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By Sreyashi Mazumdar
However, the looked-for independence had struck a staccato of delirium, hounding the people of the country with the imminent peril of partition. The country was still in sync with revelry when its citizens were forced to abandon their abodes, property and livestock, attuning to the geographical divide which resulted in the formation of Pakistan and India.
Despite toeing the 68th year of Independence, there are people who still find themselves in a dither while retrieving those shrivelled memories of independence. The twitch on their faces unravels a sense of woes attached to the bygone days of freedom.
Dipping his coveted Parle-G biscuit into his cup of black coffee, the garrulous 80-year-old Roshan Lal Thackral unfolded his treasure trove; a trove filled with memories of the past. Recalling his experience of the country’s much awaited independence on the 15th of August 1947, he said, “Independence for me was nothing less than a death knell which kicked off a journey of hysteria, pain and sufferings. With the country’s independence knocking at the door, the tremors of partition seemed to crack down upon us- me, my family and my fellow countrymen- with a seemingly impending danger waiting at the other end of the threshold.”
Flipping through the withered pages of past, he further lamented, “We were forced to leave Multan. I was in class six then; the Strum and Drang that was unleashed by partition had left us tongue tied. The seething tension in the newly formed Pakistan wasn’t conducive for us Hindus.”
“I still remember how my father Bhagat Parmanand ji left no stone unturned in an attempt at salvaging the Hindus settled in Multan from the perils of partition. He was the last one to board the India-bound train; he made it sure that each and every Hindu from Multan or nearby villages was transported to India safe and sound,” he retailed.
Expatiating the long-lost moments of struggle, Dhinanath Gogia who had testified partition as a toddler lamented, “We were not in a position to celebrate our independence. We were forced out of our houses. We had to struggle a lot initially. Most of the refugees like us had taken to the streets of Old Delhi. In order to make both ends meet, we had to take up menial jobs.”
“My elder brother used to inflate balloons and I used to sell them near the temple,” interrupted old Thackral. “We wouldn’t have stood our grounds hadn’t it been for the Indian government. The government made sure that each and every one of us ended up with land and food. The entire stretch of G.B.Road and Kamala Market was rendered to the refugees, they were allotted houses and shops,” recalled Thackral.
“I was 10-year-old in the year 1947. We were left to ourselves; the Indian government didn’t do its bit to save us from the precariousness. Both Hindus and Muslims had to go through terrible circumstances. Trains carrying Hindu passengers were vandalized, they were set ablaze,” recollected the puckered face Harish Mukki with his eyes still reflecting the pangs of partition.
“I would never like to go back to Pakistan. I am happy here in India. For me bygones are bygones and I do not intend to jaunt in those alleys of Pakistan which force me to stumble upon dreadful memories of partition,” Thackral added.
On the contrary Mukki had a different idea of Pakistan. He revels in the fact that he was bestowed with a warm welcome on his last visit to the country in the year 2000. He was happy to gab with his friends settled in Pakistan. “People still remember me over there and I couldn’t feel any form of agnosticism pervading our reunion. I was happy to junket in those streets which drove me back to my childhood,” he said.
Therefore, even though the crack of dawn on the 15th of August brought with itself freedom and exempted Indians of incessant misery and bondage, the surging climate wasn’t all hunky-dory. There was an India which was still bemoaning at the country’s uncalled partition; a partition which kicked off an era of neo colonial politics with people still being fettered by territorial limits and communal propositions.
However, fending off politics and territorial hegemony, their voices in unison reiterated their faith in the country, hailing “Hamara Bharat Mahan, Jai Hind!”
Great historic events that have shaped the world and changed the outlines of countries are often not recorded in memory, or so we think. Wars made sure to destroy evidence and heritage, and the ones who survived told the tale of what really happened. Folklore, albeit through oral tradition kept alive many such stories, hidden in verse, limericks, and rhymes.
Ringa-ringa-roses, a common playtime rhyme among children across the world, is an example of folklore that has survived for many centuries. It tells the story of the The Great Plague of London which ravaged the city between 1665-1666.
The Plague broke out from improper disposal of garbage and poor sewage conditions. Fleas from the rats that lived in the sewers spread the disease that killed more than half of London's population. Many people fled from their homes as there was no medicine available for those who were infected.
Beak-shaped masks worn during the Great Plague of London Image source: wikimedia commons
It was around this time that masks began to be invented. The first masks were shaped like beaks, and were worn not to protect the wearer from the disease, but to the prevent them from being able to smell the decay and death around them, which they called 'miasma'. The beaks were filled with floral herbs that allowed doctors and nurses to tend to the sick without being reviled from the smell.
Children are often seen forming circles by holding hands and reciting loudly,
Pockets full of posies
We all fall down"
An illustration of the Great Plague of London, 1665 Image source: wikimedia commons
When the last line is sung, they break the circle and fall down. The roses and posies are believed to be the preferred fragrances inside the masks, and a single sneeze (a-tishoo) was enough to infect the one who was exposed to the disease. Consequently, they fell down, ill, and later died.
