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By Marija Sres
As a child, I knew India as “Indija Koromandija,” a synonym for “paradise on earth” in the minds of most Slovenians. Symbolically then, India was a promised land, whose “rivers flowed with milk and honey” — not water. And I received God’s gift of spending the best and happiest years of my life there.
Was it really heaven on earth?
I lived in Sabarkantha with the Bhil Adivasis, along the state border between Gujarat and Rajasthan. It was hill country, now sadly made barren by deforestation and drought. I lived here 40 years, the longest period of my life, enough time and opportunity to learn and adjust. During those years, I made bonds with people from all over India.
This world was vastly different from the people I previously lived with. My worldview and my values were also so very different from theirs, so it required a complete change of heart from me to enter into their world.
What was their world?
It was a feudal, patriarchal world. The world where women were still looked down upon, were illiterate and treated as cheap labor by contractors for road-building and construction, were sexually exploited, were harassed by government babus for the smallest concession — and where women considered themselves of little worth. Their existence was one of survival.
How so many women could smile and survive in these situations is something I have no words to describe, but only a deep appreciation for. My challenge was to build up, not only their economic well-being but their sense of dignity as well, and I did this with their help and support. In turn, they made me see how many of the things I wanted were not really necessary. I simplified my life, I learned to do with less.
The cornerstone of their lives was their deep love for life. For them, life was a gift, be it ever so hard. They were grateful for it, enjoyed it and expressed it in work, smiles, dances and songs!
This led me to see the values of relationship: to take time for each other, to share and know that “everything depends not on what you do, but on who you know.”
But people are unpredictable; so you need to embrace uncertainty. This means that nothing goes according to plan. India is a big country, a continent by itself. So lots of travelling is necessary for visitors. And travelling in India is difficult and uncomfortable. When you travel, open your mind: India is a sensory overload. You learn a lot by just being there.
Another value is to know how to wait. For us Westerners, this is the most difficult thing. Everything in India moves at a slower pace, like in the stories. To make most of the time, lose track of it. Throw away your clock, maybe also your calendar!
Value the family. It’s not a choice, it’s a necessity, a way of life. Lack of commitment to family is not just dishonor; it’s a personal shortcoming.
And yet, paradoxically, I have also learnt very much how to be alone even in the midst of a crowd — alone with oneself and alone with God.
My image of God grew tremendously. Not God in a temple, but the Divine Spirit everywhere, as the Adivasis see Her. God accepts each and everyone with the same loving care. We are all precious in her eyes. The spirituality we aspire to is so much above the petty piety of externals.
I marvel at the Indian genius for thinking, for inventing, and am puzzled why this country is still so poor. There is so much wealth here — one of the richest men in the world happens to be Indian; but so is the poorest woman! Such inequality, such discrimination. The most beautiful women in the world reside here (note how many Miss World and Miss Universe competitions Indians have won), but the ugliest and most polluted cities are also in India. Truly a continent of contradictions!
It was in India that I became a writer. As I said often, I came to myself here, realized my potential, and wrote from my heart. That’s how the stories about my Adivasi women, their children and their men, the people I lived with, I walked with, were written. My writings brought our tribal Dungri Garasiya Bhils into Gujarati literature, as a dear writer friend once told me. But not just Gujarati — into other languages like Marathi, Tamil, Slovene, English and Spanish. Their stories went around the world. I feel so proud of them!
Finally, dream and be hopeful in this land, lit by the warm sunshine, washed by the gentle rain. Why? Because in India we say, “Everything will be all right in the end.” If things are not all right, it means it’s not yet the end. So there’s still hope!
What I am today is because of the way India and its people shaped me: a happy woman who worked hard, laughed and cried, danced a lot, and learnt how to love and enjoy life. I know that I have left my heart here, with my Adivasi women among their barren hills. And my home will always be where my heart is.
For this is what “home” truly is, is it not? More than a place on earth, one is truly at home in the hearts of friends, and only there. For there are many who pass in and out of our lives, but we only remember those who leave their footprints in our heart. My mind races back over the years to the faces and voices of Indian friends I shall never forget.
Yes, I am grateful to this great land, where “milk and honey” flow not only in the big rivers and little streams but in the veins of my hands and feet, for I am the daughter whom India took into her home.
