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By Rukma Singh
40 Kilometres from Guwahati, lies the mystical, magical land of Mayong. The name ‘Mayong’ is believed to have originated from the word maya (illusion). It is a cluster of villages located on the banks of the Brahmaputra in Morigaon district.
Feared as the land of ‘Black magic and magicians’, the secret stories of Mayong are believed to be the main factors encouraging the mysticism associated with it. Mayong also happens to be a famous tourist spot. Curious tourists who have visited Mayong say that the eerie silence that surrounds it stands in utter contrast to the dark and chaotic history that it has had.
Every aspect of Mayong has a story associated with it. Even the origin of the name has an unresolved mystery. Following are some of the stories narrated by the natives:
During the time when all the northeast states were one under a common name Assam, it is believed that Manipuris from the Maiibong clan used to inhabitat this area therefore; the name Maibong became Mayhong with time.
Mayong is a hilly area that was full of elephants, and in Manipuri language an elephant is called Miyong. Hence, a few believe that Miyong became Mayong with time. There is also a legend associated with the name, it is said that the sacred parts of Godess Shakti, hence the older generation called it as Maa- R- Ongo, (parts of the goddess ), and later on it became Mayong.
The cultural significance of the place stems from the fact that it is the capital of magic and witchcraft in India.
Upon a visit to Mayong, one can witness some rare tricks which may look like unnatural practice to modernity but are enough to shake one from within. The most common tricks include fortune telling via sea shells , palmistry, future projection through a piece of broken glass look unbelievable.
The magic in Mayong is believed to have been used for social welfare.
One of the magic tricks leads to curing an illness from a distance only by cutting only a handful of plants while chanting some secret words.
Perhaps one of the most outstanding acts of magic is the act of curing back pain. The witchdoctor ‘puts’ the cure trapped inside a magic chant in a copper dish to track the pain. When the pain originates, the plate gets stuck with the body. Locals believe that this dish eats away the pain.
If the person is really suffering from pain, the copper dish becomes extremely hot and within seconds, it breaks and scatters automatically.
Another trick includes finding a stolen item. The witchdoctor puts a flower in a metal bowl, which starts moving by itself and moves directly to the place where the stolen item is kept.
As untrue as they sound, these tricks have been proven.
There are several mantras too, which are used for different reasons. For example, to create attraction between two individuals, they have Mohini mantra, Bokhikaran mantra. Reportedly, in the old times, people could actually move to whenever they wanted in minutes by the use of Uran mantra, or the chant to fly.
Folklore suggests that in the earlier times, there lived a sorcerer by the name of Chura Bez in Assam. The word of his magical powers had spread far and wide, and with good reason. Chura Bez was known to be able to disappear into thin air just by muttering the ‘Luki Mantra’.
“I was a young girl then, but my grandfather’s stupendous feats are fresh in my mind’s eye. Now you see him, now you don’t – we would rub our eyes in disbelief as he suddenly became invisible, ” says his 75-year-old granddaughter, Nareswari Devi to a national daily.
Mayong and the media
Not a lot of effort had been made to document Mayong in its entirely until 2011 when filmmaker Utpal Borpujari decided to visit. His journey resulted into a 53-minute documentary film, Mayong: Myth/Reality, which delves into the ancient secrets of these practitioners of the tantra school of Hinduism.
It has a community of 100-odd magicians, but many of them, as the film reveals, are compelled to work as farm hands or masons to make a living. Time seems to have stood still here for too long, leaving the locals in a rather precarious socio-economic condition.
P.C. Sarkar, the world famous magician, has been known to have acknowledged his indebtedness to Mayong’s teachings for many of his performances.
Septuagenarian Basanta Nath, a magic practitioner of the village, is a strong believer in magic.
“People these days dismiss magic as superstition. But when you see things for yourself, you believe. Nowadays, when people fall ill, they generally prefer to go to the doctor instead of us. But there are still people who come to us with their troubles,” Nath said to a national daily.
“People from far off states like Punjab, Haryana and West Bengal, other than from Assam and the surrounding places, come to Mayong to learn magic,” he added.
Naba Deka, who works in a resort in the wildlife sanctuary and hails from Mayong says, “There are spells to turn a leaf into a fish, or an evil man into an animal. But magic cannot fight against nature’s fury; so there is no spell against the annual floods (in the Brahmaputra river).”
