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AAP is about Indian people getting their due, which they deserve on account of being independent: Somnath Bharti
By Nitin Kesar
From holding meetings in parks to ‘Mohallah Sabhas,’ MLA Somnath Bharti is trying out different ways to reach out to the people of his Malviya Nagar constituency in South Delhi. During the recently held meeting of the Aam Aadmi Party’s Political Affairs Committee, he was appointed as a Sah Prabhari (Independent Charge) to look after Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshwadeep and Puducherry.
In an exclusive interview with NewsGram, former Law Minister of Delhi shared his thoughts on AAP’s strategy for South India, his plans for his constituency and the change in the system that is coming slowly. Excerpts:
Nitin Kesar- What are your views about Andaman and Nicobar as a political seat, since AAP is expanding there?
Somnath Bharti- I have been given the charge of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshwadeep and Puducherry, and each of them is of paramount importance. AAP is not about the political ambitions of a group of people. It is about Indian people getting their due, which they deserve on account of being independent. It is about giving power to the people so that they can decide their own fate.
NK- The politics in the south is very much regional. How is AAP planning to connect with the people there?
SB- AAP isn’t trying to inject people from outside. We are trying to find local people who want a system that responds to local needs, truly and honestly. The locals will trigger ideology conceptualized by them.
NK- How difficult is this challenge for AAP?
SB– Initially, I thought it’d be very challenging. But after I met the local volunteers, I did not have the same opinion. They are so enthusiastic and selfless, with a drive to turn the system people-centric.
NK- What about Andaman? Hardly anybody talks about that place and politics in the same breath. What are the chances of an AAP victory there?
SB- Andaman has a mixed population like Delhi. There are Hindi, Telugu, and Bengali speaking people. We have about 2% votes there and our volunteers there will be able to build a strong base.
NK- What’s the general vision for the constituency?
SB- I’ve inherited a system in ICU, and I am trying to bring it to a normal ward with my work, by bringing new technology. Till now, leaders have not been available to the common people. However, we are accessible 24*7. People can come anytime they want and there is no ‘dalal’ (tout).
NK- What’s the impact of AAP’s policies on people?
SB – If your body becomes habitual to poison, its detoxification takes time. They believe an MLA is too big a man. For them to take me as Aam Aadmi will take time although it is happening. They have started taking me as a brother or a friend. But the comfort level that one finds between friends is still amiss at times. Specially, in people from poor colonies.
NK- What’s the mechanism for the policies to reach the downtrodden?
SB- Our Modus Operandi is bottom up. On every Saturday, there is a Mohallah Sabha and I’ve got four wards. We have all the authorities there. People come and put all the problems in front of them. Then they are given a date by when their problem will be resolved by the authorities.
NK- Three main priorities?
SB- First is water and sewage problem. It’s embarrassing that after 67 years, a constituency like Malviya Nagar (MN), which is mostly posh has water and sewage problem. I don’t know what BJP and Congress did so far. They have been deliberately inefficient. It’s not like they were not intelligent enough to solve the problems, but they used that intelligence to loot them.Security is another big problem. I’ve installed cameras in the market. These are good cameras with a range of 100 meters. Being a technology savvy person myself, I have been able to tell the specifications of the cameras.I have decided to turn MN into a model constituency.
NK – Time?
SB- This will take time but within a year we’ll see tangible changes. But the status quo is scared of changes. It doesn’t want change to happen. It feels that if the fundamental questions of people are answered then who will answer their next level of questions? Huge talent is available and it needs to be put to action.
NK- What about the WiFi model? What are technological hurdles being faced?
SB: I decided WiFi for my constituency initially and then the party picked it up to be implemented all over Delhi. I am grateful that the party picked up my proposal. Now they are planning pan-Delhi. I am not a part of the team which is planning this, so I can’t say much.
NK- What has your learning experience been so far as a politician?
SB- You have to be very patient, and be ready to get abused. Being a politician so far had been a position of exploitation. Till the time people see you differently, they will not understand you. If I go to a place and have a cup of tea, it becomes a big thing. People say how humble I am. This is because MLAs till now were VVIPs. A few days back, I went to some houses in the morning to see if the water supply was proper, and they couldn’t believe that an MLA could ever come to their house to inquire about their problems. This is my spirit of service. For me, politics is a spiritual journey to serve human beings.
NK- In your constituency, are you planning any measures to curb pollution?
SB- Pollution, or for that matter any problem, arises when there is self-interest. We have decided to have last man connectivity to people, so they don’t bring their cars to the metro.
NK- What about the green cover?
SB- I celebrated my birthday by planting 100 saplings. I am going to celebrate every event in this way. The idea is that the moment you leave out your selfish interest, a politician can do wonders. You have money, power, and know-how about foreign advancements.
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