with his all-round efforts to seal the day in India's favour. At stumps, after making 416 in the first innings, India managed to reduce England to 84/5 in 27 overs, with the visitors leading by 332 runs. After Ravindra Jadeja brought up his third Test century, Bumrah had a whirlwind time with the bat, smashing an unbeaten 31 off 16 balls, a majority of which came from a record 35-run over off Stuart Broad. With the ball, Bumrah ran through the top order, including twice taking a wicket on extra deliveries after no-balls, and was backed by Mohammed Siraj as well as Mohammed Shami picking a wicket each in the truncated final session to put India on top.

After a little over two hours of delay, the rain Gods made way for bright sunshine. Joe Root got the first boundary of the final session with a thick outer edge on a drive off Mohammed Shami over the slip cordon for a boundary before handsomely driving through cover for another boundary. While Bumrah was challenging Bairstow by mixing around off-stump and getting some to come back in, Shami roughed up Root with the nip-backer beating his inner edge and hitting the glove with a hint of extra bounce apart from beating him outside the off-stump too. Twice India went for appeal as Root was beaten on the inner edge, burning their review chance once.

Mohammed Siraj arrived and began to cramp Root for the room, beating his inner edge by mixing back of a length and wide of off ones. The efforts bore fruit as Siraj got a wobble-seam ball to nip back in and cramp Root shaping for the cut, with the ball taking the bottom edge to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant. Shami's persistence and shift to bowling a little fuller got him the wicket of nightwatchman Jack Leach, who was dropped in his previous over, by getting to angle the ball in from around the wicket and got it to move slightly away to take the outer edge to Pant. England captain Ben Stokes and Sam Billings took England to safety till stumps arrived.

Brief scores: India 416 in 84.5 overs (Rishabh Pant 146, Ravindra Jadeja 104; James Anderson 5-60, Matthew Potts 2-105) lead England 84/5 in 27 overs (Joe Root 31, Jasprit Bumrah 3-35) by 332 runs

IANS

Sun, 03 Jul 2022 00:35:41 +0530
BJP Nat l Executive Committee pays tribute to Kanhaiya Lal Sidhu Moosewala

Hyderabad, July 2: BJP National Executive Committee (NEC) on Saturday paid tribute to Udaipur tailor Kanhaiya Lal, who was brutally killed, and Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala.

Sources said that the condolence message read out in the meeting mentioned the names of Lal and Moosewala.

"Along with Lal, Moosewala, people who died in recent floods, soldiers who recently lost lives, and others, including party leaders," an NEC member said.

Kanhaiya Lal, a resident of Bhima town in Rajsamand district, who ran a tailoring shop in Udaipur was beheaded while Moosewala was killed in June this year.

IANS

Sun, 03 Jul 2022 00:31:07 +0530
Extreme rainfall activity likely oExtreme rainfall activity likely over Odisha Gujarat Konkan Goa

New Delhi, July 2: Due to a likely formation of a low-pressure area over north Odisha and adjoining areas during the next 48 hours, the IMD has warned of heavy rainfall activity over Odisha with an orange alert on Sunday. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday said: "A cyclonic circulation lies over Bangladesh & neighborhood and extends up to 7.6 km above mean sea level tilting southwestwards with height. Under its influence, a Low-Pressure Area is likely to form over north Odisha & neighborhood during next 48 hours." Under its influence, widespread light to moderate rainfall activity with isolated heavy rainfall (7 to 11 cm) to very heavy (11 to 20 cm) rainfall at one or two places is likely during the next 4 to 5 days over some districts of Odisha.

The IMD has also warned of enhanced rainfall activity likely over Gujarat, Konkan, and Goa during the next five days, over Central India on July 4 and 5, and over northwest India on July 5 and 6. "A cyclonic circulation lies over central parts of Rajasthan in lower and middle tropospheric levels and a trough runs from this circulation to the west-central Arabian Sea in middle tropospheric levels. There are strong westerly winds along the west peninsular coast in the lower levels," the IMD said. Isolated heavy rainfall is very likely over Gujarat, Konkan, Goa, coastal Karnataka, Kerala, and Mahe during the next 5 days, and over central Maharashtra and the south interior Karnataka from July 4 to 6. Isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall is also very likely over Konkan and Goa on July 4 and coastal Karnataka on July 6.
Isolated extremely heavy rainfall is also likely over Konkan & Goa on July 5 and 6, the IMD warned.

