Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
-by Jamie Dettmer
IRBIL, IRAQ, November 05, 2016: On the night I arrived in Irbil, Iraqi Kurdistan’s capital, a Cuban band was playing in the restaurant at my hotel. The first song I heard it perform with a distinctive Caribbean verve was John Lennon’s “Imagine.” The plea for a world without killing seemed highly appropriate, if forlorn.
Kurdistan is part of Mesopotamia, a cradle of civilisation that witnessed such crucial developments in human history as the invention of the wheel, the first planting of cereal crops and the first use of cursive script. The origins of modern medicine and mathematics can be traced here. Early Sumerian inhabitants were among the first to pose existential questions such as: Who are we? Where are we? How did we get here? These helped to shape ancient Greek philosophy and subsequently our modern world.
NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.
Sadly, Mesopotamia has seen more than its share of devastating war through the centuries — pitching tribes, races, religions, countries and empires against each other in terrible cycles of conflict, revenge and retaliation.
And here we are, once again witnessing what that means in human terms.
Coming to terms
As we reporters dash around clutching old tools of the trade (a pen and notebook) and those for a high-tech age (mobile phones, digital cameras, sleek laptops and even small camera-equipped drones), we can seem all too brash and brusque, I suspect, to those whose lives have been upended and thrust into turmoil and pain.
We have deadlines to meet. We don’t tread lightly — although we should be doing so, considering the number of mines and booby-trap bombs Islamic State fighters have planted all around. We shove our cameras and audio recorders in the faces of bewildered and grieving people who have endured days of hearth-thumping, stomach-turning, ground-shaking shelling, who have seen relatives killed or severely injured, and soldiers who have seen their buddies blown apart. We can, in short, come across as callous.
All I can say in defense of our reportorial bluster and striving is that the people we film and write about stay with us. The stories that fix in my mind — and play on the minds of my colleagues, I know from conversations with them — are all too often ones about children.
Thinking of the children
One child is on my mind these days: 3-year-old Noor, whose left leg was terribly injured in an airstrike two weeks ago as the Mosul offensive started. I wrote about her earlier this week.
Kurdish surgeons in Irbil are struggling to save the toddler’s leg and she’s gone through several operations. As I and my fixer, the indefatigable and kindly Dlshad Zamua, a professor of archaeology, were reporting in Mosul on Thursday, he heard that surgeons had to amputate three of the girl’s toes and remain unsure how she will progress.
Aside from Noor’s suffering now, I wonder how the injury will alter her life, how it will affect her character, her marriage prospects and the chances she’ll have kids herself. And how will that affect her family, not just in terms of the distress they feel now but through the coming years? Individual wounds injure entire families. A death doesn’t just cut off one life, the absence reduces possibilities. The Talmud says when you lose a life, you lose a world.
Sadly, of course, there are hundreds of children like Noor in Iraq and neighbouring Syria.
Dlshad has been busy collecting money to buy Noor an iPad mini. Norwegian Kurds sent him money after reading VOA’s story about the Sunni girl. A Kurdish woman contacted Dlshad to say she would buy any clothes the toddler needs.
The Kurdish response to the thousands of mainly Sunni Muslims streaming from Mosul has been warm. Peshmerga fighters at the checkpoints along the Mosul-Irbil highway greet the displaced civilians with cries of “on your eyes,” a traditional welcome.
NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.
The Iraqi Kurds have shown great patience with the huge numbers of displaced in their midst. Some 800,000 people – mainly Sunni Muslims, but also Christians and Kurdish Shi’ites – flooded into Kurdistan in 2014 when Islamic State militants overran Mosul and declared their caliphate of fear straddling Iraq and Syria. More than 40,000 have arrived since the Mosul offensive began more than two weeks ago. Judging by the streams of thousands leaving Mosul Thursday, there will be more waves as the fighting goes deeper into the city.
Irbil and other Kurdish towns are straining at the seams and, unsurprisingly, there is some anti-Arab sentiment in Kurdistan. It tends to bubble up when IS fighters launch assaults on Kurdish towns or when there’s any evidence of collusion between attackers and displaced Arabs in Kurdistan. Occasionally, you can see anti-Arab stickers on cars, and, much as in any other country, deeply unpleasant racist comments can be read on social media.
But considering the strain on cash-strapped Kurdistan – public-sector salaries have been cut by three-quarters, and peshmerga, doctors, teachers and municipal workers are waiting still for their meager August salaries – it is an inspiring relief that anti-Arab sentiment is not more widespread and intense.
The Kurds certainly feel it is their moment to establish an independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq — the first stage, they hope, in an eventual homeland that will unite Kurds in one country across the region but will be inclusive of minorities, too, they insist.
And it isn’t just the Kurds of Iraq who are on the front lines battling to realize that age-old dream.
