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June 20, 2017:
Father of our Constitution, Dr. BR Ambedkar said in the constituent assembly in December 1946, “I know today we are divided politically, socially, and economically. We are a group of warring camps, and I may go even to the extent of confessing that I am probably one of the leaders of such a camp.”
Constitution was the solution to bind the divided India after Independence and our forefathers put their souls to give us the constitution which gives us liberty, equality and fraternity. The only thing they expected was to preserve it for the generations to come and here we stand, 70 years after Independence, trying with all our might to put their efforts in vain by disrespecting our constitutional ideals. From killing daughters to saving the superficial honour to forcing young scholars to commit suicide because of their caste, shows we failed to pay heed to the warnings of Dr BR Ambedkar when he handed over this Constitution to us.
His vision is at stake and to save it we need to understand it.
PREAMBLE: MIRROR OF HIS IDEALS
BR Ambedkar said,” It was indeed a way of life, which recognizes liberty, equality, and fraternity as the principles of life and which cannot be divorced from each other: Liberty cannot be divorced from equality; equality cannot be divorced from liberty. Nor can liberty and equality be divorced from the fraternity. Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of few over the many. Equality without liberty would kill individual initiative. Without fraternity, liberty and equality cannot become a natural course of things.”
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS: LINKING WITH PREAMBLE
The practicality to his three ideals stated in the preamble was given in the fundamental rights. Some of the rights reflecting his ideals are: “Right to Equality” from article 14 to 18 prohibiting all sorts of discrimination and equality before the law and “Right to Freedom from article 19 to 22 giving freedom of speech, expression and right to life and liberty.
But he also knew, these rights won’t help anyone unless some legal provisions are made to safeguard these. So came in the Article 32 which provides the right to all citizens of the country to approach the Supreme Court if their fundamental rights are being violated.
BR AMBEDKAR AND THE DOWNTRODDEN
The sole purpose of the Constitution was to unite Indians in a democracy. From his experience as an untouchable, Ambedkar knew that the first step to give justice to the idea of a constitution was to improve the conditions of the oppressed untouchables whose voices were unheard since ages and to give them opportunities to be at par with the so-called “high castes”. Besides fundamental rights, there was a need for special provisions for the “Dalits (untouchables)”. His proposal of Separate Electorates (wherein only an untouchable voter would have right to cast their vote for the untouchable candidate without the influence from the higher castes) was strongly resented and replaced by the reservation of seats known as “Policy of Inclusion”.
The other ignored sections of the society were women and he knew the progress of a nation is possible by the progress of women. He was touched by how women were used as objects, whose lives were controlled by their male counterparts. He said, “Let each girl who marries stand up to her husband, claim to be her husband’s friend, equal and refuse to be his slave.” He drafted the Hindu Code Bill sanctioning divorce and expanding property rights of widows and daughters. The strong opposition from the patriarchal Indian society didn’t let it pass and Dr. Ambedkar resigned from the post of Law Minister.
THE THREE WARNINGS
Though not able to include some provisions, his vision was noble and his contribution selfless. He gave us three warnings while handing over the world’s best constitution.
- Holding to “Constitutional Methods” for achieving the social and economic objectives
- Avoid hero worship regardless of how great or tall the leader is
- Not to be content with mere political democracy
The question that arises is that have we done justice to our constitution in 7 decades of Indian Independence? The answer lies around us where the citizens have turned a deaf ear to the warnings that came with it.
The recent “Jat Agitation” for the reservation, where people were taking law in their hands, destroying public property and raping women proves how we as a nation have failed to give respect to our Constitution. Abandoning constitutional methods, people are out there creating havoc.
ROHITH VEMULA SUICIDE
Coming to another warning, we have upheld the concept of “One Man One Vote and One Vote One Value” but do we consider “One Man One Value”? The answer is NO. Much to the fears of Dr. Ambedkar, we have sidelined social democracy. The tragic suicide of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit Ph.D. scholar in the Hyderabad Central University, who blamed his birth as a “fatal accident” speaks volumes of the injustice in our society which failed to free itself from the clutches of casteism. This is not just one example of injustice. Every day, hundreds and thousands of atrocities are done against Dalits.
Ambedkar said, “Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics Bhakti or hero-worship, is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship”. In the context of demonetization, is the government becoming a dictator? What was known as a step to eradicate black money, resulted in the deaths of innocent ones and the real black money with the big business houses is still in circulation.
If we want to our children to live in a nation our forefathers dreamt of, we need to take the onus of upholding our constitution.
– by Supreet Aneja of NewsGram.
