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At the time of the Ayodhya crisis, the Indian Left advocated “hard secularism” as the only solution. This would mean outlawing Hindu parties, imprisoning Hindu leaders, and bullets for the Kar Sevaks. In the past month, the Americans have been trying out this hard secularism in Afghanistan: eliminating Islamic fundamentalism by bombing the already tattered remains of Kabul and Kandahar.
But the results of this approach were not altogether satisfying. For the short term, the Americans could at least congratulate themselves for having killed this many mothers and maimed that many children. But even they cannot fail to realize that in the long term, their bombs will prove to be the seeds of more jihad fervor and better-equipped commandos striking at even larger targets than the World Trade Centre. The destructive religious fire is not quenched with violence.
Therefore, let us explore a different secularist strategy, hard like stainless steel, yet gentle and bloodless. It must strike at the root of the problem. Now, crimes have their root in the minds of their perpetrators. In the case of the attacks on the WTC and the parliament building of Srinagar, these minds were filled with zeal for Islam. The perpetrators, especially those who sacrificed their own lives in their line of duty, were not evil people. On the contrary, they were brave and full of devotion to what had been instilled in them as the true religion.
Then what was it that made them cross the threshold from the subjective goodness of their moral feelings to the objective evil of their acts? The answer is: their mistaken beliefs. With Socrates, I am convinced that evil ultimately stems from ignorance, from false beliefs. It is up to us, secularists, to make sure that future generations grow up free from such beliefs, or at least to equip them with the scientific temper that will allow them to identify and weed out wrong ideas.
Recently, an example drilled into the public consciousness was the question of the history schoolbooks, and whether these should inform pupils of the fact that the Vedic seers ritually ate beef. Should we not rather, in order to spare certain religious sensibilities, misinform them that the taboo on beef existed since all eternity? Of course not: it is better to let them know that despite the current Hindu taboo on beef, kine were ritually sacrificed (and tasted) according in several Vedic rites. Every secularist will agree with that.
Likewise, all schoolchildren should learn the true story of Mohammed as related in the sources and certified by scholars. Granted, Mohammed did preach and practice war against the Infidels. To that extent, the lessons learned by the Taliban in their Madrassas were true enough. But they should also learn a more problematic truth.
When Mohammed had his first “revelation”, his first vision of the archangel Gabriel, he himself was convinced that this was a morbid hallucination. Or in the terminology of his day: that he was possessed by an evil spirit. He even considered committing suicide in order to spare himself the life of a mental patient. His wife Khadija managed to calm him down, and he got used to the recurring hallucinations, which he interpreted as messages from God to His prophet. But except for a few followers, his contemporaries saw through his claims of prophet-hood.
A dozen times, the Quran itself mentions in passing the skeptical reactions of the Arabs, who called him “ghost-possessed”, “a madman”, at best “a fanciful poet”. Later on, they were forced to submit to Mohammed’s military power, but they had understood correctly that Mohammed’s “revealed” utterances were the products of his own brain. Every Quran reader endowed with the scientific temper can see for himself how the Book contains strictly nothing that indicates a Divine origin, nothing that was beyond the mental horizon of a 7th-century Arab businessman vaguely acquainted with Biblical lore. So, the belief that Mohammed received Divine revelations laying down the law for all mankind and valid till Doomsday, is a mistake.
The whole division of mankind in the Faithful and the Infidels, division which led to the Partition, to endless riots and to cross-border terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, is based on a false belief. We can spare ourselves these ravages if we instill the scientific temper in ourselves and our children. Initially, this may encounter resistance, for some people will feel offended in their most cherished certainties. Yet, experience teaches that before too long, it comes easily.
The Egyptian Nobel-winning author Naguib Mahfouz has testified how in his youth, his countrymen looked upon Islam as quaint folklore, good for elderly people who were soon to take it with them into the grave. Nobody had forced this skeptical attitude upon them it came naturally as soon as modernity had made it available. Admittedly, Islamic belief has staged a great comeback since then. But the clock will swing back, it always does. Already, many people in the Muslim world voice their doubts, some outspokenly at the risk of their lives, others discreetly.
