Friday December 15, 2017

Beyond Goa: Welcome to sun-kissed Gokarna

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By Arundhati Roy

I think I speak for the majority when I say that every Indian’s idea of a beach holiday ends up in Goa. Surely, it can be heavenly for some with the sound of some upbeat music hanging in the air as they sunbathe under the summer sun. But what if I told you that there is a place which is reminiscent of a Goa that existed 20 years ago? The place is called Gokarna.

Gokarna is a small pilgrimage town on the coast of Karnataka. Pilgrims and tourists flock to this coastal town throughout the year. Gokarna, which means Cow’s ear, got its name from Hindu mythology. The town is popular among Hindu pilgrims as Gokarna has one of the few Shiva’s holy temples with what is claimed to be the original image of god (a lingam). However, the town witnesses a complete flipside with the influx of backpackers from around the world. Gokarna charms its tourists with the simplicity that it has to offer.

Gokarna is famous for five beaches:

Gokarna Beach

This beach is mostly popular among pilgrims since it’s centrally located in the town. It is several kilometres long and the wind and the waves do most of the cleaning. Swimming is strictly not advised on this beach partly because the water has a perpetual smell of dead fish! No wise person would want to enter the water. It won’t essentially make any difference if you give this beach a skip.

Kudle Beach

This beach offers the best of both worlds. Located at the south of Gokarna beach, it provides cheap food and accommodation to backpackers, right on the beach! Little hammocks hanging in the verandah sets the mood for some quality ‘me’ time. Beer seems to be the staple drink on this beach, and the local Upbeat beer does the trick for many! There are many cafes stretched along the beach which provide a wide range of snacks for your after-swim hunger. Evenings are made magical with a random jam happening at some far corner of the beach. Kudle is the perfect destination for the ones who want to be alone but not lonely.

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Om Beach

Further from Kudle, this beach gets the name from its shape and is split by a rock island. Mainly occupied by Indian tourists and a sprinkle of foreigners, it offers a range of sea sports for the ones interested. It is reasonably clean all year round. Swimming is permissible on this beach.  The second half of the beach offers cheap food and accommodation too. It is a long beach and a walk in the evening along the shore paints a completely different picture than a walk in the day.

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Half Moon Beach

This beach is accessible after a short trek over a headland from Om beach. It is a very small beach with limited facilities. The water on this beach is a perfect turquoise and even though swimming can be a little dangerous on these waters, it is surely a worthwhile experience. Sunset on this beach is something which should not be missed.

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Paradise Beach

Also known as Full Moon beach, this beach is further ahead of Half Moon, the farthest from Gokarna. Previously a nudist beach, it is now enjoyed solely for its natural beauty. Untouched and raw in its appeal, the beach is far away from the hustle bustle. Paradise is a delight during late evenings with the breath-taking sight of the sea shining in the bright moonlight.

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On the outskirts of Gokarna, remains a beach which is still unknown to most people. Nirvana beach needs to be reached through a town named Kumta. The tide on this beach does not cease to light up one’s mood. A swim into the white, foamy waters of the Arabian Sea at sunset is the perfect way to end the day. With just a few shacks scattered in the vicinity, this beach provides utmost privacy to its visitors.

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The town of beaches will never fail to meet your expectations. There seems to be a beach for every kind of personality. Whether you come to Gokarna on a solo trip or with your family, the place will take care of you all the same, a perfect getaway from the commercial buzz on the beaches of India.

At Gokarna, blue water under blue skies will chase all your blues away

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Thanksgiving Day Across the World

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated across the world and for each country, it has its own tale and tradition around food and days.

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Thanksgiving Day celebrations
Happy Thanksgiving Day, Wikimedia Commons

Thanksgiving Day. The name stands for itself as the day to give thanks and is celebrated as a national holiday in many countries like United States of America, Canada, Netherlands, Philippines, Grenada, Liberia while similarly named festival exists in Germany, Japan, and United Kingdom.
Thanksgiving holiday remains a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.

America
The official date for the American Thanksgiving that exists today was set by President Roosevelt to be on the fourth Thursday in November instead of the last Thursday in November as decided by President Lincoln as thanksgiving date.
But their thanksgiving is surrounded by a debate over the nation’s first celebrations and the two places embroiled in this debate are New England and Virginia as both the places provide certain proofs of being the spot for nation’s first celebrations for Thanksgiving.

Canada
Canadian Thanksgiving tradition is celebrated in the true spirit of giving thanks at the close of the harvest season. It is believed that due to the geographical differences from the USA, Canada’s Thanksgiving arrives on the second Monday in October as that is the close of their harvest season.

But in countries like Liberia, Netherlands, and Grenada, it is not just a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.

Liberia
In Liberia, Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated to mark the freedom from black slavery by the U.S.A. The Thanksgiving day’s date remains on the first Thursday of November and has been a tradition since 1820.

Netherlands
Netherlands celebrate thanksgiving to mark to commemorate the Pilgrims who had migrated and became residents of the city of Leiden and died at Pieterskerk. To commemorate the hospitality, the thanksgiving, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day is celebrated as the same as American Thanksgiving Day’s morning.

But there are some countries like the Philippines where the tradition of Thanksgiving only arrived with the Americans due to it being an American colony in the early 20th century but the tradition of Thanksgiving there had seemed to die down.

Food:
The American Thanksgiving seems to dominate the Thanksgiving menu when it comes to this holiday. Their famous turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, pies, mashed potatoes, and yams are signature dishes related to this day.

Black Friday:
Not only food, American Thanksgiving has also made Black Friday, an informal day following the Thanksgiving Day to mark the beginning of their country’s Christmas season sales and it has been in the history books since 1952 such that it has become a tradition of its own now.

