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By Sreyashi Mazumdar
Crooning away to a music bereaved of religion, class, sex and creed, the bauls or the heretics of Bengal are on a persistent search for a world which is still clandestine; a world which beholds the supreme power.
Wading through the tumultuous stages of our lives, we have often called for that supreme soul or God to whom we render ourselves selflessly, waiting for that cosmic power to save us from the hardest times we run into, but have we ever trailed on the validity of its existence?
These mystics from the heart of rural Bengal are in an incessant search of God or the Moner Manush– as they address the supreme power. Baul philosophy has always been a subject of deliberation across intellectual circles; however, the discussions have always been restricted to plush rooms and books.
The term baul is derived from a Sanskrit word Batul– meaning the air around us. The very meaning of the term encapsulates the tenets of baul philosophy and sheds light on the lifestyle donned by a baul; like the air even a baul isn’t tethered by a constricted territory, societal rules and complex dogmas. The philosophy or the movement has no particular timeline which would direct one to its genesis. It can be precisely termed as an experience of eccentricity, an intoxicated state that one gets subjected to during his or her hunt for God.
A baul is bereft of worldly reveries and pain. Heading towards a never ending path, plucking their ektara, donning an orange robe, a baul fleshes out the apparitional meaning of life. Baul philosophy is considered to be a concoction of Hinduism and Islam with an essence of Buddhism in it.
Lalon Fakir is considered to be the principal proponent of baul music. Originally set forth as a movement, baul music turned out to be a popular folk form later on.
Through their music, bauls retail the true meaning of life, a life that is otherwise considered to be a journey with episodes of good and bad. “We are on a constant run, trying to find out the supreme truth, the supreme father. We, bauls, through our music try to preach the real essence of life, try to heal the anguish etched in one’s mind,” says Ganesh Chandra Rai, who despite being a family man aspires to take to a baul’s lifestyle.
In order to become a baul, one needs to be devoid of temporal pleasures, one requires forsaking his worldly entanglements in order to transcend every barrier and finally reach the zenith- a point which would endorse the unison of the supreme soul and the individual. “I often ruminate if only I could let go every responsibility I am tied to and embark on a journey that would lead me to the supreme soul,” Ganesh rues while crooning away to his favourite song by Lalon Fakir.
Despite being an antediluvian form of music, bauls are gradually heading to a dead end, owing to the kind of popular culture creeping in, with the advent of Bollywood music and hard rock. Besides that, taking to reclusiveness isn’t an easy option; corporeal ties at times leashes ones desire to unearth the other world owing to which the search remains incomplete. “It’s not easy to give up your worldly pleasure and set forth on a journey completely devoid of somatic desires and financial responsibilities…Now a day, you will hardly find a person completely adopting a baul’s lifestyle,” adds Ganesh while plucking his ektara.
Transgressing their corporeal bonds, these mystics sweep across boundaries, hoping to veil the unveiled and finally blow the conch of triumph orchestrating their unison with the unknown, the supreme power, God.
Even as India celebrates reaching a milestone of 100 crore Covid vaccine doses, Snapdeal co-founder and COO Rohit Bansal on Friday lauded a man who facilitated 64 registrations for the vaccine on the CoWin portal. In a video shared on his Facebook and Twitter page, Bansal hailed Sonu Kumar as a "citizen celebrity".
Bansal said that Kumar not only helped "just co-workers and family but complete strangers too. With patience, empathy and uncanny jugaad". He added that Kumar joined him "many moons ago" and completed his open school from a parking lot.
"Education has helped this wonderful man enable others to get India back on track. Bravo! The CoWin portal on Thursday mentioned that a total of 100 crore vaccine doses has been administered so far to the eligible population under the vaccination drive in India, nine months after the nationwide inoculation programme was started to protect the people against Covid-19.
"It's a cause of significant celebration and happiness," Bansal said in the video. He said that while people just help a few around them, Kumar "bridged the digital gap" for 64 people, who were finding it difficult to register themselves online on the vaccine portal. Kumar said he doesn't feel that he has contributed much towards the 100 crore vaccine dose count. "I have been able to help only 64 people, if I was able to help more I would have been happier." (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: cowin, covid, india, people, Rohit bansal, Sonu kumar, vaccine
KAMPALA, UGANDA — Uganda has kickstarted a trial for the injectable HIV drugs cabotegravir and rilpivirine. Researchers and those living with HIV say the trial will likely end pill fatigue, fight stigma, improve adherence and ensure patients get the right dosage.
The two drugs have been in use as tablets. The World Health Organization last year licensed their use as injectables.
While the two injectables already went through trials in Europe and North America, this will be the first time they are tested in an African population for efficacy and safety in an African health care system.
Uganda is one of three African countries, along with Kenya and South Africa, which got approval from the WHO to carry out the trials. However, Kenya and South Africa have yet to acquire approvals to start their trials, expected by the end of the year.
Uganda and Kenya will both have three trial sites and there will be two in South Africa, with a total of 512 participants -- 202 from Uganda, 160 from Kenya and 150 from South Africa.
Dr. Ivan Mambule, the lead project researcher at the Joint Clinical Research Center, says participants will need one injection every two months.
