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NEW DELHI: Indian being a land of diverse culture and heritage does have a very complex society. People from all around the globe visited India and shared their traditional values. Thus, India did inherit a lot of ethnic varieties in the span of its thousands of years.
These all things make India a strong hold for people of diverse belief, languages, and colour. And at the same time also makes India a happening and vibrant place to live. But at the same time, it also makes us vulnerable to many kinds of social issues and problems. Due to the blind and adamant beliefs of people on their religion and caste, contradictory ideas are meant to creep into the society.
Since decades, we people are countering issues like poverty, illiteracy, child marriage, caste system, gender inequality and endless to count further. But with the changing scenario and thought process of our society, many more new problems have made their way into our lives. Such things are the real evil for our advancement and growth.
Let’s take a view on some of such issues, that we need to take up seriously before it becomes too late to act upon.
The whole Muslim community has been following the very notion of Triple Talaq since long and the Muslim women were the one to face the heat of such a ritual.
The three different types of Talaq in the Muslim society are Talaq –e-Ahsan , Talaq-e- Hasan and Talaq –e- Biddat. From all of these three talaqs, the Talaq –e- Biddat was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme court on 22nd August 2017. In Talaq –e- Biddat, if the husband says Talaq three types in one go, then the Talaq becomes irrevocable.
After this verdict, for the very first time, Muslim women came in full force to stand against this discrimination against them. Even Triple Talaq has banned n 22 Muslim countries all over the world.
The urge of having a boy in India has taken a very spine-chilling consequence on the female population of our country. Haryana tops the chart of such a shameful practice, which is being exercised over the decades in our so-called democratic nation. Due to it, other social issues like sex determination have made their way into our society.
To counter such an adversary, the government launched a scheme called, ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ and made stringent laws to tackle crimes like these. The result of girl infanticide can be well gauged by taking a note of the figures of sex ratio of India.
Infant mortality rate
India’s run just behind China in terms of the population also makes us more open to the risks of childbirth. Most of such death takes place due to negligence or insufficient mean to cater the needs of a newborn. Also, the lack of proper vaccination goes equally into the list of things directly responsible for high infant mortality rate in India.
To quote the very recent example of Max Hospital in Delhi, where a newborn child was declared dead without proper checks by the hospital authorities. But later the child was found to be alive, only to last another week due to infection and lack of timely attention.
Such cases bring our attention to the laid-back approach of few people of our society and thus calls for strict action against social issues like this.
Another gruesome social issue to be nipped in its bud is Juvenile Crime. In the last half decade, this issue has wreaked havoc in the Indian society. The crimes committed by minors have increased many folds due to many reasons like illiteracy, poverty and their peer’s ignorant attitude. Another crucial reason that can be taken into account is the migration of people from urban areas to rural places. Due to this, it has become really hard for even state administration to keep a check on each and every one.
The biggest example of Juvenile crimes in recent times can be related to Nirbhaya incident, where among all the culprits, one was a Juvenile. It was after this incident only; laws were amended to punish such convicts.
Violence against women
India is a male dominant society has always shunned women of their rights and privileges. Women were barred from all the opportunities and were confined to the four walls of the house. Even today, the birth of a girl is not celebrated in many places of India. They have become a regular subject of physical and mental torture.
Their personal freedom is into shamble till date. They are thoroughly scrutinized about their movement and clothes. Some of the social issues that are been constantly inflicted upon them are dowry harassment, domestic violence, female infanticide, sexual harassment etc.
The term dowry goes back to the times when it was known by the name of ‘Kanyadan’. Kanyadan was a practice followed by the bride’s family, where there used to be a gift, ornaments, money, and property was given to the groom’s family. It was done in order to please the groom so that he could take proper care of her better half.
But with the traction of time, Kanyadan has remodeled into dowry. The modern-day dowry is seen as a sin our society due to the brutal consequences of it in our society. Nowadays, it has been become a practice to extort money by hiding behind the curtains of social stigma. In India, almost 10 thousand women lose their life due to this unfortunate repercussion of dowry system.
A democratic country which boasts about equal rights privileges doesn’t qualify for it. The concept of reservation is a bane rather than a boon for a society like India. Reservation is a kind of roadblock for equal opportunities which are mentioned in the constitution of India.
This system was brought into place in order to uproot the menace of the caste system in India. As some sections of the society were being ill-treated by others. So, to balance the things out, the concept of the reservation was introduced. But today, it has become a hindrance to achieving a uniform growth in all spheres of work.
Facebook says it plans to hire 10,000 workers in the European Union over the next five years to work on a new computing platform.
The company said in a blog post Sunday that those high-skilled workers will help build "the metaverse," a futuristic notion for connecting people online that encompasses augmented and virtual reality.
Facebook executives have been touting the metaverse as the next big thing after the mobile internet as they also contend with other matters such as antitrust crackdowns, the testimony of a whistleblowing former employee and concerns about how the company handles vaccine-related and political misinformation on its platform.
In a separate blog post Sunday, the company defended its approach to combating hate speech, in response to a Wall Street Journal article that examined the company's inability to detect and remove hateful and excessively violent posts. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Facebook, Metaverse, Augmented and Virtual Reality
As children, singing the rhyme Rock A Bye Baby was a fun thing to do. It was a statement of thrill and adventure to imagine a child climbing to the top of a tree and rocking to sleep. Especially in the Indian context, rocking a baby to sleep by attaching the cradle to the tree is quite a common thing. But the origin of this rhyme, or lullaby, seems rooted in other histories.
