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Every year, the festival of Lohri is celebrated on January 13, which is a night before Makar Sankranti. Lohri is basically celebrated to commemorate the passing of the Winter Solstice and looks forward to longer days. The festival is primarily celebrated by the Sikh and Hindu communities in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent.
History and Significance of Lohri
One of the reasons why Lohri is celebrated is because wheat, which is the primary crop of Punjabis, is sown in October and is later harvested in March, and to celebrate this, people gather around a bonfire and celebrate the harvesting of this crop. At the same time, people also celebrate the passing of the winter and the coming of spring season as Lohri in January.
‘Dulla Bhatti’ was a local hero of Punjab during the reign of the Mughal Emperor, Akbar. His grave is buried at Miani Sahib Qabristan in Pakistan.Photo by Wikimedia Commons
Another reason why Lohri is celebrated is because this day is attributed to the tale of ‘Dulla Bhatti’, who was a local hero of Punjab during the reign of the Mughal Emperor, Akbar, and worked as a saviour of the people and was considered as ‘Robin Hood’ of Punjab. It is believed that he would steal commodities from the rich and provide them to the poor. In fact, he is believed to save groups of young girls from being sold into slavery, and would arrange the girls’ marriages to the village boys and provide them with dowry from the stolen loot. Interestingly, two of the girls who were saved by Dulla Bhatti were Sundri and Mundri, who have now come to be associated with Punjab’s famous folklore, ‘Sunder Mundriye’.
Celebration of Lohri
There is no doubt that every year the festival of Lohri is celebrated with much enthusiasm with the traditional bonfire. At the same time, along with the bonfire, people offer prayers to the God for a healthy harvest and offer peanuts, gur ki rewari, and fox nuts to the bonfire. After this, people majorly Sikhs, dance around the magnificent bonfire along with singing popular folk songs. Men show their energetic moves in Bhangra, while women do Gidda.
People, majorly Sikhs, dance around the magnificent bonfire while singing popular folk songs.Photo by Pixabay
It must be noted that even though the festival of Lohri is celebrated throughout India, but most of zeal and zest is seen in Punjab, where people celebrate by eating roasted corn from the new harvest. Alongside corn, sugarcane products such as gudd (jaggery) and gachak (dry sweet made of peanuts and jaggery) are central to the celebration food.
Because this year the threat of Covid-19 exists, the great celebration of Lohri may not be evident. But, this wouldn’t stop people from having fun in their safe spaces, their respective homes, where they’ll do Bhangra and Gidda while eating gajak!
(Keywords: Lohri, Celebration, Punjab, Hindu, Sikhs, India, Covid-19, Bhangra, Gidda, History, Significance, Happy Lohri, Dance)
Trends come and go, but some stick around for a while, such as the Work from Home look. Forget wearing casuals and try some new styles that are both comfortable and appropriate for online meetings and calls.
Being in style is always great, whether it's at the office or at home. Naveen Mahlawat, co-founder of StalkBae.com, a fashion e-commerce site owned by MadBow Ventures Ltd, offers some new style advice for working from home:
The black and white top
This timeless combination never goes out of style. A black and white shirt teamed with a black trouser or skirt creates the perfect style, whether it's at your office desk or in your favourite chair at home.
This timeless combination never goes out of style. | IANS
What better way to show off your professional yet trendy side than with an olive-green full-sleeves top? In a Zoom meeting or during a virtual chat with your client, the all-time favourite olive colour is great to capture eyes.
What better way to show off your professional yet trendy side than with an olive-green full-sleeves top. | IANS
Classy Cargo trousers
Old is gold, and Cargo tracks are the most comfortable and easiest to style. Pair them with sweaters or sweatshirts for a full day in front of the computer.
The Shirt dress
For your virtual presentations on your office project, the shirt dress gives you a formal yet trendy look. The blue shirt seems comfortable enough to wear all day, but it also gives the impression that you didn't just get out of bed.