Thank you, aabhara, shukriya, dhanyavaad.
Marija Sres, a Slovenian, spent four decades empowering the Bhil Adivasis of Gujarat. She presently lives in Beltinci, Slovenia, in central Europe.
This article was first published at littleindia.com
Achieving soft, beautiful and happy skin is a dream for most of us or at least a long-pending item on our wish list. While there are lot of suggestions, a laundry list of do's and don'ts to follow, there are some basics that don't change. We have to understand that happy skin is a holistic process that requires one to work on building healthy habits combined with good skincare.
Here's a ready reckoner by ITC Fiama of tried and tested skincare habits that will serve as a reminder that skincare doesn't need to be complicated, it just needs to be consistent.
* Cleanse & Moisturise -- The first and the simplest step towards healthy skin is regular cleansing and moisturising, it is advisable to use a moisturizing body soap that ensures your skin gets the right nutrients and remains supple and nourished. A great product suited to this requirement is Fiama Gel Bathing Bar, which is enriched with nature's goodness. Fiama's bathing bars come in 5 variants and they help moisturize the skin making it appear soft, happy and bouncy.
The first and the simplest step towards healthy skin is regular cleansing and moisturising. | Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash
* Balanced Diet -- Healthy skin is an outcome of a balanced diet. The food we eat provides the building blocks for healthy functioning of our bodies. Our diet has everything to do with the health of our skin. The nutrients, minerals, and proteins found in food support collagen production and healthy cell membranes, and protect skin from harmful stressors, such as UV exposure.
Healthy skin is an outcome of a balanced diet. | Photo by Sam Moqadam on Unsplash
* Smile -- While most of us hate the idea of having crow's eyes and lines while we smile. We rarely realize the benefits of a simple smile. When we smile the blood flow gets better, and the skin receives more oxygen and nutrients. This can help you develop a healthier complexion alternately it also leaves you stress free making you look happy and radiant.
When we smile the blood flow gets better, and the skin receives more oxygen and nutrients. | Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash
* Drink Enough H20 -- With our bodies comprising of 70 per cent water, drinking sufficient amount of water is the easiest way to keep your skin healthy and hydrated. Drinking adequate water helps flush out toxins from our bodies, preventing pimples and acne and boosting the skin's elasticity. No wonder, water is called the elixir of life.
Drinking adequate water helps flush out toxins from our bodies, preventing pimples and acne and boosting the skin's elasticity. | Photo by Bluewater Sweden on Unsplash
* Move Your Body -- Along with cleansing and proper nutrition, another aspect which is important for happy skin is movement. When we move or burn calories, the body produces chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in the brain and trigger positive feelings and happy thoughts. This feeling of pure happiness and joy reflects on the skin, thus having the power to completely change your mood and keep you and your skin beaming. (IANS/ MBI)
When we move or burn calories, the body produces chemicals called endorphins. | Photo by Joanna Nix-Walkup on Unsplash
Keywords: Skin, soft, happy, healthy, food, move, calories, water, smile, moisturise, water, cleanse
It is true that street performances has been existing in India since ancient times. But, it was Philip Astley who brought the concept of circus in India in the 1880s. Interestingly, Astley is known as the father of modern circus.
Birth of the Great Indian Circus
In 1879, the Royal Italian Circus by Giuseppe Chiarini came to India. Before any of his shows, he would often say that India did not have a proper circus, and apparently, the country would have to wait for many years in order to develop the "circus trend".
Once, Balasahib Patwardhan, who was the king of the Kurundwad state of Sangli (today's Kolhapur) went to watch the circus. He was accompanied by Vishnupant Chatre, who was the keeper of his stable and also a riding master at the stables. As it was ritual, before starting with any performance, Chiarini used to challenge the audience by saying, "a thousand British Indian rupees and a horse would be given to anyone who would repeat his daring effects within six months". Interestingly, this time, the challenge was accepted by Chatre, and he announced that he will perform the same in Kurundwad within three months. And if he fails, he promised Chiarini that he would return "ten thousand British Indian rupees and top ten horses. On March 20, 1880, Chatre came to perform his circus at the Kurundwad Palace Grounds. But Chiarini did not come to see it.