Some have given up safe lives in Europe to come here. One is Commander Rebawar, an Iranian Kurd who for the last 20 of his 47 years had been living in Sweden and raising bees. He proudly tells me he has two hives back at the main base outside Irbil. His detachment perches above the town of Bashiqa, 30 kilometers from Mosul.
In Bashiqa, still occupied by IS militants, there are a brother and sister from Iran. In a visit earlier this week, I asked what they were doing before they enlisted with the Revolutionary Khabat Organization of Iranian Kurdistan.
“Horse smugglers,” they told me – a response I was not expecting.
Down a winding road from the Bashiqa front lines – near Iraq’s oldest monastery and church, housing the tomb of St. Matthew – lies the headquarters of the peshmerga’s 7th Division. The division’s gruff, chain-smoking commander, General Nuraddin Tatarkhan, knows all about cycles of war. He’s a 36-year military veteran who fought in the Iraqi army during the Iran-Iraq war and the Persian Gulf war.
“I covered the Gulf war but from the other side,” I tell the general.
Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.
Dlshad looks on in amazement as two old guys share stories about a war that seems like ancient history now.
“Are you tired of war?” I ask the general.
He sighs. “When Kurdistan declares independence,” he says, “I will stop and write a book.” (VOA)
Eve Yvonne Maday de Maros, the woman who designed the Param Vir Chakra, was born in 1913 in Neuchatel, Switzerland. It was believed that she came to India to understand the country's culture and tradition.
She got to know about India's spiritual and cultural wealth at a very early age through holistic education which she received. Soon, Eve Yvonne fell in love with a Maharashtrian named Vikram Khanolkar, who was a young army officer, and was undergoing training at the Royal Military Academy in the United Kingdom.
Soon, both the persons married, and Eve Yvonne acquired the name Savitribai Khanolkar and shifted to Maharashtra with her husband who by the time became Major General.
Savitribai Khanolkar with husband Major General Vikram Khanolkar.Photo found on Google Images
As Savitribai Khanolkar was already amazed by the rich culture of India, she immersed herself in the study of mythology, traditions, and religious scriptures. Along with this, Savitribai also started indulging herself in the art, music, dance, and linguistics of India.
Parallel to this, India was celebrating its independence from the British rule, and was on its way to remove British legacies and re-establish the country's identity.
This was the time when When Adjutant General Hira Lal Atal was assigned with the task of creating the Indian equivalent of the British Victoria Cross. For this, he took Savitribai in confidence as she had an in-depth knowledge of the nation. Thus, from here began the journey of making the Param Vir Chakra.
The design of Param Vir Chakra was to denote power and sacrifice demonstrated by the soldiers that protected people at the cost of their lives. So, according to Savitribai, nothing could represent in a better way than the great warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji himself. According to the history, the ruler was known for his courage and strategic defence. Hence, his sword 'Bhavani' found a place on the disc, enclosed within the Indian mythical weapon 'Vajra', from both sides. This mythical weapon is believed to be made of a sage's bone in order to kill evil enemies in the name of goodness.
Moreover, the first Param Vir Chakra was awarded on India's first Republic Day celebrated, which was celebrated in 1950, and its recipient was Savitribai's son-in-law's brother, Major Somnath Sharma.
In this world full of technological advancement where everything is now home-delivered, even the most essential beauty services are now available at your doorstep? Let the pampering sessions begin. The whole salon environment at home believes that services at home are undoubtedly the best option during the unusual crisis.
IANSlife brings you the co-founder of YES MADAM, Mayank Arya who speaks of the benefits of at-home salon services.
We all prefer comfort over anything and everything. Nothing is more comfortable than getting everything under your own roof. One of the most amazing perks of subscribing to an at-home salon service provider is that you can watch your favourite TV show or OTT series while having your hair treated or nails done. Amidst, Covid-19 and working from home some of the beauty services can be taken simultaneously. Getting beauty services at your home keeps you relaxed and calm. During festivals when you are already busy the on-demand salon services can do wonders for your mind, body and soul.
Nothing is more comfortable than getting everything under your own roof. | Photo by Inside Weather on Unsplash
Usually many customers have problems related to hygienic surroundings. Of course, they do not know if the place is properly sanitized or not. For such kinds of customers "At home Beauty services" is nothing but the most appropriate option. There is something about being in a familiar environment that makes you feel at total comfort instantly and allows you to enjoy the treatment in a much better way. Create your own bubble with the most appropriate hygienic conditions according to your requirements and take the at-home salon services.
Create your own bubble with the most appropriate hygienic conditions according to your requirements and take the at-home salon services. | Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash
The biggest and the major concern during the times of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the duration of time where the whole world is fighting a virus, we all need to be extra careful about exposure to any kind of infection. With at-home salon services, you do not have to expose yourself to dozens of people on your way but you can allow yourself to enjoy excellent services within the safety of your home. With vaccinated beauticians, it becomes much safer to get the treatments done. In at-home salon services, the beauticians wear a PPE kit that includes a mask, gloves, bodysuit, and a face shield. They utilize only monodose (single-use) products. Moreover, they also sanitize the area where the set-up is done to deliver the services.
