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By Salil Gewali
The imposition of lockdown from 24 March 2020 India by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to drive home the point that health is far more important than the wealth. He always stresses that no citizens should die of infectious Covid-19. It needs a tremendous amount of courage to call for lockdown in India. Without being swayed by other economic forces, the Prime Minister had taken this bold decision. Well, in this battle against the pandemic virus, each day the country has been bearing the immeasurable monetary losses, the worst economic slump ever.
The amount of sacrifice made by each individual citizen cannot be overlooked either. The countless have been suffering unprecedented hardship which we cannot describe in words. The employment lost and subsequent starvation are the worse pang faced by a huge chunk of marginalized people, particularly daily-wagers and migrant workers across the country. However, without any grudges, by and large, all citizens have obeyed what the Government ordered from day one.
But the decision to ease the restriction on the wine stores across the country is nothing but a thorn in the flesh. It has unfolded a very grim picture. It seems, what all praise the government has earned till date has been quite canceled out. Why so haste decision to regret later — given the pandemic nature of virus infection. We can have better fun after we develop the vaccination. What is amazing is the government has failed to “anticipate” the probable frenzied crowds could go astray which might be starkly contrary to the health measures so far as dos and don’ts of covid-19 are concerned? The fundamental etiquette of Covid of keeping physical distance has been just flouted. No exaggeration, “after-effects” of the lifting restriction on liquor selling will literally throw up a whole lot of absurdities bringing the authorities concerned into question. Do you think those who “uncontrollably” booze around can ever follow precautionary measures? Indian has such kind of people who totally lack any civil senses — they have no control, and when drunk, they can go to any extent. People are already in deep desperation due to the long span of lockdown. They can easily lose control of themselves. The primary idea of keeping physical distance then just becomes a big joke!
Many video clips that are going around on social media are themselves head-spinning. Some are very ridiculous; some are pathetic while some others are disgustingly shocking. One boozed person, probably from Delhi itself, mouthed off what can only be heard from a mindless person. He challenged coronavirus first and then challenged the government, especially for keeping its citizens inside the house for so many weeks. He lamented that he has no money to even one-time mean lol. The people around were giggling at the person enjoying his monologue drama.
In another video clip, a driver could not drive his vehicle back home. Soon after buying a bottle of wine on 4 May, he had directly gulped down without a second thought. The police came and tried hard to bring him to sense. It became a funny scene for the passersby, the rule of physical distance thrown to the wind. Another deadly tragedy happened in Haryana in the dead of the night. A heavily drunk person directly rammed his car into a house of roadside strangers. The collision was so heavy that it extensively damaged the wall and a room, besides an air-conditioner, washing machine and two scooters. The family members who were asleep inside thought it as a big explosion of a bomb. Is it not a paragon of vice? One very anxious wife who was waiting for her husband to return home quip – “He has almost forgotten about the drink in this lockdown, we became very happy. He even promised us many times that he will not touch wine anymore. But today he went out only to get that wretched spirit. We have no money to buy rice, but I wonder where my husband got the money from to buy the bottle of whiskey. I hold the government responsible for spoiling the males.”
How do we describe all this wobbly policy when 99% of the population is relentlessly battling the pandemic coronavirus by remaining locked up inside the houses as directed by the Government?
With so much of Covid-19 cases “sharply” increasing by the day and stiff rise in the number of deaths, one feels, the permission to open liquor shops could prove to the worst blunder. This only appears like a penny-wise and pound-foolish policy. It is time to think seriously. It is the time to weigh up each move we make and each fun we fall for. No joking, if we do not put off our “cheers” for some “more time” now, the virus has all potentialities to put the very flame of the whole civilization out.
Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds of India’.Twitter: @SGewali
[ Disclaimer: The pictures used in the article are supplied by the author, NewsGram has no intention of infringing copyrights. ]
Great historic events that have shaped the world and changed the outlines of countries are often not recorded in memory, or so we think. Wars made sure to destroy evidence and heritage, and the ones who survived told the tale of what really happened. Folklore, albeit through oral tradition kept alive many such stories, hidden in verse, limericks, and rhymes.
Ringa-ringa-roses, a common playtime rhyme among children across the world, is an example of folklore that has survived for many centuries. It tells the story of the The Great Plague of London which ravaged the city between 1665-1666.
The Plague broke out from improper disposal of garbage and poor sewage conditions. Fleas from the rats that lived in the sewers spread the disease that killed more than half of London's population. Many people fled from their homes as there was no medicine available for those who were infected.
Beak-shaped masks worn during the Great Plague of London Image source: wikimedia commons
It was around this time that masks began to be invented. The first masks were shaped like beaks, and were worn not to protect the wearer from the disease, but to the prevent them from being able to smell the decay and death around them, which they called 'miasma'. The beaks were filled with floral herbs that allowed doctors and nurses to tend to the sick without being reviled from the smell.