Thanksgiving Day remains an occasion for many families to get back together and celebrate this holiday in the spirit of one while giving the rise to the excitement of upcoming Christmas also which remains barely a month away from Thanksgiving day.

Samridhi Nain is a student of Philosophy (Hons.) from University of Delhi.

 

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Swarna Bharat Party condemns government’s healthcare policy in Karnataka

The privatisation of health policies was opposed by SBP

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Health policies of Karnataka being opposed by SBP
SBP asks government to work on government hospitals rather then privatising them. Facebook
18th November 2017:
Mr Asif Iqbal, Karnataka State coordinator of Swarna Bharat Party (SBP), today strongly opposed the communist, anti-market and anti-people policy of the Congress Karnataka government to cap healthcare charges in the private sector.
Mr Iqbal said that the Siddaramaiah government should start learning basic economics. Good intentions do not necessarily lead to good outcomes. This communist policy will shut down many hospitals and drive away thousands of health professionals. In this way, it will hurt everyone, including the poor. No communist society has ever done well, and this communist policy will badly harm Karnataka.
In a free market people voluntarily give their custom to the service provider who gives them the best service at the lowest cost. Simultaneously, the desire for profits motivates healthcare providers to provide good quality healthcare while keeping their costs down. And they can’t charge whatever they wish since they are forced by the competition among hospitals to keep prices low. Anyone who makes a profit in such a competitive environment is signalling that he has successfully and efficiently served the people. That is the best outcome for society.
Mr Iqbal said that a government’s role is to create the environment for market-led profitable investments, thereby serving the needs of the community. But instead of identifying and addressing any barriers to investment, the Congress communists are attacking the very existence of the health sector.
Mr Siddaramaiah should remember that the taxpayer does not subsidise private medical establishments, nor should there be any such subsidy. These establishments buy land at commercial rates, pay commercial taxes and get utilities like water and electricity at commercial rates. In fact, SBP understands that most private hospitals and clinics do not break even for the first 5-10 years and most earn barely enough to stay in business.
Mr Iqbal said that instead of Mr Siddaramaiah worrying about the private sector (which is already badly shackled with thousands of rules and infrastructure constraints), he should look within – at the total mismanagement of government hospitals. The private sector is the last ray of hope for the people of Karnataka. Now the anti-people Congress wants to extinguish even this last ray of hope.
SBP also opposes many other aspects of the new health laws, such as a district redressal body that comprises six members but with only one doctor member. Further, there are already several avenues for patients to complain, including consumer courts, civil courts, medical bodies. Creating another body is unnecessary and will only increase fear in doctors’ mind. SBP demands a complete repeal of the new law.

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Lingayats in Karnataka to form Forum, Demand Separate Religion Status

The squabble between the two seers has witnessed several turns past few days

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Lingayats against Veerashaivas
An important center of pilgrimage for people of the Lingayat faith in India. Wikimedia
  • The Lingayat community leaders are planning to form a forum to up the ante on their demand for separate religion status
  • The leaders hold that Lingayats and Veerashaivas are different 
  • Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha meeting is scheduled on August 10 to reach a final decision 

New Delhi, August 9, 2017: The Lingayat community leaders in Karnataka are planning to float an all India front, which will be an umbrella body for all Lingayat outfits in the country. It is an attempt to further up the ante on their demand for a separate religion status.

According to The Hindu report, Akhila Bharata Veerashaiva Mahasabha meeting has been scheduled on August 10, in Bengaluru, where further discussion will take place to evolve a consensus and reach a conclusive decision.

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The leaders, at a press conference in Kalaburgi stated, that contrary to the opinion of the Mahasabha, they do not consider Lingayats and Veerashaivas as the same. “We hold that Veerashaiva and Lingayat are different and hence demand independent status for the Lingayat community. A meeting of leaders representing both will be convened in Bengaluru on August 10. If the Veerashaiva Mahasabha continues to adhere to its stand, we will begin to float an Akhila Bharata Linghayat Mahasabha bringing all Lingayat organisations and religious institutions together,” said Sanjay Makal, a Lingayat leader, during the press conference.

“Veerashaiva upholds and practises the principles advocated by the vedas, aagamas, shastras, puranas and other texts that are part of Hindu religion. Based on this, earlier applications for religion tag to Veerashaiva/Lingayat were rejected outright. If we demand independent religion status to Lingayat alone, we will be successful as the demand has solid material base,” he added.

Also read: First Hindi and now English, the Language War in Karnataka Continues

The squabble between the two seers has witnessed several turns past few days. Recently, Lingayat Mahasabha filed a defamation complaint against the Rambhapuri Jagadguru Prasannarenuka Veera Someshwara Rajadeshikendra Shivacharya Mahaswamiji, the head of the Veerashaiva math based out of Chikamagaluru. He had taken a stand that Veershaivas and Lingayats are the same.

On August 2, Sharana Chandramouli, Lingayat Mahasabha State President, filed a complaint against the Rambhapuri Pontiff for allegedly making defamatory statements against Mate Mahadevi, the head of the Lingayat mutt Basava Dharma Peetha.

According to Chandramouli, the Rambhapuri pontiff had issued a statement stating that Mate Mahadevi had, in 1962, written a love letter to Lingananda Swami, the religious head who initiated Mate Mahadevi into the mutt.

The Rambhapuri seer’s statement was followed by protests, with the followers of Mate Mahadevi shouting slogans against the Rambhapuri seer demanding him to tender an apology to the woman seer.

An effigy of the Rambhapuri pontiff was also burnt during the protests.

In reaction to this, on August 1, an effigy of Mate Mahadevi was also burnt, by thousands of followers of the Rambhapuri seer from Gadag, Dharwad and Bidar, who staged a protest in Hubballi.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha