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BY SALIL GEWALI
We should always be alert to the thunder of lies and deceit. They often tear the social structure to pieces. There are innumerable people who have become the “victims” of such falsity and propaganda. In the last three years, many leaders in West Bengal (India) have thus been attacking the Gorkha citizens with the brute forces of false narratives, apart from the heartless killing of 15 innocent people during 2017 Gorkhaland peaceful agitation. Without one iota of knowledge of “history”, they branded Gorkhas in India as infiltrators, sometimes as terrorists. In the common parlance of Indian jurisprudence, this amounts to a serious case of defamation and a criminal act of high order. Hearts.
Yet again, a few days back another TMC activist — Ms. Tanvi Das stirred the hornet’s nest. In her TV panel discussion, Ms. Tanvi rudely roared to belittle Gorkhas as “infiltrators” and insisted on deporting them all out of India. She talked down other participants in that talk show. Though she was vehemently criticized, but she appeared outrageously unapologetic. However, very coincidentally, on the same day, two Gorkha soldiers were “martyred” while fighting the “infiltrators” on LOC in Tangdhar, Kashmir. How do we describe these incredibly paradoxical situations?
Let’s look at history. Even small kids know that India was ruled by the British for almost two centuries. This imperialist British had also eyed Nepal. But keeping in view the rising military power of the British Raj, then the Nepal Kingdom decided to strike a deal with East India Company. It was a deal to break the ice of hostility between the two neighboring nations. Under the Treaty of Sugauli 1815-16, Nepal Kingdom ceded the major portions of its territories to the British India which include a huge swathe of the mountainous, hilly and plain terrains.
Thus consequently, areas like Sikkim, Darjeeling, Nainital, Kumaon, and Garhwal had come under the East India Company.
Here comes a question for sober thought and introspection. All intellectuals and leaders must first get down to study the core history of Gorkhas before being judgmental. The situation in which Gorkhas are living in India certainly calls for a reasonable amount of compassion and rationality. If the vast range of mountains, beautiful hills, rivers, flora and fauna, and all animals and birds therein can be regarded as Indian then why not two-legged human beings inhabiting these areas? Is it not outrageous? Of course, comparatively a very small portion of land that Gorkhas in India are now demanding as Gorkhaland. Moreover, it is only after the Indian Independence in 1954, Darjeeling was merged into West Bengal (India) for easy administrative purposes, prior to that it was marked out as the “Excluded Area”. Not even 5% Indians are aware of this brief history of Gorkhas. It is a big tragedy. The Central and State Governments should immediately consider incorporating the lessons on the history of brave Gorkhas and their sacrifice in all academic school textbooks.
Truly, it is Gorkhas’ valor and their military skills over which India always takes pride in. The record has it that, prior to India Independence, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had always fondly cherished Gorkha Armies and held them in high esteem. Needless to say, they were the backbone of Netaji’s Azad Hind Fauz. INA’s patriotic song – “Qadam Qadam Badhaye Ja” was composed by none other than a Gorkha patriot – Captain Ram Sigh Thakur. The life story of a Gorkha soldier, Major Durga Malla of INA, who was sent to gallows in 1944 by the British on sedition charges, is very awe-inspiring. In honor of his sacrifice, the Indian Parliament houses a huge statue of Major Malla. Equally significate is the supreme sacrifice of Subedar Harka Bahadur Rana who fiercely fought with Pakistan to save Kargil immediately after India independence in 1948. There is a huge memorial dedicated to Harka Bahadur Rana and a bridge in Kargil named after him. What more certificate of integrity does one need? Yes, these courageous “Gorkha army regiments” had been the “first choice” to be sent to fight against the Sino-Indian War in 1962, the Indo-Pakistani War in 1971, Battle of Sylhet, Kargil War in 1999. And there hardly a month goes without a couple of valiant Gorkha warriors being martyred while fighting against the enemy.
Is it not an absolute madness of our certain leaders who greet the Gorkhas with scorn and derision? Very absurdly, here in India, there are leaders who choose to sing a welcome song for the dreaded insurgent groups and terrorists while they criticize and humiliate those who stand up to protect the country.
One professor from New Delhi has rightly said — “It is a total injustice to the Gorkhas in India. Such apathy of the Indian Nation towards those brave and loyal soldiers who “came with the land” is undesirable. Even UNO or World leaders will be shocked when they know how Gorkhas are being demonized in their own land.” Are Tanvi Das and her types listening? No joke, what will happen to the sovereignty of the NATION if “Tanvi Das and her party” recruit their “invited citizens” from Bangladesh in the army and give them all arms and ammunition to fight the infiltrators? There will be a secret jamboree of rock-n-roll and jubilation along the borders. Hope you have understood. It will be an open invitation to the disaster.
Alas, should the leaders with ulterior motive be thus allowed to let the common citizens down! So sadly, having lost their power of discretion, they hardly can now differentiate between true friends and sworn enemies. Their narrow party policies have literally bruised the hearts of the patriots, and also damaged the integrity of the nation.
Frankly speaking, it is so important that the scream of the grievance of the aggrieved Gorkhas now must reach up to the UNO. The world leaders must be made aware of that Gorkhas’ loyalty to the nation has thus far been undervalued, and their identity crisis is merrily overlooked. Is it not that patriotism comes from within the heart that has been well cared for and loved? It seems the wounded Gorkhas now have to turn to the UNO for the healing balm.
Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali
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