Monday March 19, 2018

Fez music fest in Morocco pays homage to India

The festival features various Indian musical styles and numerous renowned artists' names

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Fez (Morocco), May 11 :The quaint Moroccan city of Fez, one of the world’s oldest cities, came alive to the sounds of India as dozens of Indian artists performed across the city as part of the 22nd edition of the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music 2016, which has India as a guest of honour this year.

The event saw Indian artists hosting wonderful shows ranging from playing music, singing and dancing on Monday evening at different locations in Morocco’s second largest city.

Various shows were performed at locations such as Boujeloud Cinema, Dar Adiel and the Prefecture Hall as well as Janan Sabil Gardens.

The festival features various Indian musical styles and numerous renowned artists’ names.

The opening show was a Hindustani classical music performance “Raga” and the artists came from Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Jodhpur and Jaipur, to showcase their talent for the first time in Morocco.

The Fez concert featured a performance by a group of young children from Rajasthan whose stories sounded like a movie story.

The festival management invited the Rajasthani artists to perform in Fez concerts, to support them and pay tribute to their art. The management has produced a short film about their lives.

Alain Wieber, artistic director of the festival, said that “The film depicts their present and past lives, their reality, and the villages from where they came, and their music.” He noted that “The musical genre they perform was on the verge of extinction, if they had not made any efforts to keep it alive.”

The film relates the story of three children who were born in a Rajasthan village and inherited their art from their families. It is the story of the three children whose lives revolved around music since they were born. So they did not go to school and did not learn anything, but remained clinging to one goal — which is to keep up their music and to deliver it to the largest possible audience.

Related article: Indian classical music touches The Cat Empire

According to the filmmaker: “The goal of the film is to show the origin of the music they play and how it evolved.” He added: “Despite all circumstances, they continue to sing, day and night, with their fathers, passing on their art from one generation to another.”

She explained that “featuring this kind of music in Fez festival would create new tastes among the young audience.”

Indian artists recognized worldwide, such as Parvathy Baul, Rageshri Das from Benares or the dual Shashank Subramaniam and Rakesh Chaurasia, flute musicians from Chennai and Mumbai, held a series of performances, in addition to the show of surbahar and sitar player, Irshad Khan.

Moroccans are very fond of Indian music, culture and cinema. In fact, the country celebrated 100 years of Hindi cinema at the 12th Marrakech International Film Festival in November 2012, hosting Bollywood biggies like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and other Indian stars. The Marrakech festival honour came much before Bollywood held its own event to honour Hindi cinema.

Fez, with a population of 1.1 million, is one of the oldest cities in Morocco, founded in 808 AD. (IANS)

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Pentavalent vaccine: Doctors raise red flag

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive

the new Hepatitis B vaccine for adults is called Heplisav-B.
India's PV to be reexamined because of its harmful effects. .
  • Pentavalent vaccine was introduced in India six years ago
  • It is since then have been a cause of many deaths
  • Doctors want it to be reexamined before continuing its use

Pentavalent vaccine (PV), that was introduced by India a little over six years ago, doubled the deaths of children soon after vaccination compared to the DPT (Diphtheria-Pertussis-Tetanus) vaccine, according to a new study that calls for a “rigorous review of the deaths following vaccination with PV”.

Health officials have launched a campaign targeting nearly 24 million people with a one-fifth dose of the vaccine. Wikimedia Commons
PV has been cause of many deaths in past years. Wikimedia Commons

Government records show that there were 10,612 deaths following vaccination (both PV and DPT) in the last 10 years. There was a huge increase in these numbers in 2017, which the Health Ministry has promised to study. “The present analysis could be a starting point in the quest to reduce the numbers of such deaths,” authors of the new study say.

The study by Dr Jacob Puliyel, Head of Pediatrics at St Stephens Hospital, and Dr V. Sreenivas, Professor of Biostatistics at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), both in New Delhi, is published in the peer-reviewed Medical Journal of Dr D.Y. Patil University.

PV is a combination of the DPT vaccine and two more vaccines against Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) and hepatitis B. Starting December 2011, PV was introduced into India’s immunisation programme to replace DPT vaccine in a staged manner with a view to adding protection against Hib and Hepatitis B without increasing the number of injections given to infants.

Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons
Doctors have raised concerns over these vaccines. Wikimedia Commons

But sporadic reports of unexplained deaths following immunisation with PV had been a matter of concern. Puliyel, Sreenivas and their colleagues undertook the study to find out if these deaths were merely coincidental or vaccine-induced.

The authors obtained data of all deaths reported from April 2012 to May 2016 under the Right to Information Act. Data on deaths within 72 hours of administering DPT and PV from different states were used.

For their study, the authors assumed that all deaths within 72 hours of receiving DPT are natural deaths. Using this figure as the baseline, they presumed that any increase in the number of deaths above this baseline among children receiving PV must be caused by this vaccine.

Also Read: With Medicine Running Out, Venezuelans With Transplant Live in Fear

According to their analysis of the data provided by the government, there were 237 deaths within 72 hours of administering the Pentavalent vaccine — twice the death rate among infants who received DPT vaccine.

Extrapolating the data, the authors have estimated that vaccination of 26 million children each year in India would result in 122 additional deaths within 72 hours, due to the switch from DPT to PV.

“There is likely to be 7,020 to 8,190 deaths from PV each year if data from states with the better reporting, namely Manipur and Chandigarh, are projected nationwide,” their report says.

It is important to make sure that these vaccines are reexamined peroperly. VOA

The authors note that while the study looks at the short-term increase in deaths (within three days of vaccination) it does not calculate the potential benefits of PV on infant mortality, for example by protection against lethal diseases like Haemophilus influenza.

In spite of the data presented in this paper from a large cohort, the authors point out that the evidence is merely circumstantial and not conclusive. “These findings of differential death rates between DPT and PV do call for further rigorous prospective population-based investigations,” the study concludes. IANS