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Ace photographer Raghu Rai was only five years into the profession when the Bangladesh liberation struggle erupted in March 1971. He was dispatched post-haste by The Statesman newspaper to record the exodus of refugees, they would eventually number some 10 million, as they streamed into West Bengal and neighboring states to escape the atrocities being committed by the Pakistani Army.
He could immediately empathize with the refugees being a child of Partition himself when he and his family were uprooted from their Jhang hometown in what is now Pakistan. Rai worked at a furious pace sending back images after images which the newspaper faithfully carried, making him a household name in India and unfolding the horrors that marked the liberation struggle. But then, tragically, his entire body of negatives was lost, till they were recovered, quite by accident.
The outcome is “Bangladesh: The Price of Freedom”, published by Niyogi Books to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of Bangladesh as an independent nation. “I got involved myself in the sense that in 1947 when my family and I were uprooted from Pakistan, we came to India as refugees. Because the newspaper needs one or two pictures every day, my own environment, and being a refugee myself, I got involved in watching the plight of the refugees from East Bengal and their sufferings. And then these negatives were lost. They were put into some big bundle somewhere and never saw the light of the day,” Rai told IANS in an interview.
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“Then suddenly one day my assistant, who was scanning my important photos, said, Here is this packet of photos of Bangladesh refugees’. And I said, Really?’ This was after 40 long years that we discovered it.
“Meanwhile, you know, many photographers from around the world had come and taken pictures of Bangladesh refugees, like Don McCullin from the Sunday Times had done a feature, a very good feature. And I thought, What a great job he’s done!’ And then he had done a quick book and I said, Very good!’ And I had forgotten about my own work. And then I see my work after 40 long years, and I said, My God, it has its own intensity and message that needs to be shared. So then, I spoke to the relevant people and that’s how the book came about,” Rai explained.
What were his thoughts as he once again studied the images and made the selections for the book?
“You see, there were two really important points, one is that in 1971, 72, I was just five years old as a photographer. I was madly, deeply involved. But I was so young as a photographer and then I had seen the work of Don McCullin and, you know, he was 11 years senior to me. And then I discovered my photos and compared my work. And I thought, Let me put it out in the public domain because I have done it.
“So I discovered that even if I was only five years old as a photographer, the intensity and the suffering that I had managed to cover was so powerful and moving that I thought I must share this,” Rai elaborated.
And what an era this recreates! The stories are perhaps not unknown but are retold by a master storyteller the refugee camps, the exodus, the never-ending journey, a whirlwind of poignant, tormented history. And finally, a new nation, a new tomorrow. “Bangladesh: The Price Of Freedom” contains never-before-seen photographs which comprise a significant body of work documenting a turning point in the history of South Asia ï¿½ by someone who was there from the beginning to the end.
In the final denouement, after General Sam Manekshaw, ordered the army to move into action on December 4, 1971, Rai drove with the first column that headed the attack, towards Khulna through Jessore Road, which the Pakistan Army had already abandoned. “The first 40/45 kilometers were easy but then, as we got closer to the Khulna sector, we were greeted by artillery fire with airburst ï¿½ their artillery was locating the enemy with the help of informers on wireless and closing in on targets. We were located and ambushed the airburst caused casualties, as we were moving in the open,” Rai writes in the book.
“I photographed some of the wounded soldiers being taken away. But the question was how many such photographs could I possibly take? The next set of victims could be us. The major who was conducting me wanted me to move to safety. We ran for half a kilometer in a safe direction.
I saw a chai shop and relieved, ordered tea and biscuits, pleased that I had a close encounter of an actual war, had taken action photos and escaped! I was stretching myself on the road when one bullet flew past me. The major shouted for me to lie down. I did ï¿½ and another bullet went past me. I crawled back to the shop and was told by the shopkeeper that the Pakistan Army was on the other side of the rail track, just half a kilometer away.