"We are going to choose participants who are already on ART [anti-retroviral treatment] and are stable on ART. And we will randomize them to either continue on their normal treatment, which is the pill that they've been taking, or to switch them to this injectable. The injection is on the buttock," he expressed.
In this photo taken in Nov. 15, 2012 a patient, right, is attended to, at the US sponsored Themba Lethu, HIV/AIDS Clinic at the Helen Joseph hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa Image credit: VOA
Uganda has 1.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Barbara Kemigisa who is living with HIV and founded the Pill Power Foundation working with rural women, says the injectable drugs will increase adherence to treatment and ensure people get the right dosage.
"One of the things that affects adherence is the fact that people have to hide medicine. In the village, people are hiding medicine in the kitchen roof, in trees, in bushes, in a baby's shoe…If someone is wrapping the medicine in like five plastic bags and digs a hole in the garden and keeps the medicine there, by the time someone is taking that medicine, it's no longer medicine, it's poison," Kemigisa points out.
Nicholas Niwagaba, who has worked with young people living with HIV welcomes the trial, saying it will reduce the pill burden and fight stigma.
"Young people feel like, this is a lot of pills to take. Those who are on the first line, they will have to take one tablet a day. There are those who are on second line and they have to take more than one pill and they have to take it in the morning and in the evening. And of course, this requires you to have actually a balanced diet which is really a challenge for most of young people especially those from vulnerable communities," he says.
According to the WHO, there are 25.7 million people living with HIV in Africa. With only the pill currently available to manage the scourge, this injectable may come as a relief for people living with HIV/AIDS. (VOA/RN)
(This article is originally by Halima Athumani)
Keywords: HIV, WHO, Africa, Research, Uganda
By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe
After the long dull period of the pandemic and lockdowns, one must be looking forward to the festival season with new excitement and zest. So obviously you want to look and feel your best. Beauty regimes are not just skin deep, they de-stress and uplift your spirits. Prepare for the special celebrations this festive season with the ultimate beauty well-being checklist which will not only make you look good on the outside but also shine from the inside.
Rachit Gupta, Director, OxyGlow Cosmetics Pvt. Ltd, said, "Festivals are a time to shine bright and invest in a proper beauty well-being regime from head to toe. The key is to know what ingredients suit you and choose the brand which ensures good quality products. Especially in the day and time when there is so much stress, pollution, sun damage, etc. One cannot go wrong with the beauty product that they are using. The right products can unleash one's true beauty and make them refreshed to be able to enjoy the festivities fully."
* Headturner -- How your hair looks to make a lot of difference to your complete look. But do not forget a proper hair care regime can relax and clear your mind. Start with a good oil massage which provides nourishment to the hair and scalp. It throws the stress right out. Coconut oil, Amla oil, Argan oil and Red onion oil are especially recommended. Special occasions call for special treatment, after a good hair wash deep condition your hair with a mask. A Keratin hair mask works wonders by putting life into your hair. Finish up with a vitamin-enriched serum for lustrous hair.
How your hair looks to make a lot of difference to your complete look. | Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
* No makeup can match the beauty and softness of a fresh face -- get rid of those tension lines and that stress off your skin with a well-rounded face care routine. Start with a D-tan bleach to make your skin brighter. Follow-up with a facial kit for cleansing, toning and hydration. Best facial kits are the ones that have activated charcoal or acne treatment. Even a gold or diamond facial kit gives excellent results. Cucumber-based toners are recommended. This routine would restore your glow and leave you radiant and pampered.
Get rid of those tension lines and that stress off your skin with a well-rounded face care routine. | Photo by pure julia on Unsplash
* Wink, Pout and Brows -- We often forget about small things like lips, eyelashes and eyebrows. Don't underestimate their role in perfecting the look. A dash of castor oil massaged on eyelashes and eyebrows would render a natural shine. For the photo-ready pout start with a natural lip scrub and apply lip balm for hydration and protection.
* Body positivity -- scrub, tone, polish and moisturise for gleaming skin. One can never go wrong with skin moisturizing with shea butter and aloe vera based body lotions.
Body positivity -- scrub, tone, polish and moisturise for gleaming skin. | Photo by Estúdio Bloom on Unsplash
* Happy hands and feet -- a good manicure and pedicure which massages the tension out leaving the hands and feet eased are a must on the list. Opt for products that have Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Aloe Vera. They reduce fine lines, treat sun damage and rehydrate for younger-looking skin.
* Great nails don't happen by chance -- beautiful looking nails add liveliness, it elevates the look of your attire as much as the right accessories. Shape them and nourish them. Paint them bold or paint them chic to suit your personality.
Just before the festive season, we pay attention to our beauty well-being, but the best practice is to include the things that suit you in your lifestyle. | Photo by Billie on Unsplash
Just before the festive season, we pay attention to our beauty well-being, but the best practice is to include the things that suit you in your lifestyle. It is important to repair and rejuvenate to stay well, and feel good. So, take care of yourself with simple regimes and good quality products.
(Article originally published on IANSlife) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: natural, scrub, hydration, vitamin, stress, products, beauty