Many tourists call Mayong a land of ‘necromancy’, where within the layers of scenic beauty lies a plethora of secrets of magic and myth.
Children exposed to high levels of air pollution are up to 50 per cent more likely to self-harm later in life, suggested a study that adds to evidence of link between air pollution and mental health problems. Researchers from the University of Manchester in England and Aarhus University examined 1.4million kids under 10 in Denmark and found that those exposed to a high level of nitrogen dioxide were more likely to self harm in adulthood than their peers, the Daily Mail reported.
And people in the same age group exposed to above average levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were 48 per cent more likely to subsequently self-harm, revealed the study published in the journal Preventive Medicine. Nitrogen dioxide is mainly produced by cars, while PM2.5 is mainly emitted by burning diesel and petrol, which is most commonly used for shipping and heating. These two pollutants are among those most commonly linked with causing harm to physical health, such as heart and lung diseases, by getting into the bloodstream and causing inflammation.
"Our findings add to the growing evidence-base indicating that higher levels of air pollution exposure are linked with poor mental health outcomes," lead author Dr Pearl Mok, a research fellow at Manchester University was quoted as saying. "Although air pollution is widespread, it is a modifiable risk factor and we therefore hope our study findings will inform policymakers who are devising strategies to combat this problem," Mok added.
"Our findings add to the growing evidence-base indicating that higher levels of air pollution exposure are linked with poor mental health outcomes," lead author Dr Pearl Mok | Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash
While the researchers have not explained the mechanism for how these pollutants can cause mental health problems, they say high pollution levels could trigger inflammation in the brain, leading to mental health conditions, the report said. Childhood is a 'sensitive time for brain development', so youngsters may be 'particularly susceptible' to negative effects from toxic particles in the air, they added.
Further, the team found that some 32,984 people (2.3 per cent) harmed themselves in the study period, with cases higher among women, those whose parents had mental illness and individuals from poorer families. Exposure to an average of 19 microgram/m3 or more of particulate matter each day was associated with a 48 per cent higher chance of self-harming later in life, compared to children exposed to an average of 13 microgram/m3 per day or less. And for every 5 microgram/m3 increase in exposure above 19 microgram/m3, the risk of self harm rose by 42 per cent. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: pollution, kids, exposure, pollution, self-harm, development
By- Tejas Maheta
When attempting to summarise the current performance and future portents for the South Asia economy, it's arguable that most of the region's nations are doing relatively well.
Malaysia offers a relevant case in point, as despite combatting Covid-19 whilst also dealing with a global oil price crash and political instability, the nation is poised to record economic growth of 0.5% by the end of 2020.
Sure, this is noticeably down on the initial 2002 forecast of 4.8% growth, but it needs to be considered against the backdrop of an unprecedented combination of socio-economic and geopolitical challenges.
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Similar trends have been reported in Vietnam and Hong Kong, the former of which has recorded no coronavirus deaths at all and remains one of the few nations on course to achieve economic growth this year. But which nations are really leading the recovery in this region, and what should we expect going forward?
Surviving Covid - Currencies and Stimulus Packages
Of course, one thing that unites these nations is the proactive rollout of generous stimulus and quantitative easing packages, with Malaysia having provided an RM295 billion injection into the economy.
Of this, an estimated 15% (approximately RM45 billion) is a direct fiscal injection in the government, with the remaining capital introduced in the form of slashing base interest rates and managing inflation.
Hong Kong has also introduced several rounds of quantitative easing measures since February, with April's iteration providing an HKD120 billion relief package and taking the total government stimulus investment to HKD290 (which equates to 9.5% of Hong Kong's gross domestic product).
In the case of both Malaysia and Hong Kong, these measures have also helped to boost the value of domestic currencies. The Hong Kong dollar rose for the fifth consecutive day last week, for example, while the HK Monetary Authority sold a further HK£3.72 billion of local currency and continued to boost their capital inflows as a result.
The Malaysian Ringgit has also performed relatively well against major currencies of late, although it faces additional challenges in the form of the recent global oil price decline.
So, although crude oil prices have recently rebounded slightly, Malaysia's currency value has been impacted by rising capital outflows and forced to trade within an increasingly narrowing range.
Common Ringgit notes Image source: wikimedia commons
A Look Ahead - What Can we Expect?