Soon after this, Vishnupant Chatre bought most of the circus equipment from Chiarini, and within a year, he formed a new circus company called the "Great Indian Circus". This is referred to as the first circus company in India. Chatre's Great Indian Circus toured various parts of India and the world. Later on, Chatre merged his circus company with his cousin's company to launch a new company by the name of "Karlekar Grand Circus".
Other Famous Circuses of India
After the coming of Karlekar Grand Circus, many circuses came into being in India. In 1904, the Malabar Grand Circus, which was the first circus company in Kerala came into being under the leadership of Pariyali Kannan. Another circus named the Great Royal Circus was started in 1909. Though, its previous name was Madhuskar's Circus. One of the famous circuses of India was also the Grand Bombay Circus which was founded in the year 1920 by Baburao Kadam. Since a long time, tradition of circus as an art has been prevalent in India, though slight decline in its practice is evident now.
Keywords: India, Circus, Tradition, Art, Performance, Great Indian Circus, Philip Astley, Culture
By- Naman Rastogi
The first thing to understand about API security testing is that it is not a one-size-fits-all process. Testers must take into account the scope of the project, as well as the specific needs of developers and end-users. This article will provide you with some basic guidelines for an API security testing program. It will also outline some API security tests that you should consider including in your API testing process.
API security testing is a process that checks API functions for security vulnerabilities. These tests are intended to identify problems with the API's design, functionality, and implementation. API security testing is a proactive way to check the API for potential exploits.
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Tests To Include in API Security Testing
The API's parameter tampering test is a way to check any API calls that contain parameters for known attack patterns. The API security testing tool you use should provide warning alerts when it finds these types of vulnerability points.
Parameter tampering occurs because developers aren't properly securing the input data before it enters an API call from another application or web service. This gives attackers the ability to tamper with API input data. You can checkout this detailed guide on How to Perform Web Application Testing
Testing for API parameter tampering can include looking at all variables within API calls and checking whether they need to exist or not. In your tests, you'll also want to check how values are passed into API calls and whether or not they can be changed once data is passed in.
Also Read: No Halfway Deal In Security
Input fuzzing is one of the most basic kinds of testing you can perform on an API. It occurs when attackers send API inputs that contain random or unexpected values. This test will show you whether the API can handle random data or not. It should do so without impeding its performance, but rather enhancing it.
The API security testing tool you use should allow for several different types of fuzzing:
●Data Format Fuzzing: An input format can be modified to see how the API responds when an invalid value is received.
●Range Fuzzing: Some APIs only accept certain numeric ranges from authorized users, such as credit card numbers and phone numbers. You should check whether your API functions properly under this type of condition.
The first thing to understand about API security testing is that it is not a one-size-fits-all process.Getastra
●Boundary Fuzzing: This type of fuzzing should be used to check for boundaries within the API itself. For example, checking if a string is between certain character lengths, determining whether it's possible to pass in an empty parameter value that will still produce valid results, etc.
Testing for API input fuzzing can also include randomizing parameters that are always required by the API function being tested (e.g., session IDs). If these values don't need to exist, hackers will be able to bypass any checks made by the developers who have implemented strict guidelines regarding API usage.
Another API security test you should consider is to check for unhandled API functions. Unhandled API methods are those that developers didn't code into the API. This happens either because they were unaware of their necessity or simply forgot about them.
Allowing access to these functions creates a vulnerability point in your API's functionality. Unfortunately, attackers can use these vulnerabilities as attack vectors. API security testing should search for unhandled API methods and alert you to their presence.
This API security testing method will help you determine how well the API performs under different input conditions without any malicious actors trying to tamper with it.
A final API security test you should consider is to check for possible injection attacks. This type of vulnerability occurs when user-defined input data can be inserted into API calls as part of the API's scripting language.
Injecting attacks have been a long-time security threat for APIs. This is because they allow attackers to use any type of data that can be manipulated and inserted into an API call. They should ideally only allow what is provided by regular users or applications trying to access the API.
The API security testing process goes beyond just finding the presence of common API attack vectors like cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, remote code execution, and much more. It also looks for other API features that can put your system at risk if they aren't properly secured with input validation defenses or strict API security features.
Though API security testing may seem daunting, it's a necessary step in securing your systems and data. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If you don't have time to do this yourself, you can always seek help from security experts. The costs are justified by the benefits. So, make sure to conduct API security testing if you haven't already!
Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and include some commercial links)