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By Durga Chakravarty
Whether Sushant Singh Rajput ended his life or was killed is a raging question right now, but this much seems obvious that he was going through a phase of intense mental and psychological pressure in his last days. The situation again spotlights the dark side of the world of glamour and sparkles.
It’s often said that all that glitters is not gold, and Sushant’s untimely demise has opened the Pandora’s Box on how what seems perfect from the outside in Bollywood is often all about pressure, tension and insecurity.
It’s not just Bollywood, but also globally, too. Several known names such as Chester Bennington, Kurt Cobain, Marilyn Monroe, Heath Ledger and Robin Williams among many others have succumbed under the pressure of courting fame or living up to its demands.
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Here are a few names among Indian celebrities who could not deal with the pressures of fame.
SUSHANT SINGH RAJPUT (2020)
Sushant, 34, rose to fame with his performance as Manav in the TV show “Pavitra Rishta”. He made a swift transition to the big screen in 2013 with the film “Kai Po Che!”. He was then seen in films like “Shuddh Desi Romance”, “M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story”, “Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!”, “Drive”, “Kedarnath”, “Chhichhore” and “Dil Bechara”.
In his run, Sushant was in a relationship with actress Ankita Lokhande. He was rumoured to be dating actress Kriti Sanon and, finally, actress Rhea Chakraborty was his girlfriend. He was found hanging in his residence in Mumbai. A CBI probe has been ordered to investigate his matter of death.
SAMEER SHARMA (2020)
Television actor Sameer Sharma was found hanging from the kitchen ceiling of his residence in Malad West, Mumbai. No suicide note was recovered. He has featured in daily soaps like “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi”, “Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii”, “Left Right Left”, “Woh Rehne Waali Mehlon Ki” among others. He last featured in the ongoing daily soap “Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyaar Ke” as Shaurya Maheshwari.
PREKSHA MEHTA (2020)
“Crime Patrol” actress Preksha Mehta committed suicide in May this year. She was 25. She took her life by hanging from a ceiling fan at her residence in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The actress reportedly left a suicide note but it does not mention why she decided to end her life. As per reports, Preksha went into depression due to lack of work amid the lockdown. Apart from “Crime Patrol”, Preksha has appeared in TV soaps like “Meri Durga” and “Laal Ishq”.
KUSHAL PUNJABI (2019)
Television actor Kushal Punjabi, who was seen in “Ishq Mein Marjawan” and “Hum Tum”, committed suicide at his home in Mumbai. He was 37. There are several reports claiming that the actor was found hanging at his place in Pali Hill. It is also claimed that a suicide note was found from his residence.
PRATYUSHA BANERJEE (2016)
She gained popularity as Anandi in the television show “Balika Vadhu”. Pratyusha committed suicide by hanging from a fan at her residence in Mumbai’s Goregaon area. Her then boyfriend Rahul Raj Singh took her to the hospital, where she succumbed.
JIAH KHAN (2013)
She was only 25 when she ended her life by hanging herself from the ceiling fan. Jiah, who has starred alongside Bollywood biggies such as Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Akshay Kumar, took her life in 2013 at her Mumbai residence. She mentioned an “abusive relationship” with actor Sooraj Pancholi, son of actor Aditya Pancholi, in a suicide note she left behind.
VIVEKA BABAJEE (2010)
Known best for her Kama Sutra condom commercial, Vivek Babajee, the Mauritian model, was found hanging from a ceiling fan in 2010 at her residence in Mumbai. In a dairy entry, she blamed her beau Gautam Vohra for her death and the police said that she committed suicide due to depression.
KULJEET RANDHAWA (2006)
She was seen in the Indian version of “Charlie’s Angels” called “C.A.T.S”. Actress and model Kuljeet Randhawa put an end to her life by hanging herself in her apartment in Mumbai. According to a note left behind by her, she mentioned that she was putting an end to her life as she couldn’t cope with the pressures of life.
PARVEEN BABI (2005)
With a career spanning over 15 years, Bollywood diva Parveen Babi, who worked in hits like “Majboor”, “Amar Akbar Anthony”, “Suhaag”, “Namak Halaal”, “Deewar” and “Rang Birangi” among many others, was found dead in her home in 2005. According to reports, during the last few days of her life Parveen was reportedly alone. She was known to be suffering from psychological problems for some years. Some said she suffered from schizophrenia.
NAFISA JOSEPH (2004)
Kuljeet Randhawa’s “C.A.T.S” co-actor Nafisa reportedly in 2004 hanged herself in her flat in the Versova area in Mumbai.
SILK SMITHA (1996)
Vijayalakshmi Vadlapatla, who was famously known as the southern sex siren, Silk Smitha, was found dead at the age of 36 under mysterious circumstances. Her body was found hanging by a rope near her home in Chennai in 1996.
DIVYA BHARTI (1993)
Divya Bharti rose to fame in the 1990s. She made her acting debut with the Telugu film, “Bobbili Raja”. After starring in Telugu films, in 1992 she made a transition to Hindi cinema with “Vishwatma”. Divya was then seen in hits like “Shola Aur Shabnam” and “Deewana”, and in a short span of time had become a contender to the Bollywood crown, and a serious challenger for the top superstars of the era, Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit.
She was 19 at the time of death, billed by most in the industry as well as fans and the press alike as the next big thing in Bollywood. She is said to have married producer Sajid Nadiadwala, shortly before her death. She fell off the balcony of her five-storey Tulsi apartment flat. Many aspects of her death still remains a mystery.
GURU DUTT (1964)
Legendary filmmaker-actor Guru Dutt was found dead in his rented apartment in Mumbai in 1964. According to reports, the reason for his death was a lethal combination of sleeping pills combined with liquor. Guru Dutt is known for his classics like “Pyaasa”, “Kaagaz Ke Phool”, “Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam”, “Saanjh Aur Savera” and “Chaudhvin Ka Chand”. (IANS)
The Israeli Antiquities Authority said Tuesday that a diver swimming in the Mediterranean Sea has recovered a large sword that experts believe to be about 900 years old, dating back to the Crusades.
The antiquities authority's Director of Marine Archaeology, Kobi Sharvit, said the amateur diver was swimming about 150 meters offshore near the Israeli port of Haifa a few days ago when he spotted the sword lying on the ocean floor, four to five meters below the surface.
Sharvit said the diver recovered the sword and immediately took it to the antiquities authority. Sharvit said the sword -- encrusted with marine organisms when discovered –is the most complete and well preserved he has seen in 31 years. He described the sword as large, heavy and made of iron.
He added that the one-meter-long blade, hilt and handle were distinctive and highly noticeable after undercurrents apparently shifted sands that had concealed it.
Sharvit said because the sword was found in a cove, not far from the Crusader castle of Atlit on the northern coast of Israel, it is being assumed the sword belonged to a solder in the Crusades.
The Crusades were a series of medieval European Christian-led military expeditions to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries.
Sharvit said that from an historical perspective, the handle of the sword may be the most important part of the weapon as that is where decorations, and perhaps, even names or initials are often found that will help identify the sword.
He said once it cleaned, examined, and restored, the antiquities authority will put the sword on display. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Crusader sword, Israel, Antiquity, Castle of Atlit
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