Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
By Prachi Mishra
The Swadeshi Movement, India’s first major mass movement, witnessed the rise of various political leaders like Surendranath Banerjee, K.K. Mitra and Prithwishchandra Ray, who inspired people to actively participate in the protests and rallies.
One of the front-man of the movement was Ashwini Kumar Dutt, who played a pivotal role in making the Swadeshi Movement successful. He extensively promoted the primary agenda of the protests, i.e. consumption of indigenous products and boycott foreign goods.
Ashwini Kumar was born in Barisal in 1856, just a year before the Sepoy Mutiny, the First Indian War of Independence. After completing his education in law, he settled at his homeland and started practicing at the Barisal Bar. He was told by Raj Narayan Bose, a writer and intellectual of the Bengal Renaissance, “Ashwini, you are meritorious. If you want money and fame, stay in Calcutta. You will earn a lot and become famous. But if you want to serve the country, if you want to serve the Motherland, go to Barisal, your homeland, please. Serve Barisal and you will find everything there.”
While working in Barisal he realized that corruption was particularly high in the government offices. So he decided to preach morality among people through proper education and started the ‘Brajamohan Institution’ in 1884.
The real Make in India
Other than boycotting foreign goods and promoting Indian products, the Swadeshi movement gave more emphasis to constructive programme of empowering people. It gradually developed into a movement which attempted at the vindication of the rights of the people to self- government, i.e. Swaraj.
The main purpose of Swadeshi was to educate the masses and provide employment to them, thus preparing the ground for the subsequent political agitation. The movement focused at encouraging the masses for participating in the protests.
When the Swadeshi Movement began in 1905, Ashwini Kumar Dutt had already laid down the groundwork for it in Bilsar. He had started educational institutions and volunteer organizations to enlighten the masses with the nationalistic ideals.
The Bengal anti-partition movement was most successful in Barisal because it was promoted by the students of BM Institution. In fact, the movement was so strong in the region that the British authority had to send special Gorkha force to punish the people.
Rise of Swadesh Bandhav Samiti
Ashwini Kumar also founded a ‘Swadesh Bandhav Samiti’, a popular volunteer organization. Through the activities of this samiti, Dutt was able to generate an unparalleled mass following, especially among the Muslim population in the area.
The volunteers of the samiti would visit the villages and conduct surveys of the requirements of the people. They used to find out how many people in a village were literate, what was the occupation of the villagers, what type of industry could be developed there and so on. They tried to reach out to the villagers on a daily basis.
In 1906 when famine broke out in Barisal, the ‘Swadesh Bandhav Samiti’ did a lot relief- work. Ashwini Kumar even raised a sum of Rs 96,000/- to redress the suffering of the famine-stricken people.
Taking Swadeshi To Masses
Other than using education and providing basic amenities to people, Ashwini Kumar also made use of the traditional folk culture to spread the message of Swadeshi Movement. He thought that the message of the movement should reach the doors of the masses not through lectures but through songs and musical performances.
Poets like Yaggeshwar Das, Mukunda Das were inspired by him. He asked them to spread the message of the Swadeshi Movement through their literary works. He himself wrote books on religion and patriotism like Bharatgeeti, Atmapratistha, Bhaktiyoga, Durgotsavtattva, Prem and Karmayoga.
Ashwini Kumar was so much successful in mobilizing the masses towards the Swadeshi movement that he became a cause of concern for the Britishers. They feared that arresting a popular figure like him would trigger public opinion against the rulers and people might rise in rebellion. So they decided to deport him to the United Province. But when he was being taken from Barisal all the residents of Barisal, Muslims and Hindus alike, came out on the streets.
Dr. Pabitra Kumar Gupta, former VC of the Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswa Vidyalaya stated in a lecture that during the Swadeshi movement, not a single shop was allowed to sell British goods, and Swadeshi shops were set up in Barisal. This irked the Nawab of Dacca (present day Dhaka) who had a zamindari in Barisal where more than 70% people were Muslim. He asked his subjects through his agent, “Why are you not going to the bilati (foreign) shops? You are listening to what Ashwini Kumar says. Don’t you know that the Hindus hate us? We are separate. Don’t join Ashwini Kumar’s party”.
One Muslim leader then, asked the agent of the Nawab, “When we die of starvation, when there is scarcity of water in the village, when cholera breaks out in our villages, it is the ‘Babu’ (Ashwini Kumar) who always comes to our rescue. . . Can we leave him when he is in distress and being tortured by the Britishers?”
Such was the influence of this man, who always tried to raise the power of the people. Ashwini Kumar believed that the national struggle cannot be successful unless the people are involved in it and so he made great efforts to popularize the Swadeshi movement amongst the masses.
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