With at-home salon services, you can allow yourself to enjoy excellent services within the safety of your home. | Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash
Sometimes, even if you book an appointment, you have to travel a lot far and still the beautician keeps you waiting. The in-house beauty treatment services are much more flexible. It's all up to you, one can book the date and time whenever they need the service, and the beautician will be there at your doorstep. If it is a busy week or an impromptu decision, one can always rely on the on-demand salon services.
. The in-house beauty treatment services are much more flexible. | Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
The session with family and friends
Who doesn't love to gossip around and chill with friends and family while getting their manicure and pedicure done? There are so many nosy customers while you visit the salon that just kills your buzz. But a salon at home with your friends and family especially during the times of festivals provide you with the most relaxing and happy vibes.
A salon at home with your friends and family especially during the times of festivals provide you with the most relaxing and happy vibes. | Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash
With the up-gradation in technology, the on-demand salon services do not let you pile up the house chores. While you are working from home and want to get your house festive ready with services like pest control, sanitization, sofa cleaning, carpet cleaning, kitchen cleaning, bathroom cleaning at-home services like Yes Madam always keep you sorted.
(Article originally written by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: salon, pandemic, safety, hygiene, family, friends, comfort
By Aishwarya Jain
According to the World Happiness Report 2021 which was released by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Finland was once again crowned as the world's happiest country. India has been ranked 139 out of 149 countries in the list of UN World Happiness Report 2021. To make society happy, firstly it is really important to spread awareness on how it is okay to relax, chill and take a break. People tend to normalise overworking, which is so wrong. Of Course, we need a job to live and sustain ourselves but you shouldn't be working yourself to death, and the fact that this is seen as normal is really worrying. You spend more hours at work than you do awake at home, so if those hours are drenched in misery then sadness basically becomes the norm. A study from Gallup (2017) found that happier employees were more engaged, which resulted in improved customer relationships, and a 20 percent increase in sales.
Also, lowering down the crime level would act as a major factor towards a happy society. People who witness crimes, or come across evidence of a crime in their local area, can suffer anxiety and may feel demoralised or powerless. We should also teach them to stop judging people by materialistic things and accept everyone with all their flaws. Media plays an important role in making society happy because they have the power of reaching out to billions of people and helping them out through a solution-based approach.
Media plays an important role in making society happy because they have the power of reaching out to billions of people and helping them out through a solution-based approach. | Photo by Dave Goudreau on Unsplash
As per Aishwarya Jain, the Founder of IM Happiness, a social community that works to increase awareness of mental well-being, "Every great leader always talks about building a happier society from Chanakya to J.R.D. Tata. As J.R.D Tata said, "I do not want India to be an economic superpower. I want India to be a happy country". Happiness makes good things happen. It actually promotes positive outcomes. It's high time corporates start taking importance of mental well-being like it's happening around the world. Last week, Nike became the latest company to close its offices for a week to give employees a mental health break. That's after LinkedIn, Bumble, and Hootsuite have all shut down their offices for a week this year to address mental health. I think the global revolution of happiness has started."
Our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive. Yet in today's world, we ironically sacrifice happiness for success only to lower our brain's success rate . When we are happy -- when our mindset and mood are positive -- we are smarter, more motivated, and thus more successful. Happiness is the centre, and success revolves around it. IM Happiness is a community that believes happiness is a skill to be enhanced by training and practice. The team works day and night to help the sufferers get rid of their mental chaos and teach them the skill of being optimistic and happy in every situation, either favourable or adverse. They work on the aim of the United Nations Goals of promoting good health and well-being and have worked closely with the organisation. The team is utilizing the power of Science and Spirituality in achieving this aim.
IM Happiness is initiating a new campaign, 'Hello Happiness'. | Photo by Dylan Sauerwein on Unsplash
IM Happiness is initiating a new campaign, 'Hello Happiness'. The campaign unites 30+ celebrities from across the country to have a surprise conversation with selected people in India. Ranveer Brar, Daniel Weber, Masoom Minawala Mehta and Ash King are some of the celebrities who will be a part of this campaign. With this campaign, the community wants to help people deal with their emotions and to motivate them. The campaign is free of cost and the nominee just has to register, wherein the unique algorithm will connect the nominee with a celebrity or other mentors on a call according to their keywords.
The community is trying to bring a change but it is the society's accumulative effort to spread awareness and to make oneself happy. We should try to start small and it will eventually make a great difference because a better society allows us to lead a better life.
(Article originally published on IANS by N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keyowrds: Happiness, society, IM happiness, campaign, India, community