Asia was the region first affected by Covid-19, and therefore it stands to reason that its nations should have commenced their recovery quicker than those in Europe and the US.
Interestingly, the shoots of recovery may be green in more ways than one, with the Export-Import Bank of Korea leading the return of Asian green bonds in the primary financial market.
Also Read: Zimbabwe Ends Its Interim Currency
Of course, the idea of sustainable finance and investment has been a hot-button topic in Asia for a while now, while we've also seen a significant increase in demand for Green, Social and Sustainability (GSS) bonds in recent times.
This followed the introduction of a 700 million Euro green bond and Korea's pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 (following hot on the footsteps of the UK).
With these points in mind, there's clearly the potential for Asia to build on its relative strength and initial Covid-19 recovery by investing in sustainable assets and building a considerably greener future.
(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and contains commercial links)
How Can A Person Create His Cryptocurrency, And What Are The Benefits Of Creating His Cryptocurrency?
By- Jean Nichols
Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency, and many people have been inspired by bitcoin, and they started to create their cryptocurrency. Even many people are creating their cryptocurrency. Daily there is a new cryptocurrency that is created daily. In this further, we will discuss the factors required to make our cryptocurrencies are.
What are the benefits of cryptocurrency?
There are many benefits of investing in cryptocurrency on https://bitcoin-loophole.live/ . Because of this reason; there are many people who have shifted from the share market to cryptocurrency for investment purposes and for earning huge profits.
●The primary advantage of cryptocurrency is that the market of cryptocurrency is very volatile and rises and falls very quickly. So just by getting the knowledge, one can very quickly invest in cryptocurrencies.
●The second main advantage of investing in bitcoin is that it is a universal currency. One can easily invest in cryptocurrencies and use Them in any part of the world.
●This is a universal currency, so it is straightforward to make international transactions through it. International transactions take very little time on this platform.
There are some of the other primary advantages too, like less time-consuming, low transaction charges, etc.
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A chart depicting crypsocurrency rates and prices Image source: wikimedia commons
Are factors necessary for creating your own cryptocurrency?
While creating your own cryptocurrency, there are some factors that need to be taken care of before starting work on them.
●The major thing which is required in this is that we require a professional coder who has essential experience. He can help us create our own cryptocurrency by doing satisfactory coding.
●Another thing we need is the blockchain. In the case of the blockchain, we can create our own blockchain, which would cost very high and which would be very time consuming; instead of that, we can use the blockchain of some other cryptocurrency. Now there comes the difference, if we are creating our own blockchain, then it will be known as the coin, and if we are using the blockchain of some other crypto, then it will be known as a token.
●Another major thing required for creating our own cryptocurrency is that we need full-time customer care support, which can handle customers easily.
●Another thing is that we require a proper payment gateway so that we can make the money transfers very conveniently.
●The last factor which controls all the above factors is that we need a considerable investment amount and along with that the investors.
What are the advantages of new cryptocurrency?
There are many advantages of creating own cryptocurrencies:
●The owner of the cryptocurrency can hold a large proportion of the bitcoin on his own, and when the prices of the crypto rise, then he can easily sell the crypto in proportions and can live a luxurious life.
●The prices of the new cryptocurrencies rise; there are no chances of falling down of the bitcoin prices as the new crypto price rises continually as anyone invests in it.
Bitcoin is well on its way to replacing or globalising currency Image source: wikimedia commons
As with the time, a new cryptocurrency should give some benefits to the users:
●It should provide fewer transaction charges as much as possible; this is also the main thing that matters in cryptocurrency.
●The payment gateway should be the best, and there should not be the payments on hold in it; the user hates these types of things.
●Customer service should be the best one and deal with the customers in the best way possible. Because polite customer service can impress the customer and he will recommend others to invest in the cryptocurrency.
Here we have discussed the factors which are very necessary for a new cryptocurrency. There are benefits both to the users as well as to the people who are investing in cryptocurrency. The owner of the cryptocurrency will earn money by keeping the central part of the holdings and sales in it in the future.
The users can earn profits by investing in it initially and sell it in early times as there will be the price of the crypto in the skies. So, this was all about creating your own cryptocurrency; the only problem which arises is that there comes the problem of the funds' collection.
(Disclaimer: This article is sponsored and contains some commercial links)