Speaking for myself, I can say I understand the resistance and the initial pain which Muslims feel when confronted with a reasoned refutation of their beliefs. At the same time, I also understand and welcome the feeling of liberation which follows the grudging admission that these beliefs are unsustainable, and that the skeptics were right all along. I have gone through these stages myself when I outgrew the Catholic Christian faith in which I had been brought up.
This was not at all a matter of “hate”, or some such term of abuse with which some will try to criminalize my rejection of Christianity. I still value Christian art, Christian music, Christian philosophy, and some of the virtues instilled by a Christian upbringing. Only, I have had to reject the defining core belief of Christianity, simply because it is untrue. Jesus was a cult leader with a high opinion of himself, but he also preached some of the nobler ideas from Judaism as well as from the ambient Hellenistic philosophies, some even borrowed from Buddhism. His sayings include lucid observations (“to him who hath, shall be given”), practical wisdom (“give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s”) and mystical ideas (“the Kingdom is within you”), apart from wild self-centred claims and outlandish predictions of an imminent Doomsday. His record was mixed, like that of most men. But the point is: he was definitely not the Redeemer of mankind from original sin, he was not the Messiah who came to restore David’s kingdom, and he was not God’s only-begotten Son. The core doctrine of Christianity, like that of Islam, is a mistake.
The new generations of this country should not be kept in the dark. They should learn about Vedic cow slaughter, about the findings of Bible scholarship, and about the insights of psychology into the process of Quranic “revelation”. This will contribute mightily to the prevention of religious fanaticism. Secularists of the world, unite for the critical study of religion in every Madrassa.
Source credit: From the website of Dr Koenraad Elst http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/fascism/secularism.html
What Is Bullying?
Bullying is a pattern of recurrent aggressive behavior in which one person (or a group of individuals) in a position of authority intentionally intimidate or abuse another individual to cause bodily or emotional harm to that other. Bullying may take place in either a physical or verbal manner. Bullied individuals, as well as those who bully others, may have long-term repercussions.
Bullying may occur anywhere, at any time, in person or online (cyberbullying), and can take many forms, including verbal, physical, and social. Bullies utilize their position of power — such as physical strength, knowledge of something embarrassing, or popularity — to exert control over or damage other people. Many people assume that bullying occurs solely during childhood; nevertheless, bullying does not necessarily stop after a person reaches the age of adulthood.
Bullies in adulthood can take the form of a threatening boss or colleague, a controlling partner, a relative, or any other type of person. Even in our personal and professional lives, we sometimes encounter adult bullies who can be harmful to our mental well-being.
Bullied individuals, as well as those who bully others, may have long-term repercussions. | Photo by Unsplash
How To Deal With An Adult Bully?
For obvious reasons, adult bullying can be a painful and challenging experience for anybody who finds themselves on the receiving end of such behavior. Knowing how to deal with the antics of a bully properly, on the other hand, may help you learn, develop, and feel better levels of confidence. When you find yourself in this scenario, one of the most crucial things to remember is that you must not exhibit the bully any signs of fear. This might be difficult, depending on the sort of bully you are dealing with, but bullies enjoy fear, encouraging them to continue with their terrible conduct.
Maintaining a sense of connection with other people while dealing with bullying is quite essential. Bullies usually see alone persons as easier targets since they have a smaller support network to challenge them.
Courage and a support network are significant advantages; but, reporting the bully is also an excellent line of action. Contrary to common opinion, just ignoring a bully does not always prompt them to cease their behavior. Adult bullies of all kinds often interpret being ignored as a sign of weakness, encouraging them to continue bullying. If someone is bullying you, don't be scared to speak out and report the individual.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent ~Eleanor Roosevelt
Keywords: mental health, bullying, bully, bullied, courage, abuse, harass, support, cyberbully
Silver and gold have always been preferred when it comes to wearing jewellery. Right from the times of monarchy in India, wealth and riches have been associated with wearing gold and silver for the various properties they have. Copper is a metal that has always been worn by the poor. It is not a metal that carries a significant association with health or wealth, but wearing at least one article of copper is extremely beneficial for health.
