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Kolkata, the city of Joy, loves celebrating all the different kinds of festivities. No matter what religious or cultural group one may belong to, Christmas is also not left out. Park Street, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Bow Barracks are the main places to visit during this festival. The festivities last for a few days, starting from the Christmas eve till the 2nd of the January.
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St. Paul’s Cathedral is the place where people gather to listen to the midnight mass. Located on the Cathedral Road, it has other heritage monuments like the Victoria Memorial in the near vicinity. The cornerstone of the cathedral was laid in 1839, and the building was completed in 1847. It is said to be the largest church in Kolkata and the first Anglican cathedral in Asia. On the Christmas eve, people go there, wait for midnight mass and also, sing Christmas Carols.
Also Read : Christmas baking starts now
St. Paul's Cathedral in Kolkata | Wikipedia
People flock to Park Street to see the lighting arrangements and Christmas decorations. Many hawkers and vendors are present there to sell toys, balloons and other objects. Some come with their family, some with their friends and they all walk through the streets viewing the decorations, taking pictures, eating food and buying things.
People walking through the carnival at Park Street | Wikipedia
Throughout the city, there is a massive sale of cakes, not the usual birthday cakes but fruit cake, plum cakes, walnut cakes etc. Not just cake shops, but even grocery stores can be seen selling cakes, such is the craze. Earlier very few brands use to make and sell cakes, but now, owing to the huge demand, numerous new brands have come up with their own line of various cakes.
‘Nahoum and Sons’ have massive queues outside their shop during the Christmas and New Year time, as people gather there to buy them. They are one of the best in the business. This nearly 120-year-old Jewish bakery is located in New Market and they also sell a lot of other old-school treats which are gradually becoming obsolete.
The other bakery which is very famous for its cake is the Saldanha Bakery. They operate out of their house. Mona Saldanha, took over her husband’s family business in the 1960s, revamped it and since then they never had to look back. The cheese puff, walnut cake and coconut macaroon sold there are very popular.
The Flurys shop at Park Street is probably their busiest outlet during the Christmas season. They also sell a huge variety of cakes and other goodies.
The best thing about Kolkata is that you can see people from different religions and different walks of lives celebrating the festival in whatever way they can. Everyone gets to have their own share of happiness.
The footfall at the carnival and the number of people out in the streets during the festivities was lesser last year, owing to the pandemic.
(Keywords : Christmas, Carnival, Kolkata, December, Winter, Choir, Cathedral, Church, Cake)
During the National Youth Week, which runs from the 12th to the 18th of January to commemorate Swami Vivekananda Jayanti, experts have advocated for making India tobacco-free.
On the occasion of National Youth Day, Chairman of the NCPCR pushed for increased tariffs on a wide variety of tobacco products.India Today/wikipedia
Priyank Kanoongo, Chairman of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), pushed for increased tariffs on a wide variety of tobacco products at the webinar 'Freedom From Tobacco: What India Wants' on the occasion of National Youth Day.
According to Kanoongo, the price and ease of access to such fatal tobacco products is damaging, particularly to youngsters. Increased tariffs will not only make these items illegal, but the increased funds will also be utilised to treat and rehabilitate those who have been affected by tobacco-related ailments.
NCPCR proposed a rise in taxes on films, OTT, and other media that depict tobacco use in any manner, in addition to higher taxes on a wide variety of tobacco goods. "The imposition of a higher levy on media that depicts tobacco use would force individuals to pay more and will assist to prevent the glorification of tobacco goods. The NCPCR has also asked the government to spend all of the money raised from higher taxes on rehabilitation and prevention programmes "He had informed me.
Also read: ‘POCSO e-box’ : NCPCR to Report Child Abuse
"Tobacco firms are waging psychological warfare. They are pushing the sale of tobacco goods like as gutkha and beedi alongside chocolates, candies, and toys to young children by placing tobacco-related advertisements at their eye level at places of sale "Kanoongo said.
India currently loses over 13 lakh persons each year to tobacco and secondhand smoke. "Tobacco usage is on the rise, and it's concerning to observe that youngsters aged 13 to 15 make up 8.5 percent of those who use it," said Prof (Dr) Uma Kumar, Head of Rheumatology Department, AIIMS, New Delhi.
Tobacco smoking for a long period of time is dangerous and has been linked to cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, stroke, lowered immunity, recurring infections, respiratory ailments, and auto-immune diseases. She advocated for a variety of policy measures to safeguard young people from this danger.
Shweta Shalini said youth are the ones who are most at danger from tobacco.DNA India/wikipedia
Shweta Shalini, a Maharashtra youth activist and BJP spokesman, said Swami Vivekananda defined youth as the country's strength and that their health should be their first focus. Today, however, they are the ones who are most at danger from tobacco. She emphasised the importance of strong tobacco-control policies. In reference to the e-book 'What India Wants,' which was issued during the show, Shalini stated that it has been demonstrated once again that the people of India want tobacco taxes raised in order to protect the youth from this threat. Even a significant proportion of cigarette smokers support a tax increase.