“This was probably the shortest war fought and won by any nation. This was also due to the fact that the local population in Bangladesh had become hostile to the Pakistan Army. The Indian Air Force did the rest. By day 12 of the war, on December 16, 1971, 93,000 Pakistani soldiers had surrendered to the Indian Army.
“I flew into Dhaka in an army helicopter to witness scenes of jubilation and humiliation ï¿½ of victory and surrender. Indira Gandhi’s bold decision, General Manekshaw’s masterstroke, and General Jacob’s strategic planning had brought an end to nine nightmarish months of brutality and terror rapes, torture and dehumanization of Bangladeshis ï¿½ the price they had to pay for their freedom,” Rai writes. This book is one of four being published by Niyogi Books to mark the 50th anniversary of the Bangladesh war.
“The liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 was like a geopolitical earthquake. No sensitive person in publishing or in any other profession could avoid its huge ramifications. As a publisher, we thought of documenting this event through different books because of an inner urge. There was no grandstanding or expectation of a future commemorative event. This is how the books Bangladesh: The Price of Freedom’, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’ and Blossoms in the Graveyard’ came about,” Trisha De Niyogi, COO and Director, Niyogi Books, told IANS.
“Simultaneously we are bringing out a unique book to commemorate the celebration. This is a first-hand report by a rookie Calcutta journalist from The Statesman, who accompanied the Mukti Bahini fighters at different places in the then East-Bengal. Later on, he also trailed the Indian Army when the latter got seriously involved in the liberation War. The book is titled as Bangladesh Liberation War: Report from Ground Year’ and the writer is Manas Ghosh,” Niyogi added. (IANS/SP)
By Siddhi Jain
The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.
Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.
Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background
'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash
Written for a global audience, the book is targeted at kids between the ages of five and 10, the reason it is embellished with colourful images of families of different types is to appeal to children's sense of sight and drive home the message at the same time. Borthakur believes children are the best place to start because the ages between five and 10 are the most formative, where little ones pick up habits, beliefs and perceptions.
The Guwahati-born author says, "With this book, I'm not trying to take away the job of parents in forming habits, I simply want to do my part as a parent. It is important that we impart the right values in our kids in a bid to build a better, more inclusive and tolerant global society that is fair to everyone." The author's first attempt at a book was an Assamese poetry 'Anubhav', published in 2010.
Set to be published under the label of Author's Channel, the book is like an adventure; a journey into uncharted territories, untouched subjects and matters long ignored. In her words. "The book takes a critical stand in defense of people in society who have had to undergo severe emotional torture for no cause of theirs. It is a terrible conception to think such people any less of a human just for being different," says publisher Aruna Naidu. By September 30, this title, priced at Rs 299, will be available online and in offline bookstores. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Book, children, Guwahati, Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories, moral, story, kids, discrimination, equality
If you feel that clean and well-groomed hands are just an essential prerequisite for women, you might like to think twice. Men should equally pay attention to their hands because our hand houses 1,500 bacteria living on each square centimeter of its skin. You can easily assume what havoc it can create in our body because in India we have the culture of eating with our hands and spaces beneath nails can become breeding heaven for germs. Moreover, clean and maintained hands boost confidence in their daily life activities. Therefore, it's important to keep your hands clean irrespective of your gender by washing or sanitizing at regular intervals. And, to keep them groomed, you don't have to visit a salon.
Rajesh U Pandya, Managing Director, KAI India, gives easy and completely doable tips to follow at home:
* Refrain from harsh soaps: You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. Your soap can have a moisturizing element in it like aloe vera or shea butter. Ensure that you're washing your hands with normal water as hot water can make your hand's skin dry and scaly.
You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. | Photo by Aurélia Dubois on Unsplash
* Clip your nails regularly: Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. After cutting your nails at a comfortable length also file them using a nail filer. Never share your nail care clipper as the germs can get transferred to your loved ones. Also, don't forget to use grime remover to remove hidden germs in corners and beneath nails. Also, you may like to file your nails to have a smooth finish.
