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Less than two weeks after posting a silent video in which she called for peace between arch rivals India and Pakistan, Indian teenager Gurmehar Kaur is struggling with the fact that she’s now an internet sensation.
In the online video that runs over four minutes, Kaur conveys her message without uttering a word and through a series of 30 placards. Her father, Capt. Mandeep Singh, was killed during a war between the two countries 17 years ago.
The video has received more than a million views since it appeared on Facebook on April 29.
“I cannot believe how popular the video has become,” the 19-year-old university student, who is based in Jalandhar, Punjab, told BenarNews.
But fame was not the motive behind making the video, she added.
“All I intended to do was to urge people of my generation to open up to the idea of living in peace and embracing each other,” Kaur said.
In the video, Kaur says she was two years old when her father was killed in the Kargil War in India-administered Kashmir.
The nearly three-month war, which began on May 3, 1999, after local shepherds reported Pakistani intrusion in the high-altitude Kargil district, claimed almost 1,000 Indian and Pakistani lives, according to official figures from both sides.
Watch Video: Profile for peace Voice of Ram
Blame war, not Pakistan
“I have very few memories of him [my father]. I have more memories of how it feels to not have a father,” reads one of the English placards in Kaur’s video.
“I also remember how much I used to hate Pakistan and Pakistanis because they killed my dad. I used to hate Muslims too because I thought all Muslims are Pakistanis,” she goes on to say silently.
“When I was six years old, I tried to stab a lady in a burkha, because for some strange reason I thought she was responsible for my father’s death.”
But instead of letting that anger and hurt harden into bitterness, Kaur overcame that and turned those feelings into something more positive and constructive, she told Benar.
Since the partitioning of the Indian sub-continent in 1947, ties between India and Pakistan have remained strained. The two countries, which have fought three wars, routinely accuse each other of ceasefire violations, mostly in the disputed Himalayan state of Kashmir, claimed in its entirety by both sides.
“Through the video, all I am trying to say is that I was able to look beyond my personal tragedy and not deposit the blame on Pakistan or anybody else for that matter. There are more people like me, who have lost loved ones to war, and I want them to try to do the same,” she said in a phone interview.
Related Article: India and Pakistan : Behind the thinly veiled conflict
‘Media refused to carry it’
The video was a collaborative effort between Kaur and Ram Subramanian, a Mumbai-based advertising professional who has been trying to bridge the gap between Indian and Pakistani people through various campaigns.
“I had known Gurmehar’s story for a while. It is very inspiring and I thought it will be a good idea to tell her story to the world. It is the truth, and the media refused to carry it until this video went viral,” Subramanian told BenarNews.
Subramanian launched his campaign under #ProfileForPeace on Facebook last year after Maharashtra-based right-wing political party Shiv Sena, an ally of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) blocked a concert by famed Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali in Mumbai.
Shiv Sena’s Akshay Badrapurkar had said then: “We are completely against any form of cultural ties with Pakistan. The country is against us and kills our soldiers, so there’s no point why we should let their singer perform here.
Kaur slammed this thought process.
“We cannot dream of becoming a first world country with third world leadership,” she said, while giving examples of France and Germany, which made peace after two world wars, and the United States and Japan, which have also put their past behind.
Although the video has been largely received positively, it has faced some criticism.
“This [Kaur’s] is only a very ideal view,” Prasun Kashyap, a research fellow in the New Delhi-based South Asian University, told BenarNews. “While it is good to promote people-to-people contact between India and Pakistan, you also have to understand the politics of the two nations as well as their policies.”
The video has also received its share of harsh and abusive criticism. But Kaur said she has chosen to ignore the hateful comments.
“These are people who are just using the anonymity of the internet to say whatever they want. They’re criticizing everything, from my hair to what I am wearing. I’m not paying heed to them,” she said.
Subramanian, whose Facebook page hosts the video, said: “[The] response has been mostly positive. We are in a time and space where more people want peace and only a fraction of people practice violence.”
“This video is only a first step forward. It is meant to sow the seed of the idea of peace in the minds of people. We still need to water and nourish the idea from here on,” Kaur said. (Benar news)
A couple of years ago, finding a strand of grey hair meant visiting the parlor to cover it up. Women and men refused to admit their age, and refused to let it show. Be it moustache, eyebrows, or hair on the head, it was dyed a luscious black, or reddish-brown for those who wanted to go natural. Today, the trend of coloring hair has nothing to do with age. Young boys and girls sport bright colors and hairstyles, which is now a marker of how modern one can be.
This notion of modernity associated with neon streaks and an almost gothic look originates from the ancient Egyptian civilization, where it was considered fashionable to look different from the natural features one was born with. Kohl, lipstick, perfume, and makeup were the inventions of those who hoped to live even after death. Likewise, they were the first people to discover hair dye. Initially, they dyed their hair black, to cover the grey. They used compounds that were extracted from plants, but some of them were lethal. So, they took to extracting the color from fermented leeches.
This was when a chemical was discovered to gently lighten hair color instead of completely bleaching it, and since then, there have been varying degrees of blonde and brown hair. Image credit: Photo by Jessie Dee Dabrowski on Unsplash
When bleach was discovered, women used it to achieve a yellow color, which became known as the sign of prostitutes. The focus shifted to naturally red hair when Queen Elizabeth took the throne, as she suffered from a genetic mutation which caused this. Red heads became more common in Scotland and Ireland, and everywhere else, black hair was still the norm.