The e-book 'What India Wants,' produced on this occasion, is a compilation of findings from numerous polls and surveys, which show that more than 88 percent of respondents want the new tobacco control regulations to take effect. The survey results also show that the general public feels compelled to make India tobacco-free. This e-book includes a scientific study done in ten states as well as multiple Twitter polls conducted by concerned people.
Tobacco use is spreading across the country and is rapidly affecting our children and young. According to the most recent Global Youth Tobacco Survey, children as young as ten years old are now consuming tobacco products (GYTS-4). As a result, experts advocate for higher taxes and the passage of planned revisions to the tobacco-control law, COTPA, to provide a stronger deterrent to cigarette use.
The Central government is also hosting a number of national-level activities as part of the National Youth Week, which begins on January 12.
(Keywords: Strict laws, tax hike, tobacco products, Shweta Shalini, a Maharashtra youth activist and BJP spokesman, cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, stroke, lowered immunity, recurring infections, respiratory ailments, and auto-immune diseases, AIIMS, New Delhi.)
The new efforts in the Himalayan area aimed at empowering members of the Gujjar-Bakerwal and Gaddi-Sippi groups appear to have alarmed Kashmiri lawmakers. These leaders are concerned that if these areas are given more influence, they would lose a significant portion of their voter base.
For the past 70 years, politicians have offered residents of indigenous communities verdant fields. They were told that they would be given all of their rights and treated equally to everyone else. Politicians, on the other hand, have failed to keep their promises. The transformation in J&K's status quo, on the other hand, has proven to be a watershed moment for these impoverished areas.
Manoj Sinha presented individual and community rights certificates to the beneficiaries of Gujjar-Bakerwal and Gaddi-Sippi communities.ET Government/wikipedia
Under the Forest Rights Act of 2006, Manoj Sinha, the Lieutenant Governor of J&K, presented individual and community rights certificates to the beneficiaries of Gujjar-Bakerwal and Gaddi-Sippi communities in September 2021. These rights were provided in order to usher in a new era of empowerment and prosperity for the Union Territory's disadvantaged aboriginal inhabitants. In places where community rights have been given, Rs 10 crore has been set aside for infrastructure development straight away.
The allocation of Rs 73 crore for cluster tribal model village was the first since 1947. The government has also started the process of establishing 1,500 tiny sheep farms to help these communities become self-sufficient. At a cost of Rs 16 crore, the 'Mission Youth,' in partnership with the Tribal Department, has launched on a mission to establish 16 milk villages to connect at least 2,000 young people to the dairy sector, as well as provide training, branding, marketing, and transportation services.
Tribal tribes have been given rights to small forest produce as well. The government has completed the process of establishing infrastructure for collecting, value addition, packaging, and distribution in collaboration with the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited.
J&K government is also building transit accommodations at eight locations at a total cost of Rs 28 crore.Greater Kashmir/wikipedia
The J&K government is also building transit accommodations at eight locations at a total cost of Rs 28 crore to accommodate the seasonal transient population, with medical camps, animal yards, veterinary services, and proper security included. In Jammu, Srinagar, and Rajouri, the government has planned to construct Tribal Bhavans.
In the year 2020, tribal youngsters would receive Rs 30 crore in scholarships. In J&K, 1,521 seasonal schools for migratory children are being built, as well as two residential schools along the migratory path. The building of seven new hostels for tribal kids is nearly complete, and the UT administration has already requested to the Centre the construction of 79 more hostels.
The Delimitation Commission proposes 16 seats in the Assembly.
The Delimitation Panel, tasked with redrawing assembly and parliamentary districts in J&K, has suggested reserving 16 seats in the Union Territory for the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST) populations.
In its draught report, the panel, led by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, advocated nine seats for STs and seven seats for SCs in the future legislative assembly of Jammu and Kashmir.Parties in Kashmir are dissatisfied.
BJP's political interests by dividing people along religious and regional lines.Britannica/wikipedia
Kashmiri leaders responded angrily when the Delimitation Panel released its blueprint. They called the proposal "unacceptable" and said it was intended at separating J&K's communities. These parties claimed that the Delimitation Commission was set up solely to serve the BJP's political interests by dividing people along religious and regional lines, and that the real goal was to install a government in J&K that would legitimise the August 5 "illegal and unconstitutional decisions." Leaders of indigenous groups, on the other hand, welcomed the planned reservation for STs and SCs, calling it a historic step toward eliminating decades of prejudice against them.
