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“One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.”
As Aam Aadmi Party leader Kumar Vishwas awaits a personal call from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Dadri lynching (as a statement made in Bihar rally won’t do), which took place under UP government’s watch, a statistic appears in news items. It says that the dengue cases have crossed 10,000 mark in Delhi, the worst since 1996.
As we know, there is no clear statistics on whether the Aedes mosquito bites Hindus or Muslims, AAP government and leaders in Delhi appear least concerned. Unofficial death toll remains 41 this year as against the official 30. Another big scam that hospitals and government normally play is that they give any other reason for deaths but dengue.
People are said to have died of dengue but the certificate would say something else. Of course, I can quote (the often abused) journalistic sources, but I would rather say it is my wild assumption that it takes place in every hospital under government watch. Moreover, ready to doubt my own journalistic credibility, I am also saying I might be wrong.
Let’s move on and discuss dengue. The AAP government was sworn in on Valentine’s Day this year. It had campaigned raising issues of water logging, health, education, women safety and many more. It won with unheard majority of 67-3 only bettered in Sikkim, in recent times, where there was no opposition in 2009-14 assembly. So much romance, and promises so romantic.
AAP think tank VC and leader Ashish Khetan has given a statement where he claims that the Delhi government is working towards “complete abolition of dengue in the state.” He didn’t stop with this, rather tamed the fascination of us Indians with the word ‘international’, as he said that new measures that were being implemented at “international level” were being examined and reviewed.
What else can you want? The AAP government is planning to send a team to China to meet the scientists involved in the project, as per Ashish Khetan. He also welcomed any research that could alleviate dengue.
Let’s applaud Mr Khetan for the efforts that Delhi is making. The only question is what was the government doing all this long?
Was it not known to them that rainy seasons in Delhi result in dengue outbreak every year? Were they waiting for some Chinese scientists to let them know or did they think the Kejriwal majority should be enough for the Aedes mosquito to leave Delhi as Congress?
They, at least, have a vision as claimed in their Delhi election manifesto (refer to pages 20-21 for health infrastructure). Shouldn’t they be applauded for taking time and writing all those mathematics (in decimal points) on solving health issues?
What can one do when blaming the MCD is easier that the implementation of the mathematics?
The timing of the Khetan’s statement is also appropriate as, irrespective of what the Delhi government does, dengue cases would decline with the onset of winter. AK Gadhpahilay, medical superintendent of Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, confirmed the same saying, “As winter arrives, dengue cases will see a decline.”
It is not as if the government is doing nothing. They proposed a 400% hike to the MLA salaries and allowances. They must be doing more things like fixing some 15 lakh CCTV cameras so that the dengue mosquitos are spotted and BJP ruled MCD is blamed on the same bus stop poster, where a part of ₹526 crore advertisement says that they doubled the health budget.
This AAP government could have done better. Water logging remains a painful issue. I believe, Arvind Kejriwal lost the notebook where he wrote the solution to these problems while campaigning.
One more reason comes to mind: Is it due to free clean water to common men? This is ridiculous, but hey, what isn’t?
The delegation to China and complete abolition of dengue sounds great. However, this might just be a time buying tactic before winter arrives and numbers decline. This is not my cynicism, but a valid concern.
The question still remains: what were they doing since the rains and 10,683 cases that came in this year?
The answer is: taking stock of situation; looking for ways to blame anyone but themselves; creating adverts with concerned tone of Arvind Kejriwal appealing the Aedes mosquitos to leave the city on humanitarian grounds; waiting for mosquitos to do a ‘ghar wapasi’ and colour their wings saffron as they ‘lynch’ a Muslim man…
PS: In another news, second death was recorded due to swine flu. We hope some research must be going on in the Delhi government offices.
Great historic events that have shaped the world and changed the outlines of countries are often not recorded in memory, or so we think. Wars made sure to destroy evidence and heritage, and the ones who survived told the tale of what really happened. Folklore, albeit through oral tradition kept alive many such stories, hidden in verse, limericks, and rhymes.
Ringa-ringa-roses, a common playtime rhyme among children across the world, is an example of folklore that has survived for many centuries. It tells the story of the The Great Plague of London which ravaged the city between 1665-1666.
The Plague broke out from improper disposal of garbage and poor sewage conditions. Fleas from the rats that lived in the sewers spread the disease that killed more than half of London's population. Many people fled from their homes as there was no medicine available for those who were infected.
Beak-shaped masks worn during the Great Plague of London Image source: wikimedia commons
It was around this time that masks began to be invented. The first masks were shaped like beaks, and were worn not to protect the wearer from the disease, but to the prevent them from being able to smell the decay and death around them, which they called 'miasma'. The beaks were filled with floral herbs that allowed doctors and nurses to tend to the sick without being reviled from the smell.