When William Perkins discovered mauve during an experiment that went wrong, the concept of mixing two or more chemicals together to create a dye became well-known. So colorless chemicals were developed and mixed in varying ratios to dye hair. When the movie Platinum Blonde was released, the trend of having pale hair increased greatly. People began to go blonde everywhere. This was when a chemical was discovered to gently lighten hair color instead of completely bleaching it, and since then, there have been varying degrees of blonde and brown hair.
Youngsters prefer to sport bright, flashy colors, like teal, blue, purple, and even pink. Image credit: Photo by Tom van Kessel on Unsplash
With the arrival of pop-culture and its influence on the world, these mundane colors are reserved for the elderly. Youngsters prefer to sport bright, flashy colors, like teal, blue, purple, and even pink. Every time a new star sports a different color, the trend sparks interest in others, and sweeps across the globe like a wildfire. Hair dye has come a long way since the time of the Egyptians in the first century. Two thousand years hence, it has the potential to grow into so much more.
Keywords: Hair Color, Hair Dye, Egyptians, Perkins, Pop Culture
The history of Daryaganj goes back to the era of Mughal dynasty, and so its history is as old as the old city of Shahjahanabad, now Chandni Chowk. Interestingly, this market was known as Faiz Bazaar in the Mughal era and was considered as an important commercial place.
In fact, at that time this area was very posh, and had beautiful houses on both sides of a stream from a hauz (meaning, water storage tank) flowing down the centre. Not only this, trees were lined up for shade and it looked like a marvellous garden had been turned into a market.
Also, there used to be Lohe ka Pull which used to connect shops lined on both sides of the market starting from Delhi Gate to the Iron Bridge, but now the pull no longer exists. Well, there's no doubt that the old city of Shahjahanabad was beautiful crafted!
One of the most beautiful things about Daryaganj is its famous book market, known as the Sunday Patri Kitaab Bazaar. Sunday is specifically added here because the book market takes place only on Sundays, that, too, from 9am till 6pm.
Booksellers set up their shops on Patri (footpath). Hence, the name is Sunday Patri Kitaab Bazaar. Photo by Flickr.
In this market, you can find all kinds and genres of books at cheapest rates. In fact, some booksellers sell books according to kilos, and this is really astounding to see. From stationery to art supplies, you can find everything here and that, too, in a lot of variety.
It is interesting to see that some of the shopkeepers of Daryaganj book market are selling books from the past 50-60 years. Not only this, Daryaganj book market is also famous for its branded electronic goods and science lab equipments.
Apart from this, you can also find some of the lost traces of British rule, which once existed in India, in this market in the form of coins, photographs, and even their personal belongings. There is absolutely no doubt that Daryaganj book market offers a lot more than books, as it offers glimpses of the past.
So, if you are someone who is not just into books but also colonisation of India, then you must visit Daryaganj book market and experience a mixture of past and present!
Keywords: Daryaganj Book Market, Books, Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk, India, Mughal Dynasty.
Social media is an umbrella term that encompasses all apps, websites, and blogs that allow people from all over the world to interact through the internet. Anyone who wishes to use any social media platform must first sign up and then sign in to view content and communicate with other members of that social media platform. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, and Snapchat are commonly used social media platforms. Social media, like all technological advancements, has both advantages and disadvantages.
Social media has become an essential aspect of life for many youths in today's society. Numerous young people carry on involving themselves with social media without even bothering to consider its effect on them. The consequences may be both good and bad at times. When it comes to the negative impact of social media on teenagers, the majority of the time, they are unfavourable if the activity is not linked with a commercial or professional objective.
Social media has taken on such significance in today's society that it has overtaken other concerns. | Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash
Social media has taken on such significance in today's society that it has overtaken other concerns. People, especially teens, are addicted to social media and have lost sight of the essential things in their lives like family, friends, physical activities, social interaction, sports, education and much more.
One manner in which social media harms our mental health is through the use of unfavourable social comparisons. Teenagers or even grown-ups who use social media spend a significant amount of time examining the lives and activities of their friends. Continuous comparisons lead to low self-esteem and negative body image in adolescents, increasing depression and anxiety in such people; this includes stalking their achievements, events, their pictures or the events they have attended. On comparing, it makes oneself feel worse about their life.
Teenagers or even grown-ups who use social media spend a significant amount of time examining the lives and activities of their friends. | Photo by Ángel López on Unsplash
We can only see the virtual aspect of a person while we are on social media sites. This means that we can only see the side of the situation that they want us to see. Many people make an effort to present themselves in a way that they are not. Bullying among peers is a common practice, which is acceptable to a certain level. However, when it comes to cyberbullying, it has a significant impact on a person's mental health, as the comments or posts may appear on the newsfeed of any individual and spread quickly. Depression and suicidal behaviour can occur as a result of such things.
Particular teenagers are highly prone to be manipulated. Such teenagers may feel the urge to alter their physical appearance as they begin to compare themselves with every other person they come across on social media. This can result in low-self esteem; also, there is a tremendous temptation to overindulge on social media. Hence, it can become an addiction for adolescents and cause them to get distracted, as already mentioned.
Several studies have found that excessive social media use is frequently associated with underlying problems such as depression, chronic stress, anxiety, or low self-esteem. | Photo by AH NP on Unsplash
Several studies have found that excessive social media use is frequently associated with underlying problems such as depression, chronic stress, anxiety, or low self-esteem. Hence, it becomes a social responsibility for us to keep a check on our and our friends' mental well-being by unplugging our devices, building solid friendships and beginning the search to find our true inner self by meditation, exploring nature and organizing offline get together.
Keywords: negative, unfavourable, friends, depression, teenagers, people, social, mental health