The most popular notion associated with this lullaby is of women leaving their babies tied to tree branches, rocking to sleep with the wind. It is believed that at the time this lullaby was written, it was inspired by a coloniser who saw the Native American women tie their children in birch bark cradles to the trees. The babies went to sleep rocked by the gusts of wind while the parents went about their tasks.
A Native American wooden cradle Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Another interpretation of the rhyme is that it is an allegory to Betty Kenny, or Kenyon, as some versions record it. The Kenyons were a tree-dwelling family, and they used to live in a yew tree. They had carved the tree branches to fit their babies and allowed them to nestle there during the day. The part of the rhyme that talks about falling off the tree is a little scary in this context, but the speculation is that the tree branches were quite low.
The final interpretation of the lullaby has political allusions. King James II of England, was the last Catholic king. He had no heir and reportedly used another baby to impersonate his own. But he was found out and exiled in the Glorious Revolution that took place after he was deposed. The act of falling down from the cradle is a metaphor for those who make mistakes from being overconfident or proud.
The many versions that exist of the rhyme/lullaby make it confusing to really know why it was written in such a strange and morbid manner. Each version points to a different time in history where certain practices were prevalent. However, despite all the various interpretations available, the lullaby itself works wonders in rocking babies to sleep, and perhaps that is the only reason it has survived.
Keywords: Lullaby, Rhyme, King James II, Kenyons, Native Americans, Colonisers
As kids growing up in different states, Shoba Narayan and Michael Maliakel shared a love of one favorite film — "Aladdin." Both are of Indian descent, and in the animated movie, they saw people who looked like them.
That shared love has gone full-circle this month as Narayan and Maliakel lead the Broadway company of the musical "Aladdin" out of the pandemic, playing Princess Jasmine and the hero from the title, respectively.
"Growing up, there was such little South Asian and Middle Eastern representation in the American media, and Princess Jasmine was really all I had. She was a huge role model to me as someone who was intelligent and strong and independent and beautifully curious, and that's who I wanted to be," says Narayan, who grew up in Pennsylvania.
The pair arrived at "Aladdin" in very different ways. Maliakel is making his Broadway debut, but Narayan is a musical theater veteran, having made her Broadway debut in "Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812" and touring with "Hamilton" as Eliza Hamilton.
She was in "Wicked" as Nessarose when the pandemic shut down Broadway in March 2020. Her agent called in April with the prospect of auditioning for Jasmine. She sang "A Whole New World" over Zoom on gallery mode, pretending to be on a magic carpet. "It was a very unique experience," she says, laughing.
Disney producers flew her to New York to meet face-to-face and go through the material again. Narayan was asked to read with different Aladdin potential actors. She got the gig: "I went from a wicked witch to a Disney princess. Can't complain."
Maliakel, a native of New Jersey, came from the world of opera, a baritone who studied at Johns Hopkins University and the 2014 winner at the National Musical Theatre Competition. He trained his voice to be flexible, waiting for the right window to open.
"I didn't really see a lot of people doing what I wanted to do in the world," he says. "There just wasn't a whole lot of representation. So it's really hard to imagine yourself in those scenarios when you have no one to look up to as a role model or an example of how it could be done."
He played Porter and understudied Raoul in a national tour of "The Phantom of the Opera," which ended its run in Toronto just before the pandemic hit.
"I always dreamed that Broadway might happen someday," he says, laughing. "I'm just kind of dipping my toes into the waters in one of the biggest male roles in the business right now, and it's kind of surreal."
'Aladdin' featured as a Broadway Musical with a cast of Indian origin playing the main roles Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Broadway's "Aladdin" is a musical adaptation of the 1992 movie starring Robin Williams. The musical's story by Chad Beguelin hews close to the film: A street urchin finds a genie in a lamp and hopes to woo a princess while staying true to his values and away from palace intrigue.
Key Alan Menken songs from the film — including "Friend Like Me," ″Prince Ali" and "A Whole New World" — are used. The lyricists are the late Howard Ashman, Tim Rice and Beguelin.
The show — and it's two new leads — had a few performances to celebrate Broadway's return from the pandemic this fall before it was forced to close for several days when breakthrough COVID-19 cases were detected. The actors say the safety of the cast, crew and audience are paramount and closing was the smart move.
"This is how we keep theater going in the pandemic," Maliakel says. "The other option is to just not do it at all. And that's not an option. A week's worth of lost performances, when we look back on things in a year or so, I think will just be a little blip on the radar."
They both look back with heart-thumping appreciation at the early performances when they welcomed back theater-starved audiences, who gave the company 3-minute standing ovations just for singing "A Whole New World."
"It is every brown girl's dream to be singing that song on an actual flying carpet," says Narayan. "And the fact that I got to do it on Broadway in the full costume with the lights and the 32-piece orchestra beneath me — oh, my gosh, I really had to hold it together. It was emotional overload for me."
Maliakel recalls that he and his brothers wore out their VHS cassette version of "Aladdin." He remembers having lunchboxes, pajamas and bed sheets with the film's theme. Aladdin was "every little brown kid's prince." Now he is that prince.
"Now, finally, to get to get paid to do it on the world's largest stage — it's not lost on me how crazy that is," he says. "The responsibility of my position right now feels really great. This moment sort of feels bigger than me in some ways, and I don't take that lightly. I think it's a really exciting time." (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Aladdin, Broadway, Musical, Indian Descendant cast,