* Good quality Nail Clipper: Do not use a rusted or chromium coated nail clipper as it might be harmful to skin and might cause dangerous bacterial infections.
* Stop the habit of nail chewing: Sometimes anxiety or extreme boredom can lead to chewing of nails. This habit only makes your nails uneven and ugly. Sometimes, our unclean nail folds give rise to viral, bacterial or fungal infections, which in turn can make us sick if we chew our nails.
Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. | Pixabay
* Exfoliate your hands: Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. You can buy a scrub or make one at home using brown sugar and olive oil. After scrubbing, you need to massage your hands with moisturizer.
Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. | Wikipedia
* Don't use your nails as tools: Always keep in mind that your nails are like jewels. Never use them to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters, or scraping off labels. This results in unnecessary breakage of nails, making your hands look dirty.
Never use your nails to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters or scraping off labels. | Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash
* Be aware of nail or cuticle inflammation or redness: If there are any signs of infection, disinfect the skin as soon as possible with an anti-bacterial or anti-fungal ointment.
(Article originally written by N.Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Nails, groom, hand, exfoliate, chew, nail clipper, bite, cuticle
Bitcoin has become an essential crypto asset in modern portfolios and investment funds. The confidence generated in this cryptocurrency will depend a lot on the diversification that companies make in their balance sheets in Bitcoin and the increase of institutional investors that allocate a percentage of their funds in this crypto. American fund manager Cathie Wood makes some interesting predictions, both in the rise that the Bitcoin price will experience in the next 5 years, suggesting these institutional investors allocate 5% of their funds; this will help leverage the Bitcoin market.
Bitcoin will grow by a tenfold
Bitcoin is projected to grow by 10 times its current value in five years, i.e., it could reach $500,000. Of course, this will require companies to invest in cryptocurrencies. This makes it necessary to increase the weight of Bitcoin on balance sheets through investments. One of the investment gurus who supports this prediction is Catherine Wood. Contrarily, Ray Dalio, despite being clear that relying on cash is not a good strategy, views Bitcoin with suspicion, although he calls for its investment. This behavior is due to the actions of governments against the cryptocurrency market.
If something is undoubted is the vertiginous increase that cryptocurrencies have had in general, they have risen more than 60% so far this year. So, even when some governments are trying to regulate cryptocurrencies, they will fail. This attempt to regulate will end up triggering even more cryptos, especially Bitcoin, which is the oldest and most solid of that market.
Bitcoin, is the oldest and most solid of the market. | Photo by Executium on Unsplash
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The current Bitcoin price means is time to buy:
The current price of bitcoin invites you to buy, and perhaps it would be foolhardy not to. In either case, bitcoin will always represent money. Maybe some external factors generate some misgivings, but if you refuse to invest in cryptocurrencies, you are basically denying the near future, it would be as if you didn't have a cell phone or internet.
In India, more and more people are becoming convinced of the benefits of holding some Bitcoin. This can be clearly seen in the rapid increase in the number of new accounts at crypto exchanges such as WazirX and CoinDCX.
ALSO READ: How can you trade in Bitcoin in India?
Bitcoin, despite its fluctuations, represents an excellent financial strategy. The support users give is significant. The same cannot be said of the FIAT currencies, which have lost value and support, showing how fragile they are, being subjected to a constant devaluation. As long as confidence in cryptos grows, the foundations will continue to be laid to maintain their rise and to be able to continue making transactions. We know this by previous experience, as has happened with Ether, thanks mainly to the growing activity of Defi and NFT, i.e. decentralized finance and non-fungible tokens.
Remember that when you invest in Bitcoin, you can do it by buying or trading. When you want to make these transactions do it in a secure Exchange, study your finances to invest, manage the risk, and learn to manage your portfolio efficiently.