IANS

Sun, 03 Jul 2022 00:25:19 +0530
Inventions and Discoveries in the ancient world

Anupama Nair

What is the difference between humans and animals? The answer is simple – the power of thinking. If we didn’t we would have been still like early men and lived in caves still. There would have been no inventions and our lives would have been different. I am going to talk about inventions that changed human lives and made our lives simpler and easy to live

The first major discovery was the fire. When humans, first used fire, is still not definitively known, but, like the first tools, it was probably invented by an ancestor of Homo Sapiens (man) as the evidence of burnt material can be found in caves used by Homo Eructus (meaning "upright man") around one million or maybe even one and half million years ago. However, the invention of fire helped men to stop eating raw food and instead, cook it and also keep warm during cold days and nights.

This is a matter of great pride to us Indians. According to historians, the Indus Valley Civilization had revealed evidence of dentistry being practiced as far back as 7000 BC. One site in Mehrgarh (modern-day Pakistan) even showed evidence of healers curing tooth disorders with bow drills. Incredible isn’t it. Another feature of the Indus Valley Civilization was water-flushed toilets. Both in Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, almost every home had a flush toilet, connected to a sophisticated sewage system. Areas of the Indus Valley Civilization in both now-Pakistan and Western India have had rulers (scales) of ivory uncovered from ruins. One such specimen was even calibrated to 1/16 of an inch—less than 2 millimeters. These kinds of rulers were clearly very prominent, as even bricks of the valley’s buildings were found to follow the same measurements. The earliest existence of weighing scales also dates back to the Indus valley civilization, where balances were used to compare measurements and compare goods in trade.

The Indian subcontinent was the birthplace of Ayurveda and Yoga, around 5000 BC. The therapies generally include complex herbal compounds, minerals and metal substances. Indian physicians were known to practice a different kind of cataract surgery than that was known to the Greeks. It was performed with a tool called the Jabamukhi Salaka, a curved needle used to loosen the lens and push the cataract out of the field of vision. Greek scientists of the time travelled to India to see these surgeries, and the technique was even introduced to China from India.

The wheel is often quoted as the single most important advance in early technology. It is sometimes said to have evolved from the potter’s wheel. Both are first known at approximately the same period, around 3000 BC. But the geographical origin of the invention is still not known. In early technology, a wagon wheel can only be made from wood. Several of the earliest known wheels have been found in the heavily forested regions of Europe. Around 3000 BC, the ancient Egyptians developed a technique for making paper from the pith of the papyrus plant, commonly seen along the bank of the Nile. Long strips were woven together and weighted down to bind them into a strong, thin sheet. The Egyptians also invented pens made of cut reeds, which were strong enough to write on the papyrus, and mixed soot or other organic material with beeswax and vegetable gum to make ink.

The world’s first university was established in Takshashila in 700 BC. It is estimated that more than ten thousand students from all over the world studied more than sixty subjects. The University of Nalanda was built in 400 BC. The Chinese scholar Hiuen Tsang studied in Nalanda and his writings tell us about the greatness of the University. Unfortunately, the University was burnt by Bakhtiyar Khilji. What a great loss to the world

The word “democracy” comes from the Greek term demokratia, literally meaning “rule by the people.” The word and the concept were introduced in 507 BC by Cleisthenes, ruler of the Greek city-state of Athens. This form of popular government consisted of three separate institutions: the ‘ekklesia’, or Assembly, which wrote laws and dictated foreign policy; the ‘boule’, a council of representatives chosen from the different Athenian tribes; and the ‘dikasteria’, a popular court system. The United States (1776) is the world’s oldest democracy.

Written evidence of martial arts in Southern India dates back to the 2nd century BC to the 2nd century AD. Kalarippayattu was an Indian martial arts system developed in ancient Kerala. It is still very popular. For all its importance, it may surprise you to learn that zero is a relatively recent concept in human history, though it still has its roots in ancient times. The more complete vision of zero didn’t emerge until the 7th century in India, when the Hindu astronomer Brahmagupta wrote rules for using zero in mathematical operations and equations, introducing the concept that zero could be seen as a number of its own.

We Indians need to be proud of our culture and if you read most of the ancient inventions originated in India.

Sat, 02 Jul 2022 21:40:16 +0530
Inventions and Discoveries Over the Years and How They Impacted Human Lives

Anupama Nair

The development of electricity as a source of power preceded the conjunction with steam power late in the 19th century. The pioneering work had been done by an international collection of scientists including Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania (US),  Alessandre Volta of the University of Pavia (Italy), and Michael Faraday (Great Britain). Both the generators and motors underwent substantial development in the 19th century. In particular, French, German, Belgian, and Swiss engineers evolved the most satisfactory forms of armature (the coil of wire) and produced the dynamo, which made the large-scale generation of electricity commercially feasible

In the United States, Thomas Edison applied his inventive brain to discovering fresh uses for electricity, and his development of the carbon-filament lamp showed how this form of energy could rival gas as a domestic illuminant. Then, the subsequent spread of this form of energy is one of the most remarkable technological success stories of modern times, but most of the basic techniques of generation, distribution, and utilization had been mastered nearly two centuries before. Can you imagine a life without electricity?