Facebook must pay a $4.75 million fine and up to $9.5 million in back pay to eligible victims who say the company discriminated against U.S. workers in favor of foreign ones, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
The discrimination took place from at least January 1, 2018, until at least September 18, 2019.
The Justice Department said Facebook "routinely refused" to recruit or consider U.S. workers, including U.S. citizens and nationals, asylees, refugees and lawful permanent residents, in favor of temporary visa holders. Facebook also helped the visa holders get their green cards, which allowed them to work permanently
In a separate settlement, the company also agreed to train its employees in anti-discrimination rules and conduct wider searches to fill jobs.
The fines and back pay are the largest civil awards ever given by the DOJ's civil rights division in its 35-year history.
"Facebook is not above the law and must comply with our nation's civil rights laws," Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke told reporters in a telephone conference.
"While we strongly believe we met the federal government's standards in our permanent labor certification [PERM] practices, we've reached agreements to end the ongoing litigation and move forward with our PERM program, which is an important part of our overall immigration program," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "These resolutions will enable us to continue our focus on hiring the best builders from both the U.S. and around the world and supporting our internal community of highly skilled visa holders who are seeking permanent residence." (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Facebook, Employment, Justice Dept., Recruitment
Tomatoes are a staple in the Indian diet, be it a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian dish. It has to be a part of each meal in some form. As puree, paste, flavour, or diced into the dal. This tangy, sweet, and juicy ingredient was not always Indian. In fact, it did not even grow in India until the British sanctioned it. It is a product of colonization and has come a long way to become part of our everyday meals.
Originally, the tomato was considered poison. Its actual native is debatable. Some say it is European while others argue that is came from indigenous parts of Spain and Portugal. Either way, it is a plant species that is associated with the legendary Nightshade. It looks very similar to this poisonous plant that tomatoes were not even harvested for a long time, for fear of picking Nightshade instead. It was believed that Nightshade caused the blood to turn to acid and that tomatoes had the same property. Later research proved that the plant itself may be poisonous but the fruit is not.
The fruit if the woody nightshade plant Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Tomato is considered a fruit instead of a vegetable because it is cooked. But this theory has an interesting tale behind it. in the United States, in 1887, a tax was levied on the transport of vegetables, but not on fruits. By then, tomatoes had become a huge part of the American diet and traders could not afford to pay the ten percent duty. So, they began to call the large loads they transported fruits, just to avoid the tax due. In time, this is how the tomato came to be regarded. Some scientists went even further and stated that it is a berry. Botanists claim that since it is a part that grows from the flower's ovary and contains seeds, it is a fruit and not a vegetable. But this is a debate that will never end.
Incorporating tomatoes into the Indian diet must have happened so long ago that people do not remember a time without tomatoes, considering how it is the fundamental ingredient of most cuisines. The tomato has a name in every language as well, so the trading between nations, the voyages that brought them to India, and the decoding of the fruit-vegetable must have taken place far earlier than our ancestors remember. Or, perhaps we liked it so much that we decided to use it everywhere and make it our own. Nonetheless, it has been a delightful addition.
Keywords: Tomato, Fruit, Vegetable, Nightshade, Voyage, Staple
Every child who grew up in the 90s and the early 00s has certainly grown up around Tom and Jerry, the adorable, infamous cat-chases-mouse cartoon. The idea of naughtiness and playing mischief had the standards that this particular series set for children and defined how much wreckage was funny enough.
The show's creators, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera initially named their characters Jasper and Jinx. They did not plan for the fame that Tom and Jerry brought them when they released a movie by the name of "Puss Gets the Boot". This movie featured a certain cat and mouse who were a notorious pair, named Jasper and Jinx. When the movie became a hit, the names of the characters were changed and the show shot to fame.
Tom and Jerry became a go-to cartoon for children in the early 00s, and it was one of those shows with a firm foundation, that had already been in the running for decades. The original template had been planned nearly 80 years ago, and the makers did not change it. The music that was played in the many episodes, made a breakthrough in its own way. It is the most easily recognizable melody with utterly nostalgic associations.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons Image credit: wikimedia commons
A set of supporting characters were defined for the show, to occasionally take the focus off the original pair. There was a large, black woman named Mammy Two Shoes and a bulldog who took Jerry's side. Mammy Two Shoes was discontinued because her character portrayed racist tendencies. A tall white woman replaced her, who was kinder and loved mice. Either of the women's faces was never revealed.
Today, Tom and Jerry is still a household name in homes where children love cartoons. There are a host of other shows besides this that aim to replicate the same aspects of the cartoon but do not come close at all. Despite the immense amount of violence in the show, it is a beloved pastime of parents and children alike.
Keywords: Tom and Jerry, Cartoon, Hanna and Barbera, Television