An alternative version of this rhyme is sung about the fall of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the aftermath of World War II. The roses and posies are interchanged with geranium and uranium, to symbolise what was used in the atomic bomb. But this version is not as famous the original.
Keywords: Rhymes, Ringa-ringa-roses, Great Plague of London, WWII, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Folklore
In modern times, many social movements aim to bring reform to the society we live in, on the basis of certain existing patterns. Patriarchy is something that many aim to cleanse our cultures of, to usher in the era of social and gender equality. Despite all these so-called movements, in southern India, certain societies that patronise matriarchy have existed since before India's independence. The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country.
Kerala remains separate from the rest of India in many ways. Be it literacy policy, form of government, or cultural practices, this state does not always conform to the ideal that India is known for. Even so with their social structure. Certain tribes have remained matrilineal, where the decision-making power rests with the eldest female of the family.
The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country. Image source: wikimedia commons
A male member, who is the close confidante of the matriarch is chosen. He plays a crucial role in representing the male members of his family, and his opinion is highly valued. He is called karavanan. The men reside in separate rooms or in separate houses, and do not interfere in the upbringing of children. Property is also passed down along the lineage of the eldest female. Among the Nairs, matriarchy is more prominently adhered to than the Ezhavas, who have some patrilocal connections.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Their matrilineal descent is known as Aliyasantana.
The story is told of a demon who threatened to destroy a kingdom if the king did not sacrifice his sons, but the king's sister comes forward to offer her children in sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom. The demon is touched and does not destroy the city. Since then, the kingdom, or the property is inherited through female lineage.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Image source: wikimedia commons
In the recent past, many of these matriarchal societies have been reduced to matrilineal societies by certain governmental laws. They fall under the patriarchal scheme of the rest of the state but have reserved the right to pass on property and heritage through the female line. In the North east of India, matriarchal dominance is far more resilient than the south.
Keywords: Bunts, Billava, Nair, Ezhava, Aliyasantana, Matrilineal, South India, Karnataka, Kerala
Apple inc. Is an American multinational tech firm specialized in consumer electronics, computer programs, and internet services founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to manufacture Wozniak's Apple iComputer. It is the world's top tech company in turnover (totaling $274.5 billion in 2020) and its most valuable corporation. Apple is the fourth-largest PC seller by unit sales and the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. On the day of the live event, Apple announced the iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 13, as well as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. | Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini.
iPad: The 10.2-inch iPad is equipped with a solid A13 processor that delivers 20 percent quicker performance than the preceding version. According to Apple, it is now three times faster than a Chromebook. A new 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage, which utilizes machine learning to optimize the front-facing camera during FaceTime video chats, as well as more incredible accessory support, including compatibility with the first-generation Apple Pencil, are among the new features. For 64GB of storage, the iPad costs $329.
iPad Mini: In addition to reduced borders and more rounded edges, the 8.3-inch iPad mini also has improved front and back cameras. A liquid retina display, USB-C compatibility, magnetic support for the Apple Pencil, an enhanced speaker system, and new hues such as pink and purple are all features of the new Apple iPad Mini. The starting price is $499.
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini. | Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash
The other major unveiled products include:
iPhone 13 and other variants: The iPhone 13 range is almost identical to the iPhone 12 lineup, with a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro, and a 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. It was also revealed that the Watch Series 7 has a smaller "S7" processor, which may allow for a bigger battery or other components to be housed in a smaller footprint. The gadgets have a revolutionary design that includes a dual-camera system, placed diagonally. Apple's iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have longer-lasting batteries than the previous generation of devices. In addition, Apple claims that the iPhone 13 will have a battery life that is 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12, and the iPhone 13 mini will have a battery life that is 1.5 hours longer. A more energy-efficient display, an upgraded 5G chip, and functionality called "Cinematic Mode," similar to the famous Portrait mode function but is only available for movies, are among the other enhancements. The A15 Bionic chip present in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini is also used in the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, also 6.1-inch devices. However, it also has a five-core CPU, which promises graphics that are 50% quicker than previous models. Other notable features of the Pro devices include a brilliant Super Retna XDR display with a higher refresh rate and long-lasting battery life. Now, for the price, it will start at $699 for the iPhone 13 mini with 128 GB of storage, $799 for the iPhone 13 with 128 GB of storage, and the Pro and Pro Max have starting prices of $999 $1,099, respectively.
Apple Watch Series 7: The new Apple Watch Series 7, which is smaller and has a larger screen than its previous model, was introduced by Apple on Wednesday. There is a 20% increase in screen size over Series 6 on the new watch. A complete keyboard that you can touch or slide to write out text messages can show 50% more text. It starts at $399.
Keywords: Apple, iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone Mini, Apple event 2021