The first photograph was taken in 1826 or 1827 by the French physicist J.N. Niepce using a pewter plate coated with a form of bitumen that hardened on exposure. His partners used silver compounds to give light sensitivity, and the technique developed rapidly in the middle decades of the century. By the 1890s George Eastman of the United States started manufacturing cameras and celluloid photographic film for the popular market, and that was the first experiment with cinema and were beginning to attract attention.

 

The electric telegraph was made into a practical proposition for use on developing the British railway system by two inventors, Sir William Cooke and Sir Charles Wheatstone, who worked together and took out a joint patent in 1837. Almost at the same time, an American scientist, Samuel Morse devised the signaling code that was subsequently adopted all over the world. The telegraph system also played an important part in the opening up of the American West by providing rapid aid in the maintenance of law and order.

Alexander Graham Bell, best known for his invention of the telephone, revolutionized communication. His interest in sound technology was deep-rooted and personal, as both his wife and mother were deaf. While there’s some controversy over whether Bell was the true pioneer of the telephone, he started the Bell Telephone Company in 1877. He was born in Scotland, later migrated to Canada, and finally settled down in the United States. In 1871, Bell started working on the harmonic telegraph — a device that allowed multiple messages to be transmitted over a wire at the same time. By 1875, Bell, with the help of his partner Thomas Watson, had come up with a simple receiver that could turn electricity into sound. Scientists, like Antonio Meucci and Elisha Gray, were working on similar technologies, and there’s confusion over who should be credited with the invention of the telephone. It’s said that Bell raced to the patent office to be the first to secure the rights to the discovery. After getting his telephone patent, he made the inaugural telephone call to Watson, and said, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.” He even refused to have a telephone in his study, fearing it would distract him from his scientific work.

 

The dream of human flight must have begun with the observation of birds flying through the sky. In our great epic Ramayana, Ravana the demon king had a flying chariot called “Pushpak Viman” where the Sanskrit word means flying object. In other holy scriptures like the Bible, we read about the flying angels. The story of the invention of the airplane begins in the 16th to 18th centuries, with the first research into aerodynamics—the study of the forces operating on a solid body (for instance, a wing when it is immersed in a stream of air). For millennia, however, progress was retarded by attempts to design aircraft that emulated the beating of a bird’s wings. The Wright brothers – Orville and Wilbur were the two American aviation pioneers who invented, built, and flew the world's the first successful motor-operated airplane in 1905. They were also the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered-flights possible. In 1914, the world's first scheduled passenger airline service took off, operating between St. Petersburg and Tampa in Florida (USA).

 

The dream of seeing distant places is as old as human thoughts. Priests in ancient Greece, studied the inside of birds, trying to see in them what the birds had seen when they flew over the horizon. They believed that their gods, on Mount Olympus were gifted with the ability to watch human activity all over the world. The opening scene of  William Shakespeare’s play Henry IV, Part 1 presented the character Rumour, upon whom the other characters rely for news of what is happening in the far corners of England.

 

Television (TV), is the electronic delivery of moving images and sound from a source to a receiver By extending the senses of vision and hearing beyond the limits of physical distance, television has had a considerable influence on society.  The TV as we know was eventually used by John Logie Baird and Charles Francis Jenkins in 1925. to build the world’s first successful televisions.

 

Charles Babbage, an English mathematician, and inventor is credited with having conceived the first automatic digital computer. The idea of mechanically calculating mathematical tables first came to Babbage in 1812 or 1813. Later he made a small calculator that could perform certain mathematical computations to eight decimals. During the mid-1830s Babbage developed plans for the Analytical Engine, the forerunner of the modern digital computer. In that device he planned the capability of performing any arithmetical operation on the basis of instructions received from punched cards, a memory unit to store numbers, sequential control, and most of the other basic elements of the present-day computer. 

 

The desire to travel to the moon was a dream of modern man. Let us see, how it was achieved. In the middle part of the 20th century, space ships were made by both America and Russia. Lyka, a stray dog from Moscow was the first living being to travel to space in a spaceship called Sputnik II in 1957. But unfortunately, she died in space. Then it was the turn of man in space. Yuri Gagarin was a Russian pilot, who became the first man to travel in space, achieving a major milestone in the history of space travel. His space ship Vostok I, completed one orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity and was awarded many medals and titles, including “the Hero of Soviet Union”, his nation's highest honor.

