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Julie Rahra

I celebrate my Indian ancestry because India was born in me !

The above-captioned statement is an adaptation of the words of the late Ghana President Kwame Nkrumah. Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley, repeated the axiom at the September meeting of CARICOM and African States, by saying: "I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me."

The Indian Diaspora should be inspired by Blacks' affirmation of their race, ancestry and consciousness, and strive to emulate it. Dr. Rowley's public statement of his pride in his race and roots met with no public outcry. We should all have the freedom to do so without criticism from others. He is a leader of a country with a large Indian-origin population. They did not rise up to call him racist or call for an apology.

Yet Indian leaders in Trinidad, Guyana and Suriname cannot speak in like terms without being attacked and called racist. They are afraid to publicly express their pride in themselves and their ancestry.

Africans in the Diaspora are very proactive in fighting for equality and attacking racism by others against themselves, as they rightly should. Yet, they take umbrage when others speak out against racism. Open your mouth about it and you are immediately called racist. I call this type of aggression: "bullyism."

All races stood with the Black Lives Movement (BLM) to protest the injustices against Blacks, myself included as a person of Indian descent. Justice and equality do not come in varying shades, nor is it partial. It is time Black leaders speak up for other races when they are attacked by individuals, institutions and governments.

The world condemned apartheid in South Africa. White American leaders also stood up for justice and freedom for Blacks and marched with them and Martin Luther King. Indians in Uganda were expelled, and recently there was racial violence against Indians in South Africa. Did Black leaders speak out against this? No. Instead, they embraced South African President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa at the CARICOM/Africa meeting in September.

Imagine if the Indo-Presidents of Suriname and Guyana held a summit with India, and both leaders publicly affirmed their pride in their race and their ancestral homeland. What would be the reaction? Imagine President Chandrikapersad "Chan" Santokhi and President Mohamed Irfaan Ali echoing Rowley by saying: "I am not Indian because I was born in India, but because India was born in me." There would surely be an outcry of racism? Where is the sense of fairness? Are there two sets of rules for judgement? Wouldn't this be hypocrisy?

All peoples everywhere should publicly take pride in their race, culture and ancestral land if they so choose. Indians came from a great ancient civilisation and culture. They should be given the freedom to celebrate that. They must not be afraid to say so publicly because of the threat of criticism from others who boldly embrace their own heritage. Dr. Rowley, thank you for your bold statement. Your affirmation and pride in your African race and ancestry mean we can all do the same, hopefully without any outcry.In celebration of my ancestry, I have created a repository to store information about Indo- Caribbean history and culture. Please visit us at INDO CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL on Facebook.

(This article is originally written by Julie Rahra for


Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

The only constant in life is change itself.

By Devina Kaur

Everything in life is temporary. The only constant in life is change itself. That is a reality that we cannot deny. The beauty of this fact is that it allows us to confront our fears, trust the magic of the moment, and enjoy the precious gift of life. What lasts forever is our true self -- the real you -- the person you were born to be. If you feel stuck, trapped, boring or insecure -- acknowledge yourself, find yourself and who you really are on the inside. Your shiny sexy brilliant self is there. It's been there all along. You just need to unveil it.

It's a very common question to ask: "Who am I?" and it's not an easy question to answer. We might be able to give a definition of ourselves, like professional or student, or that we're introverts or extroverts but this doesn't really represent our true selves. We might also try to describe our best qualities and say that we're kind and smart but again, these qualities only indicate the surface level of who we really are.

Black and white shot of man sitting on night bus through dirty window in Boston It's a very common question to ask: "Who am I?" and it's not an easy question to answer. | Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

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Dia Mirza champions sustainable fashion

Actor and environmental activist, Dia Mirza, who is also the National Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) was showstopper for Indian designers Abraham & Thakore at the recently held LFW X FDCI event. The designer duo who are pioneers of slow fashion and sustainability in the Indian fashion landscape showcased a timeless sustainable collection.

IANSlife spoke with Mirza on sustainable choices when it comes to fashion.

Read Excerpts:

Q: Did you enjoy the on-ground fashion event and the energy that came with the physical show and appearance?
A: Yes absolutely. It was just so refreshing and wonderful to finally be back from a virtual audience. Last year we did a digital show and the energy was just not there, this is an interactive experience and we draw so much from real people.

Q: The outfit that was chosen for you, how did it complement your style?
A: It's a garment that I think involves and is reflective of what I stand for, I deeply care about sustainability and I love the fact that the garment has been made with repurposed material, used and created with a hundred per cent post-consumer bottles, and made by the waste generated from the pieces of fabric that we discard while creating other garments. So it was a very special garment that really and truly celebrated repurposing and reusing and upcycling.

Dia Mirza is an Indian model, actress, producer, and social worker who predominantly works in Hindi films. Mirza won the title of Miss Asia Pacific International in 2000. IANSlife spoke with Mirza on sustainable choices when it comes to fashion. | Wikimedia Commons

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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Delhi to get new QR-based driving livenses and registration certificates.

In a step towards digitisation of the system, Delhi Transport Department will soon issue QR based Smart cards for driving licenses (DLs) and registration certificates (RCs).

As per a statement, the new driving licence will have an advanced microchip with features like Quick Response (QR) code and Near Field Communication (NFC). The new RC will have the owner's name printed on the front while the microchip and the QR code would be embedded at the back of the card.

The cards earlier had embedded chips, but chip reader machines were not available in the required quantity with both the Delhi Traffic Police and the Enforcement Wing of the Transport Department. Moreover, chips were designed and implemented by the states concerned, which resulted in difficulties in reading the chip and retrieving information, especially in case of defaulters.

"Now with the QR based smart card, this issue is resolved. This will enable unification in linking and validating one's information to smart cards with Sarathi and Vahan, the two web-based databases of all driving licenses and vehicle registrations," the release added.

The QR is also being implemented nationwide, the QR code reader is easily procurable and will do away with the requirement of any manual intervention altogether. The new cards will also allow two specific materials for their card manufacturing -- PolyVinyl Chloride or PVC, or PolyCarbonate which is slightly more expensive but more durable. (Card Size - 85.6mm x 54.02 mm; Thickness minimum 0.7 mm)

An October 2018 notification of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had made changes to the Driving License and Registration Certificate. The new Smart card based DL and RC, will have chip based/ QR code based recognition system. At the same time, documents such as driving license or registration certificates in electronic formats on DigiLockers and mParivahan were also made valid in place of physical documents and treated at par with original documents.

The QR code also has an added advantage of acting as a safety feature on the smart card. The department will be able to retain records and penalties of the DL holder for up to 10 years on the VAHAN database as soon as a driver/ owner's Smart card is confiscated. The new DLs will also help the government in maintaining records of differently-abled drivers, any modifications made to the vehicles, emission standards and the person's declaration to donate organs. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Delhi, Driving License, Registration License, Digitisation.