Wednesday October 18, 2017
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Halloween in India – Classic case of our affinity towards anything western

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By Harshmeet Singh

Chances are that like my Facebook wall, over the past week, your Facebook wall would also have been studded with pictures of people in vampire and Dracula costumes, dancing in a night club with a drink in their hand. Or maybe you were one of them yourself! Happy Halloween to you in that case! The past few years have seen a huge surge in the number of Indians celebrating western festivals such as Halloween. I, for one, am clueless about why has Halloween become such a major occasion in India? And before you accuse me of being intolerant towards any particular religion, let me tell you that Halloween isn’t tied to any particular religion.

India has never faced a dearth of festivals. So importing an all new festival from the western countries doesn’t seem to be logical. Or maybe it is the term ‘western’ that attracted us so much that we decided to make Halloween our own! Unlike the Indian festivals that have family gatherings as an essential component, Halloween celebrations see Indian youth crowding at a night club, playing loud music and enjoying booze.

In fact, it would be fair to say that as western festivals have gained acceptance in India, the traditional celebrations of our indigenous festival have eroded gradually. Now festivals like Diwali witness all night parties at the night clubs. From being a festival of lights to becoming a festival of disco lights, Diwali has surely reinvented itself. That’s not all. Traditional gifts such as dry fruits and sweets have slowly been replaced by chocolates and decorated cheese items to suit the taste buds of our highly ‘west inclined’ new generation.

Many would justify this change citing the changing times. But if traditions changed with times, how can they be traditions after all? The shops that once displayed diyas and fancy candles now have fancy Dracula costumes on display!

One may argue that Indian festivals such as Holi and Diwali have also gained acceptance in western countries over the past few years. But the fact is that Holi, Diwali and other Indian festivals are celebrated by the Indian diaspora exclusively and not the home populace per se, which isn’t the case with Halloween in India.

India has always been known for its ability to accept, accommodate and assimilate new cultures and ideas. But such tolerance and accommodating nature must not be at the cost of overwriting our indigenous methods of celebrations. Though it would be incorrect to say that Indian festivals are dying, but youth’s enthusiasm towards western festivals is clearly overshadowing our own festivals. While aiming to uphold our tolerance, we have reached a point where our own culture is facing a threat of erosion. There is absolutely no harm in celebrating western festivals, but before putting on that Halloween costume and moving out to the night club, ask yourself if you would ever celebrate Pongal or Bihu or Tesu with the same fervor.

 

 

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Loan Waiver Provided to Maharashtra Farmers as ‘Diwali Gift’

Maharashtra farmers will get a "Diwali gift" in the form of loan waivers from October 18, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced on Tuesday.

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Loan Waivers announced by Maharashtra Government. IANS

Mumbai, Oct 18: After an anxious wait of over five months, Maharashtra farmers will get a “Diwali gift” in the form of loan waiver from October 18, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced on Tuesday.

“From tomorrow (Wednesday), we shall start disbursal to farmers under the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Shetkari Sanman Yojana across all the districts in the state. The money would be deposited directly into their bank accounts,” Fadnavis told media persons while hosting the customary Diwali-eve lunch at his official residence, Varsha.

Admitting that it would entail a huge burden on the state exchequer, he made it clear that “providing relief to the farmers is the top priority” of the state government.

“Within the next 25-30 days, we shall clear around 80 per cent of the loan waiver disbursals. We have a software in place which has been tested and has a data base of around six million applicant-farmers,” Fadnavis added.

On reports of many “farmers” from Mumbai applying for the debt waiver scheme, he said a probe was underway and only those found genuine and eligible would be entitled for the disbursal.

Earlier, welcoming the announcement, the ruling party ally Shiv Sena claimed credit for the farm loans waiver and hoped that the entire exercise would be completed by October-end.

“It is because of the crusade we had launched that the state government had announced the loans waiver scheme for farmers,” said Shiv Sena Spokesperson and MP Sanjay Raut late on Monday.