 

1969 was again a special year in Space journey. Apollo II was the spaceship that first traveled with humans to the moon – Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, and was truly a historic moment. Finally, the dream of man to travel to the moon was fulfilled. Armstrong became the first person to step onto the lunar surface and it was truly ““That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” as Armstrong said.

Sat, 02 Jul 2022 21:31:15 +0530
Delhi s Covid tally drops to 678 2 fresh deaths

New Delhi, July 2:  Delhi on Saturday reported a decline in fresh Covid cases in last 24 hours, at 678 against 813 on the previous day, while there were two more Covid-related deaths, as per the government health bulletin. Meanwhile, the Covid positivity rate has declined to 3.98 percent, while the number of active cases stands at 3,410, of which 2,534 are being treated in home isolation. With 969 patients recovering in the last 24 hours, the total number of recoveries has gone to 19,06,689. With new Covid cases, the total caseload of the city has jumped to 19,36,365 while the death toll has reached at 26,266.

The number of Covid containment zones in the city stands at 385. A total of 17,037 new tests -- 10,971 RT-PCR and 6,066 Rapid Antigen - were conducted in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 3,91,00,864 while 14,433 vaccines were administered - 868 first doses, 2,328 second doses, and 11,237 precaution doses. The total number of cumulative beneficiaries vaccinated so far stands at 3,50,44,466, according to the health bulletin.

IANS

Sat, 02 Jul 2022 21:08:40 +0530
Delhi s Covid tally drops to 678 2 fresh deaths

New Delhi, July 2:  Delhi on Saturday reported a decline in fresh Covid cases in last 24 hours, at 678 against 813 on the previous day, while there were two more Covid-related deaths, as per the government health bulletin. Meanwhile, the Covid positivity rate has declined to 3.98 percent, while the number of active cases stands at 3,410, of which 2,534 are being treated in home isolation. With 969 patients recovering in the last 24 hours, the total number of recoveries has gone to 19,06,689. With new Covid cases, the total caseload of the city has jumped to 19,36,365 while the death toll has reached at 26,266.

The number of Covid containment zones in the city stands at 385. A total of 17,037 new tests -- 10,971 RT-PCR and 6,066 Rapid Antigen - were conducted in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 3,91,00,864 while 14,433 vaccines were administered - 868 first doses, 2,328 second doses, and 11,237 precaution doses. The total number of cumulative beneficiaries vaccinated so far stands at 3,50,44,466, according to the health bulletin.

IANS

Sat, 02 Jul 2022 21:08:34 +0530
Jonathan Cape to publish Salman Rushdie s new novel Victory Street

New Delhi, July  : Hidden in a clay pot; sealed with wax; buried at the heart of a ruined palace amidst the ashes of an empire -- a story waits to be told. When nine-year-old Pampa Kampana starts hearing the voice of a goddess, she vows to ensure that no more women suffer her beloved mother's unconscionable fate. Her magic creates a mighty city; her whispered words inspire its people to grow and change. Her poetry maps the rise and fall of its empire. And the prophetess herself -- beloved, feared, timeless -- watches as the world changes across the centuries and her body fades along with her city's glory. Half a millennium later, her writing is discovered, deep in the ancient earth. This is an epic tale with a message for us all: our power is fleeting, but our stories last forever.

"From one of our greatest storytellers, 'Victory City' is a tale for our times. Brilliantly styled as a translation of an ancient epic, this is a saga of love, adventure, and myth that is in itself a testament to the power of storytelling. And at its heart, a true heroine, Pampa Kampana, who sets out to give women equal agency in a patriarchal world. This is a stunningly beautiful, lyrical and gripping novel about power and the hubris of those in power," said Michal Shavit, Publishing Director at Jonathan Cape who acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Andrew Wylie at The Wylie Agency. A Fellow of the British Royal Society of Literature, Rushdie has received, among other honours, the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel (twice), the Writers' Guild Award, the James Tait Black Prize, the European Union's Aristeion Prize for Literature, Author of the Year Prizes in both Britain and Germany, the French Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger, the Budapest Grand Prize for Literature, the Premio Grinzane Cavour in Italy, the Crossword Book Award in India, the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, the London International Writers' Award, the James Joyce award of University College Dublin, the St Louis Literary Prize, the Carl Sandburg Prize of the Chicago Public Library, and a U.S. National Arts Award.

He holds honorary doctorates and fellowships at six European and six American universities, is an Honorary Professor in the Humanities at MIT, and University Distinguished P