Children are often seen forming circles by holding hands and reciting loudly,
Pockets full of posies
We all fall down"
An illustration of the Great Plague of London, 1665 Image source: wikimedia commons
When the last line is sung, they break the circle and fall down. The roses and posies are believed to be the preferred fragrances inside the masks, and a single sneeze (a-tishoo) was enough to infect the one who was exposed to the disease. Consequently, they fell down, ill, and later died.
An alternative version of this rhyme is sung about the fall of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the aftermath of World War II. The roses and posies are interchanged with geranium and uranium, to symbolise what was used in the atomic bomb. But this version is not as famous the original.
Keywords: Rhymes, Ringa-ringa-roses, Great Plague of London, WWII, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Folklore
In modern times, many social movements aim to bring reform to the society we live in, on the basis of certain existing patterns. Patriarchy is something that many aim to cleanse our cultures of, to usher in the era of social and gender equality. Despite all these so-called movements, in southern India, certain societies that patronise matriarchy have existed since before India's independence. The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country.
Kerala remains separate from the rest of India in many ways. Be it literacy policy, form of government, or cultural practices, this state does not always conform to the ideal that India is known for. Even so with their social structure. Certain tribes have remained matrilineal, where the decision-making power rests with the eldest female of the family.
The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country. Image source: wikimedia commons
A male member, who is the close confidante of the matriarch is chosen. He plays a crucial role in representing the male members of his family, and his opinion is highly valued. He is called karavanan. The men reside in separate rooms or in separate houses, and do not interfere in the upbringing of children. Property is also passed down along the lineage of the eldest female. Among the Nairs, matriarchy is more prominently adhered to than the Ezhavas, who have some patrilocal connections.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Their matrilineal descent is known as Aliyasantana.
The story is told of a demon who threatened to destroy a kingdom if the king did not sacrifice his sons, but the king's sister comes forward to offer her children in sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom. The demon is touched and does not destroy the city. Since then, the kingdom, or the property is inherited through female lineage.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Image source: wikimedia commons
In the recent past, many of these matriarchal societies have been reduced to matrilineal societies by certain governmental laws. They fall under the patriarchal scheme of the rest of the state but have reserved the right to pass on property and heritage through the female line. In the North east of India, matriarchal dominance is far more resilient than the south.
Keywords: Bunts, Billava, Nair, Ezhava, Aliyasantana, Matrilineal, South India, Karnataka, Kerala
Apple inc. Is an American multinational tech firm specialized in consumer electronics, computer programs, and internet services founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to manufacture Wozniak's Apple iComputer. It is the world's top tech company in turnover (totaling $274.5 billion in 2020) and its most valuable corporation. Apple is the fourth-largest PC seller by unit sales and the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. On the day of the live event, Apple announced the iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 13, as well as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. | Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini.
iPad: The 10.2-inch iPad is equipped with a solid A13 processor that delivers 20 percent quicker performance than the preceding version. According to Apple, it is now three times faster than a Chromebook. A new 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage, which utilizes machine learning to optimize the front-facing camera during FaceTime video chats, as well as more incredible accessory support, including compatibility with the first-generation Apple Pencil, are among the new features. For 64GB of storage, the iPad costs $329.
iPad Mini: In addition to reduced borders and more rounded edges, the 8.3-inch iPad mini also has improved front and back cameras. A liquid retina display, USB-C compatibility, magnetic support for the Apple Pencil, an enhanced speaker system, and new hues such as pink and purple are all features of the new Apple iPad Mini. The starting price is $499.
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini. | Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash
The other major unveiled products include:
iPhone 13 and other variants: The iPhone 13 range is almost identical to the iPhone 12 lineup, with a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro, and a 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. It was also revealed that the Watch Series 7 has a smaller "S7" processor, which may allow for a bigger battery or other components to be housed in a smaller footprint. The gadgets have a revolutionary design that includes a dual-camera system, placed diagonally. Apple's iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have longer-lasting batteries than the previous generation of devices. In addition, Apple claims that the iPhone 13 will have a battery life that is 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12, and the iPhone 13 mini will have a battery life that is 1.5 hours longer. A more energy-efficient display, an upgraded 5G chip, and functionality called "Cinematic Mode," similar to the famous Portrait mode function but is only available for movies, are among the other enhancements. The A15 Bionic chip present in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini is also used in the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, also 6.1-inch devices. However, it also has a five-core CPU, which promises graphics that are 50% quicker than previous models. Other notable features of the Pro devices include a brilliant Super Retna XDR display with a higher refresh rate and long-lasting battery life. Now, for the price, it will start at $699 for the iPhone 13 mini with 128 GB of storage, $799 for the iPhone 13 with 128 GB of storage, and the Pro and Pro Max have starting prices of $999 $1,099, respectively.
Apple Watch Series 7: The new Apple Watch Series 7, which is smaller and has a larger screen than its previous model, was introduced by Apple on Wednesday. There is a 20% increase in screen size over Series 6 on the new watch. A complete keyboard that you can touch or slide to write out text messages can show 50% more text. It starts at $399.
Keywords: Apple, iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone Mini, Apple event 2021