On June 24, the state government had announced a massive Rs 34,022-crore relief package for the farmers, days after an unprecedented 11-day strike by the farming community in the state.

Under the scheme, the total number of beneficiaries were estimated to be around 8.90 million, but it is expected that over four million, mostly small and medium farmers, shall become completely debt-free, enabling them to avail fresh bank loans.

As per the available figures, around 3.61 million farmers shall be eligible for financial assistance of up to Rs 1.50 lakh each to clear their pending loans.

Interestingly, last August, a belligerent Shiv Sena had demanded that the Bharatiya Janata Party “prove its claims” that the farm loans waiver would actually benefit 8.90 million farmers, and sought a detailed list of all the beneficiaries to be tabled before the state assembly.

Similarly, Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar recently questioned the government figures that it would dole out Rs 34,022 crore for the farm loans waiver and claimed that the actual relief would be in the range of Rs 10,000 crore-Rs 12,000 crore only. (IANS)

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Shraddha Kapoor Approaches for Animal Safety this Diwali

Shraddha Kapoor takes a stand on animal safety this Diwali. She posted on her Twitter handle to be kind to street animals and make this Diwali a noise free and eco-friendly one.

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Shraddha Kapoor takes a stand for animals this Diwali. IANS

Mumbai, Oct 18: Actress Shraddha Kapoor has taken a stand favoring the animals in the festive season of Diwali.

Shraddha has a pet dog Shylo, and the actress has always expressed her concern for animals on various occasions.

With Diwali inching closer, Shraddha took to Twitter to appeal to her fans to not burst firecrackers, for the sake of animals.

She shared a video saying: “Diwali is coming – the festival of lights… not of noise and air pollution. Help keep the air clean and be sensitive to the animals on the streets.”

The actress added: “This is that time of the year when Diwali is just around the corner and I just wanted to say that please don’t buy firecrackers and don’t burst firecrackers.

ALSO READHow To Ensure Your Pet Safe in Diwali?

“Not only does it cause a lot of pollution but it also troubles all the animals on the streets.”

Shraddha further urged her fans to have a safe Diwali by spending time with family as she wished her fans.

“Instead, spend Diwali with your family, with your loved ones eat amazing food, eat sweets and don’t burst crackers. Happy Diwali.”

On the work front, the actress is currently working on the trilingual “Saaho” with Prabhas. Shraddha has recently returned to Mumbai after wrapping the first schedule of the film in Hyderabad. (IANS)

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Here’s how you can keep up with your fitness this Diwali!

Do you wish to celebrate a celebrate guilt-free Diwali? Read on!

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Diwali does not mean you will have to compromise on your health, Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 17, 2017 : Saying no to sweets becomes near impossible around Diwali, making many conscious of their weight, calories and sugar level going up. Be active and restrict to two drinks to enjoy festivities with full fervor.

Here’s how you can keep up with your fitness this Diwali! Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal and Preeti Kakkar, nutritional expert at Credihealth, have listed what people can do to celebrate guilt-free Diwali:

  • Plan your day: If one meal goes for a toss, make sure the rest of the meals are on track. For instance, if you’ve reserved a table for dinner, then make sure your breakfast, lunch and snacks are balanced and healthier.
  • Festival and alcohol: Just restrict to two drinks. Alcohol dehydrates your body. Avoid taking cocktails and aerated drinks too as they give you just extra calories.
  • Be active: Physical activity will keep your metabolism active too. No matter what, engage in at least 20 minutes of physical activity every day. It can be in the form of dance, walk, jogging or yoga. You may find it hard to believe, but Surya Namaskar is the best way to fight exhaustion.
  • Don’t give up on sweets: It would be a crime to cut out the sweets entirely during this season. So, choose the healthier options and watch your portion size. Go for dry fruit, phirni, kheer, dark chocolate and date mithai instead of other sugar-loaded sweets.
  • Hydrate well: Don’t wait for the thirst to strike. Keep hydrating yourself at short intervals. Moreover, it will keep you stay full and energized in the rush of all preparation. (IANS)