For your virtual presentations on your office project, the shirt dress gives you a formal yet trendy look. | IANS
Checkered Blue Skirt
Match your favourite sleeveless tops with the lovely knotted checkered blue skirt for a stylish look for your long day at work. With this outfit, you may show your eccentric side while yet maintaining a professional demeanour at work. (IANS/ MBI)
Match your favourite sleeveless tops with the lovely knotted checkered blue skirt. | IANS
(Keywords: style, office, slay, work, shirt, skirt, green, trendy, professional, checkered, work from home)
By M.K. Ashoka
The issue of wearing a hijab (head covering worn in public by Muslim women) to the colleges along with the uniform has sparked a debate in Karnataka over religious practices impacting the education system in the state. The matter has also snowballed into a controversy on whether the hijab could be considered as part of the uniform. The ruling BJP is deliberating on whether to take a call on allowing hijab as part of the uniform of college students. State Education Minister B.C. Nagesh, while opposing the wearing of hijab to classrooms, has said that a decision would be taken on the issue soon by the government.
The experts as well as students are divided over the issue. Those who are in favour state that the dress code in classrooms should not indicate faith or religion as it creates barriers between students as well as teachers. Those who support the wearing of hijab say that hijab should be treated as a scarf. Hijab is black in colour and it can't be a religious symbol as Islam is identified with the green colour. The hijab should be treated as a symbol of chastity, they maintain.
The denial of permission to six girls in the Government Girls' Pre University College in the communally sensitive district of Udupi in the state has created a controversy. Nagesh dubbed it as a political move and questioned whether centres of learning should become religious centres. Meanwhile, the girl students have decided to continue their protest until they are allowed to attend classes wearing hijab.
"I have been facing the issue of hijab. We have not been allowed into the classroom just because we are wearing hijab. Though it's our fundamental and constitutional right they are not allowing us. It's a government college though. There is a lot of discrimination in the college, we can't speak to each other in Urdu, we can't say salaam to each other in the college. This matter has become communal and we are so sad about it. We did not want this to become communal," Aliya Assadi, a protesting student explained.
"Many political parties are taking advantage of this. We are just asking for basic fundamental rights. I don't know why it is so tough to take us inside with a headscarf. We are not asking permission with burqas. Last Friday, the college principal and four professors made protesting students give an apology letter by blackmailing them that their statements on hijab are false. For basic rights do we have to do so much?" she asked. "They tease that we will never win in this protest. They called our parents many times and tried to manipulate them. I request government officials to respond on the issue and allow us to wear hijab. We don't want options. We want to study, come up in life as well as wear hijab," explained Almas.
The girl students have decided to continue their protest until they are allowed to attend classes wearing hijab. | Unsplash
Eight students of the college are still protesting in the college campus for being denied entry into the classrooms for wearing hijab along with the uniform. Five of them are studying in II PUC and three students are studying I PUC. The students are turning down the demands of shunning hijab and are firm on their stand that until the government gives them permission to wear hijab and attend classes, they will sit outside the classrooms and continue to protest. They maintain that it is their religious freedom and constitutional right to wear hijab.
Sathish M Bejjihally, Bengaluru City University Academic Council Member and Principal Vidya Sanskaar Institute of Science, Commerce and Management, told IANS that educational institutions should be devoid of caste, colour, religion. Students come to school for learning. There may be differences of opinion however, there should not be differences among individuals.
"The dress should not indicate faith, religion. It will create barriers between students. The development may lead to clashes in the educational institutes. Swami Vivekananda has stated that education is the manifestation of perfection which is already there in the child. The child was born as ‘vishwa manava' (global citizen), but society restricts him to become one" he said. The students wearing hijabs will miss out on peer group learning. Uniform is a comfortable cloth designed to facilitate participation of students in sports, cultural activities, he explained.
However, Professor Muzaffar Assadi, Dean Faculty of Arts in ManasaGangothri in Mysuru University, explained that dress code is about decency. We should be allowed to wear hijab just as sarees, Punjabi dresses are allowed. Hijab could be treated as a headscarf and it will not hide the uniform. "If hijab could be treated as a religious symbol then students can't come to classes with kumkum (bindi, vermillion), bangles. No public school is completely secular. Saraswathi pooja is conducted, Hindu gods' photos will be on walls, festivals are celebrated in schools, aren't they religious?" Assadi asks.
Hijab is a symbol of chastity, not a religious one. "Why don't you treat it as just a scarf? If you see everything in that perspective then wearing of ‘Janivaar' (sacred thread) is also religious. Hijab is not religious as it is of black colour. Islam is identified with green colour. Black also represents dissent and sadness, he says.
The dress which does not attract sexual appetite, indecent, against the rules and which does not cover uniform should be allowed. "Let us celebrate cultural diversity. I oppose uniform culture itself. One of my colleagues who is retiring always comes for lectures in jeans and a t-shirt. It should not matter," he said.