The Jammu Development Authority termed the allegations as baseless and asked the politicians how can a government body carry out selective eviction drives? The JDA stated that due process of law was followed while carrying out the drive. The Authority said that 17 pucca and kacha structures raised upon the land were demolished and removed and 41 Kanal Prime land falling under khasra No. 1193 and 1206 was retrieved from the encroachers.
It seems that leaders of National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party have forgotten when they were in power many such demolition drives were carried out across J&K to retrieve the encroached land. It's strange that during their tenures such drives were legal but now these are illegal.
Also read: Difficult Lives Of Nomadic Gujjar-Bakerwal Tribe
Picking up holes
Kashmir based politicians are leaving no chance to pick up holes with whatever present dispensation is doing as they have been left with nothing to do. They have realised that members of tribal communities won't side with them as they fed them with slogans during their tenures. These leaders have foreseen that once the draft of Delimitation Commission is implemented they may end up losing 16 assembly seats. Leaders of tribal communities have on many occasions have stated that they were hoodwinked by the Kashmiri leaders and they won't support any of these regional parties who gave them "lollipops' for the 70-years.
The initiatives taken by the present dispensation have proven beyond doubt that if the erstwhile political regimes wanted they could have done a lot for these communities but tribal men and women were used as vote banks by the politicians. They were dumped soon after the elections ended. The attempts of politicians to give communal colour to the legitimate actions of the government are also not helping their cause as a common man has understood their machinations. The 'Naya J&K' is about including everyone and the actions of the government are speaking louder than its words.
(keywords: 'Naya J&K, Kashmir, National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, Jammu Development Authority, STs and SCs, BJP, Delimitation Commission, Gujjar-Bakerwal and Gaddi-Sippi)
By Ila Sankrityayan
Parineeti Chopra, who will join Mithun Chakraborty and Karan Johar on the panel of judges for the reality programme 'Hunarbaaz Desh Ki Shaan,' says she had been waiting for a project like this for a long time and jumped at the opportunity.
"For the previous three or four years, I had been hunting around for a multi-talent show with a qualified panel of judges," Parineeti stated. And when I got the offer, I said to myself, "OK, this is it. This is the programme I've been waiting for."
"The most lovely aspect of this event is that it's a multi-talent presentation," she continued. This programme isn't only about singing and dancing; it's also about discovering talent from far-flung corners of India. This programme provides a platform for folks who would otherwise never have the opportunity to break into the Indian entertainment business and make it famous.
Also read: Parineeti talks about the importance
"However, they will get the opportunity to perform on a stage here. They will be seen by the entire country and the entire globe, and they will be able to start their careers. That is incredibly precious to me. And I'm thrilled to be able to accompany them on their adventure."
She is now promoting forthcoming films.NavBharat Times/wikipedia
The actress is now promoting forthcoming films like as Ranbir Kapoor's 'Animal' and Sooraj Barjatya's 'Uunchai.'
Parineeti may have a lot on her plate, but she's never had trouble managing her time. "I'll have to work doubly hard since I have to shoot for a show and two of my films," she told IANS. It'll be chaotic for me, but you know what they say: where there's a will, there's a way. You must schedule time for the things that matter to you."
"Of course, because I was seeking for a programme like this and it finally came to me, it is my obligation to create the time and rearrange my calendar in order to make it happen," she continued. That is exactly what I am doing at the moment. It isn't a challenge for me. I am looking forward to it.
Her two biggest pleasures, she added, are the opportunity to "be a good mentor with whatever little experience I have" and the opportunity to "learn from Mithunda and Karan, who are of course considerably more experienced in life and in their jobs than I am."
She is the judge on 'Hunarbaaz: Desh Ki Shaan'.Tribune India/Wikipedia
Aakash Singh's performance on 'Hunarbaaz: Desh Ki Shaan' made Parineeti cry, she said.
"There's a candidate named Akash who is remarkable because he comes from a very, very low family," Parineeti told IANS. "He didn't even have anything to eat, but he continued to work on his gift." "He persisted in his battle. And now he's progressed to the point where he can audition for this programme. When I watch folks who have very little in their lives striving but not giving up on their dreams, it makes me very emotional. I'm moved by their stories."
"Mithunda genuinely gets India, he knows the pulse of the people," Parineeti remarked of her fellow judges. "Karan is a prodigy at identifying talent," she continued."
When it comes to judging reality TV talent programmes, they're a dangerous pair," Parineeti said. "It's more about learning from them and becoming the best judge I can be for me, being on the same panel as them. But, of course, we have a particular relationship. And I get to spend so much time with them individually."
'Hunarbaaz: Desh Ki Shaan' will premiere on Colors on January 22 at 9 p.m.
(keywords: Hunarbaaz: Desh Ki Shaan, Mithunda and Karan, Parineeti, Ranbir Kapoor's 'Animal', Sooraj Barjatya's 'Uunchai)
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