Children are often seen forming circles by holding hands and reciting loudly,
Pockets full of posies
We all fall down"
An illustration of the Great Plague of London, 1665 Image source: wikimedia commons
When the last line is sung, they break the circle and fall down. The roses and posies are believed to be the preferred fragrances inside the masks, and a single sneeze (a-tishoo) was enough to infect the one who was exposed to the disease. Consequently, they fell down, ill, and later died.
An alternative version of this rhyme is sung about the fall of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the aftermath of World War II. The roses and posies are interchanged with geranium and uranium, to symbolise what was used in the atomic bomb. But this version is not as famous the original.
Keywords: Rhymes, Ringa-ringa-roses, Great Plague of London, WWII, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Folklore
In modern times, many social movements aim to bring reform to the society we live in, on the basis of certain existing patterns. Patriarchy is something that many aim to cleanse our cultures of, to usher in the era of social and gender equality. Despite all these so-called movements, in southern India, certain societies that patronise matriarchy have existed since before India's independence. The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country.
Kerala remains separate from the rest of India in many ways. Be it literacy policy, form of government, or cultural practices, this state does not always conform to the ideal that India is known for. Even so with their social structure. Certain tribes have remained matrilineal, where the decision-making power rests with the eldest female of the family.
The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country. Image source: wikimedia commons
A male member, who is the close confidante of the matriarch is chosen. He plays a crucial role in representing the male members of his family, and his opinion is highly valued. He is called karavanan. The men reside in separate rooms or in separate houses, and do not interfere in the upbringing of children. Property is also passed down along the lineage of the eldest female. Among the Nairs, matriarchy is more prominently adhered to than the Ezhavas, who have some patrilocal connections.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Their matrilineal descent is known as Aliyasantana.
The story is told of a demon who threatened to destroy a kingdom if the king did not sacrifice his sons, but the king's sister comes forward to offer her children in sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom. The demon is touched and does not destroy the city. Since then, the kingdom, or the property is inherited through female lineage.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Image source: wikimedia commons
In the recent past, many of these matriarchal societies have been reduced to matrilineal societies by certain governmental laws. They fall under the patriarchal scheme of the rest of the state but have reserved the right to pass on property and heritage through the female line. In the North east of India, matriarchal dominance is far more resilient than the south.
Keywords: Bunts, Billava, Nair, Ezhava, Aliyasantana, Matrilineal, South India, Karnataka, Kerala
Apple inc. Is an American multinational tech firm specialized in consumer electronics, computer programs, and internet services founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to manufacture Wozniak's Apple iComputer. It is the world's top tech company in turnover (totaling $274.5 billion in 2020) and its most valuable corporation. Apple is the fourth-largest PC seller by unit sales and the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. On the day of the live event, Apple announced the iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 13, as well as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. | Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini.
iPad: The 10.2-inch iPad is equipped with a solid A13 processor that delivers 20 percent quicker performance than the preceding version. According to Apple, it is now three times faster than a Chromebook. A new 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage, which utilizes machine learning to optimize the front-facing camera during FaceTime video chats, as well as more incredible accessory support, including compatibility with the first-generation Apple Pencil, are among the new features. For 64GB of storage, the iPad costs $329.
iPad Mini: In addition to reduced borders and more rounded edges, the 8.3-inch iPad mini also has improved front and back cameras. A liquid retina display, USB-C compatibility, magnetic support for the Apple Pencil, an enhanced speaker system, and new hues such as pink and purple are all features of the new Apple iPad Mini. The starting price is $499.
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini. | Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash
The other major unveiled products include:
iPhone 13 and other variants: The iPhone 13 range is almost identical to the iPhone 12 lineup, with a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro, and a 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. It was also revealed that the Watch Series 7 has a smaller "S7" processor, which may allow for a bigger battery or other components to be housed in a smaller footprint. The gadgets have a revolutionary design that includes a dual-camera system, placed diagonally. Apple's iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have longer-lasting batteries than the previous generation of devices. In addition, Apple claims that the iPhone 13 will have a battery life that is 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12, and the iPhone 13 mini will have a battery life that is 1.5 hours longer. A more energy-efficient display, an upgraded 5G chip, and functionality called "Cinematic Mode," similar to the famous Portrait mode function but is only available for movies, are among the other enhancements. The A15 Bionic chip present in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini is also used in the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, also 6.1-inch devices. However, it also has a five-core CPU, which promises graphics that are 50% quicker than previous models. Other notable features of the Pro devices include a brilliant Super Retna XDR display with a higher refresh rate and long-lasting battery life. Now, for the price, it will start at $699 for the iPhone 13 mini with 128 GB of storage, $799 for the iPhone 13 with 128 GB of storage, and the Pro and Pro Max have starting prices of $999 $1,099, respectively.
Apple Watch Series 7: The new Apple Watch Series 7, which is smaller and has a larger screen than its previous model, was introduced by Apple on Wednesday. There is a 20% increase in screen size over Series 6 on the new watch. A complete keyboard that you can touch or slide to write out text messages can show 50% more text. It starts at $399.
Keywords: Apple, iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone Mini, Apple event 2021