Premashree, Central Working Committee Member of Akhila Bharatha Vidyarthi Parishad and student of LLM, explained that students have to come with a feeling of unity. "Anything which affects unity and gives scope to groupism we will oppose. There should not be saffron shawls either in the campus," she said. "Since 75 years the uniform system in the country has been maintained like this and it has to be maintained like that," she opines.
All eyes are on the move of the ruling BJP in the state over the issue of wearing of hijab by students. | Unsplash
Masood Manna, State Committee Member of Campus Front of India (CFI), said, "If there is no solution found by the government they will stage a protest. "It is a violation of the right to education and the right to practice religion," he said. Nagesh told IANS that a decision had been made by the School Development and Management Committee in 1985. The committee has taken a decision with regard to uniforms in the campus. "So far all children are following the rule. Whichever institution it is, if they make a rule, the students who want to study must be obliging. All these days the uniform rule was followed and why did they suddenly change?" he asked.
"It is political. What if others start wearing dresses according to their wishes? Do we have to allow them, the students will come in half dresses, and do we have to allow them?" Nagesh questioned. A similar incident was reported from Chikkamaglur district. One group of students started wearing saffron shawls protesting the wearing of hijabs by some girl students in the college. The authorities have resolved the issue after holding a parents-teachers meeting. Now, all eyes are on the move of the ruling BJP in the state over the issue of wearing of hijab by students. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: hijab, karnataka, bjp, ruling, row, political, muslims, islam, rights, students, educational institutions)
An Indian-American police officer, who has been on the job for just over six months, is being hailed a hero for rushing to neutralize a gunman who shot a police officer and wounded another. Sumit Sulan, 27, shot the assailant who surprised the officers opening fire on them in his mother's flat on January 21 where police were called because of a domestic dispute. Jason Rivera, 22, was killed and Wilbert Mora, 27, was wounded, but Sulan who was in the police party advanced and shot the alleged gunman, Lashawn McNeil, 47, according to police.
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McNeil is in hospital with serious injuries. Before taking on the gunman, Sulan had moved the mother and her other son to safety, police said. Sulan and his two colleagues had gone to the flat in the Harlem neighborhood in response to a call by McNeil's mother that her son was threatening her. He had a close escape when he rushed to take on McNeil as the man allegedly was firing with a super-charged weapon - a modified Glock pistol fitted with a high-capacity drum with 50 rounds, turning it into a virtual machine gun. His mother Dalvir Sulan told the New York Post: "I'm proud. Everyone (says) he did good."
McNeil is in hospital with serious injuries. | Unsplash
She said that he was still struggling to deal with the events and "his brain is stuck on the situation". According to her, the family had immigrated to the US about 15 years ago from India. Sumit Sulan, who entered the police force only in April 2021, has been nicknamed "Super Rookie", according to the Post. He had worked for the city as a taxi and limousine inspector before joining the police. Sumit Sulan had responded earlier this month to a domestic violence incident during which a gun was seized, his police station tweeted with a picture of him holding the weapon. In a city caught in a wave of escalating violence, Friday's incident was the third gun attack on police officers this month.
They are a direct challenge to Mayor Eric Adams, a former police captain, who took office on New Year's Day with a promise to crack down on crime. He called the shooting of the police officers an "attack on the city". Police have come under sustained attack around the country from the Democratic Party's left and its supporters with a sustained movement to either abolish or cut the police force in a campaign that started in May 2020 after the killing of an African-American by police in Minnesota. While Adams, who is a Democrat, has pledged to take a hard line against crime, others in his party have taken the opposite tack.
A gunman shot a police officer and wounded another. | Unsplash
His party colleague Avin Bragg, who was elected the public prosecutor for Manhattan, where the January 21 attack took place, has announced that he would not prosecute several categories of offences like most assaults; theft without guns that would affect Indian news-stand operators and Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants running grocery stores; not paying fares on the metro rail system, and resisting police, which in effect would decriminalizing them. So far the Black Lives Movement and the Democratic party's left have been silent on Sumit Sulan and have not attacked him for shooting McNeil, who is African-American, as they often do when a Black person is shot by police. The slain officer and his wounded colleague are both Latinos, members of a minority community. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : cop, kill, gunman, hero, officer, India, America, violence, hospital, injury, weapon, assault, city, inspector, safety, dispute.)