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Google Doodle Celebrates Jnanpith Award-Winning Poet Mahadevi Varma

Google celebrates Jnanpith awardee Mahadevi Varma

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Google's new Search feature gives single result to certain queries. Pixabay

Google on Friday celebrated freedom fighter, women’s rights activist, Hindi poet and Jnanpith awardee Mahadevi Varma with a doodle.

On this date, in 1982, the Bharatiya Jnanpith honoured her with the prestigious award for her “outstanding contribution towards literature”.

Guest artist Sonali Zohra has designed the doodle that shows the transformative poet busy penning her thoughts into beautiful verses under a tree by the field on a breezy afternoon.

Often referred to as ‘modern Meera’ for ushering in the era of romanticism in Hindi literature, Varma was born on March 26, 1907, in Farukhabad in Uttar Pradesh into an orthodox family.

Married at the tender age of nine in 1916, Varma remained at her parental home to continue her education at Crossthwaite Girls’ School in Allahabad.

Mahadevi Varma
Mahadevi Varma (Wikimedia Commons)

The spirit of a writer was kindled by Varma’s mother who inspired her daughter to write in Sanskrit and Hindi, according to Google.

She penned her first verses in secret, while pursuing a master degree in Sanskrit. However, her roommate and friend, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan (a well-known poet) discovered her talent soon.

Varma is revered as one of the foundational poets of the Chhayavad movement in Hindi literature, the Google blog said. Her poignant poetry and essays, mostly centred around her feminist outlook.

In her biography “Mere Bachpan Ke Din” (My Childhood Days), Varma wrote that at a time when a girl child was considered a burden upon the family, she was very fortunate to be born into a liberal family.

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Her works appeared in magazines and books. Her collection of short stories “Sketches from My Past” portrays those women whom she encountered as the principal of an all-girls school.

Though a firm supporter of women’s rights, Varma also explored the topics of tradition and the past with great fondness, it added.

Varma was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 1956, Sahitya Akademi Fellowship in 1979, and Padma Vibhushan in 1988. She passed away on September 11, 1987.  IANS

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Google’s Censored China Search Engine Project Triggers Protests

Several Google employees, including former Senior Scientist Jack Poulson, resigned in September, citing lack of corporate transparency in the wake of the censored search engine project

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The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

Google’s offices in the US, UK, Canada, India, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Sweden, Switzerland, and Denmark witnessed renewed protests by human rights groups over its plan to re-enter China through a censored search application code-named “Project Dragonfly”.

The demonstrations were organised by coalition of Chinese, Tibetan, Uighur, and human rights groups outside the tech giant’s offices. The Tibetan advocacy groups that were protesting included Free Tibet and the International Tibet Network.

“They fear that a censored search engine would lead to further oppression of the Tibetans, as filtered searches would erase terms such as ‘Tibet’ and ‘Tiananmen Square’ in line with the official narrative of the Chinese Communist Party,” the Business Insider reported late on Friday.

The same concerns apply to the Chinese citizens, including other oppressed minorities such as Uighur Muslims and Southern Mongolian people, the report added.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

The Internet giant designed a censored version for China search engine to blacklist information about human rights, democracy, peaceful protest, and religion in accordance with strict rules on censorship in the country that are enforced by its Communist Party government.

The dispute began in August 2018 when reports surfaced that Google staffers working on “Project Dragonfly” had been using a Beijing-based website to help develop blacklists for the censored search engine, which was designed to block out broad categories of information related to democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest, according to The Intercept.

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Several Google employees, including former Senior Scientist Jack Poulson, resigned in September, citing lack of corporate transparency in the wake of the censored search engine project.

In December, Google was forced to shut down a data analysis system that it was using to develop the search engine and the teams working on “Project Dragonfly” stopped gathering search queries from mainland China. (IANS)