Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
By Salil Gewali
When the desire overwhelms, the logical mind becomes unsteady. This subsequently might force the “feet” to take wrong steps. Sometimes such wrong steps are brutally detrimental. While the high society is now joyfully groping in the darkness of materialism, some section of misled youths are longing for a “quick high” and so they are doping themselves with intoxicants. Drugs with various combinations and names have penetrated so deeply into our society that the Government agencies and its police forces are practically caught between the devil and the deep sea. Well, with the cutting edge of technology at our command, the jaws of the menace have more teeth, and thus it looks more ferocious. Any unsuspecting corner could be the hotspot while the WhatsApp and mobile messengers are the faithful interface. They easily help pull off the dope deal anytime.
Here, I squarely blame the culture that advocates the personal freedom for the youngsters at an age who can’t even distinguish between good and bad, decent and indecent and nectar and poison. Not just that, in the thick delusion of the dope pleasure and its addiction, many have begun to see even their household members as their deadly enemies. Other day I read in a certain newspaper that a father was beaten black and blue by his own son. The son, with his face masked, did this only to snatch away the money which the father was carrying after drawing the monthly salary. Just look at the degree of desperation that drives the addicted to act so abnormally and with such cruelty. Procuring the addictive stuff is their only goal, no matter how, no matter what.
There are countless mothers who have been constantly tormented by drug-dependent adolescent children. An increasing number of petty thefts, muggings, burglaries, lootings and a host of violent attacks, which often disrupt the peace in the society, have usually to do with those who have fallen victims to narcotics. It’s reported that in a span of one year there is about 30% rise in the substance abuse in the state. A concerned political leaders, in his informal meeting recently lamented thus — “Unemployment is one of the main reasons for an upsurge in drug menace. The frustrated lot is quite prone to seek escape and take refuge in substances. I and many of my colleagues are very much disturbed by this development.” True, the saying — ‘the devil makes work for idle hands’ should always make the government and the parents extra alert.
In this aspect what intensely upsets our police fraternity is NDPS act (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) that lets off the addict/seller with less than 5 grams of drug. This act is being heavily exploited to get the peddlers out of prison. Most of the hard-core peddlers, with the help of lawyers peddle the stories of innocence too quickly and too easily. The addicted are caressed; hence a peddler pretend to be the one!
Yes, with the increase in the drug abuse and its adverse impact on society I would sincerely ask the law practitioners that why the ethics are just thrown to the wind and put the soul up for sale! Many worried parents and also police officers have accounted how certain lawyers cleverly use the loopholes in the NDPS act to save the cruel peddlers. Don’t the lawyers know it is the narcotic peddlers who usually entice our unsuspecting children with the doses of opium first and then pushes them into the pit of no-return? Do the lawyers have no grown-up children at home who might in a twist of fate be caught up by such peddlers and teach them this dangerous habit?
One of the police officers, who burnt the midnight oil in arresting a good number of peddlers in two months, rues — “all those drug dealers were released on bails within no time. Many have again got into the same trade/habit. This fact alone discourages us to hunt around for the peddlers on a war footing. Besides, we also have to go through a lengthy procedures and papers formalities before arresting any peddlers.” This is the ground really directly from the horse’s mouth. Why does the government not consider relieving the police of gathering the evidences and maintain the tedious paper work? For that let there be a separate cell with narcotic experts. The police job should end immediately with the arrest of the culprit. This way we can achieve a very good result, else, the society will be further afflicted with the scourge.
A concerned headman of a locality thoughtfully says, “Parents these days feel happy about buying expensive mobiles for their children. Do they really care to know what other awful activities that their grown-up children are getting done through the devices? So far I know, the drug-related message is only one of the many vices.” The Secretary of a Welfare NGO, Mr. Deepak Wahlang, who have continuously asked me to write about the rise of drug menace, quips —“All should join hands to contain the menace. The parents should not be complacent after sending their children to college and tuition armed with cell phones.” Indeed Mr. Wahlang is very correct that the parents must be extra watchful now than ever before. The vices now come and attack us in the “digital format” for which we do not see any effective anti-vices being peddled by anyone.
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