Copper is a reddish-brown metal that cannot be worn on its own. It has to be worn in the form of an alloy to prevent a reaction. Copper oxidizes in air and forms a green layer on it when exposed, much like the Statue of Liberty. Usually, bangles, chains, or rings of copper always have brass and traces of silver in them which helps with stabilizing its reactivity.
Wearing copper with stones in it looks very aesthetic, but copper is not durable enough to hold the stones, which is why it is fashioned into elaborate designs and sold. Copper is very malleable, and over time, the bangle or ring will take the shape of the wearer's hand or finger.
A copper ring Image source: Wikimedia commons
Jewellery made out of copper can be an excellent health indicator. Copper helps metabolize bodily functions faster, and the wearer experiences relief from indigestion. It also soothes joint pain, headaches, and arthritis. Using copper utensils also aids those with deficiencies. Since copper is absorbed slowly into the body, there is no fear of causing any kind of imbalance.
Sometimes copper leaves a greenish tinge on the skin. This happens when it oxidizes with sweat. This stain can be washed away with soap and water, but the fact that it appears is noteworthy. It is an indicator of too much acidity in the body. Greenish skin appears when the wearer's diet includes too much meat or acidic foods.
Copper might not be a very attractive metal, but wearing it has a lot of benefits for the health. It regulates metabolism, assimilation, and indicates health. It is definitely a good idea to wear copper jewellery at least once in a while.
Keywords: Copper jewellery, Copper is a health indicator, Metabolism, Oxidation, Benefits of copper
By Md Waquar Haider
When popular smartphone brands like Xiaomi and realme entered the laptop market in India last year, they were expected to shake the existing giants, specifically under the Rs 50,000 category. However, chip shortage and supply crunch have somewhat dented their plans to make a significant mark to date. According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. The first one is a massive supply crunch in the laptop component market and only big brands are able to get volume and supplies.
The other factor is that the traditional players are very strong in the consumer laptop market. Top 3 players control more than 70 per cent of the market and strong portfolio, distribution, and channel reach as well as brand marketing has helped them massively. "New brands can surely make a dent in the consumer laptop market but are challenged by supply issues right now. Watch out for them in 2022 as and when supply situation eases up," Navkendar Singh, Research Director, Client Devices & IPDS, IDC India told IANS.
Dominated by HP Inc, Lenovo and Dell, the traditional PC market (inclusive of desktops, notebooks, and workstations) in India continued to be robust as the shipments grew by 50.5 per cent year-over-year (YoY) in the second quarter (Q2), according to IDC. Notebook PCs continue to hold more than three-fourth share in the overall category and grew 49.9 per cent YoY in 2Q21, reporting a fourth consecutive quarter with over 2 million units. Desktops also indicated a recovery as shipments grew 52.3 per cent YoY after recording the lowest shipments of the decade in 2Q20.
According to Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group, CMR, driven by the pandemic and the associated accelerated pivot to remote work, learn and unwind culture, PCs have been witnessing heightened demand. "Despite the current supply chain constraints, PCs are here to stay in the new never normal. In the run-up to the festive season, established PC market leaders will continue to leverage their brand salience and gain market share," Ram told IANS.
According to industry experts, the issue with smartphone makers entering the laptop category is two-fold. | Photo by Manuel on Unsplash
"On the other hand, there is a niche market for those new market entrants that are able to differentiate themselves from the competition in terms of features and value. "Alongside, they would need to back it with strong brand messaging to create awareness and recall amongst the target consumers," Ram added.
HP maintained its lead in the India PC market with a 33.6 per cent share as its shipments grew 54.2 per cent annually. Dell Technologies continued to hold the second position with a 22.1 per cent share and an impressive 86.1 per cent YoY growth in 2Q21. Lenovo maintained the third position with a share of 17.8 per cent in 2Q21.
Arvind Suraj, Research Fellow, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said that there is always a trust issue with new brands. "You won't buy a laptop in 6 or 7 months just like smartphones. In this case, we often go for existing players. Brands like Lenovo, HP, ASUS and Acer have already gained our trust," he said. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Chip, shortage, laptop, market, India, Xiaomi, hp, dell, brands