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Meet men whose love for Typewriter keeps it alive in India

The world's last mechanical typewriter manufacturing company, Godrej & Boyce, which produced 12,000 machines in 2009 alone, closed down in Mumbai, India, in 2011

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Typists in India. Image source: www.youtube.com
  • A handful of Indian typists keeps the tradition of typewriting alive in India
  • Every year, Typewriter day is acknowledged on June 23
  • The world’s last mechanical typewriter manufacturing company, Godrej & Boyce was closed down in Mumbai, India, in 2011

A 70 year-old man in Kolkata works on his aged but gleaming typewriter, typing the neatest of the documents in exchange of a meager amount. When the whole world has made computers part of their lives, these men kept the age old tradition of typewriting alive through their love for it.

Typewriter day is acknowledged on June 23 and recognizes the US patent granted to Christopher Latham Sholes in 1868. Thus it becomes crucial to recognize people who keep the spirit of the ancient device up.

An underwood typewriter with its qwerty keyboard. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

A report records that “The world’s last mechanical typewriter manufacturing company, Godrej & Boyce, which produced 12,000 machines in 2009 alone, closed down in Mumbai, India, in 2011. The warehouse has since been converted into a refrigerator-manufacturing unit.” However, the machine has not taken a last breath yet.

The most noticeable idea arises when one sees the typewriters still being a part of many people working outside the courts. For them, earning 5 dollars a day is an achievement. The most interesting thing to note is how these people have this sole occupation to rely on for their livelihood, hence the will to type the documents make them passionate for the work and also for the device.

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It’s not that they didn’t try their luck at several other occupations as that of clerical jobs in several government offices. However, they felt content being a typist as it fetches them enough for their livelihood. They do not own a cabin inside high-rise buildings but sit under blue plastic sheets opposite to the street tea-stalls, juice corners and ‘pan bhandars’.

The reason with their sticking to the same place, whatever the season is, brings one to the fact that it’s a hub for them. To put it as their statement, “We must stick around these court offices, else who will give us the work?” An organisation called the High Court Freelance Typist Association used to protect the right of these typists for which the internal politics resulted in dissolution 15 years ago. However, ending of the official association didn’t break their unity and now they work in the direction of being settles avoiding outsiders to enter their domain. They proudly claim, ‘We do what the computer people can’t’.

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Somenath Adhikary, a lawyer described their importance as, “Earlier we had shorthand professionals and we could dictate the text and get them typed later. Now good shorthand writers are not available so we have to make do with hurriedly written notes that turn out to be quite illegible at some point,” he explains. These typists, having worked with us for so long, know our handwriting; they can figure out the letters and the strokes. They have also learned a lot about the vocabularies we use, the sentences we frame. So when they turn in a typed document on the basis of our scanty and handwritten notes, the typed sheet looks neat and perfect. They make our jobs so much easier.”

These typists do not go through an easy life and they travel long distances from home to work. They rent a space to keep their assets safe overnight. What they give the world are not just inked words on a white paper, but they tell how a tradition can never be escaped, by keeping it alive.

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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10 Customs of the Hindu Dharma Explained by Science

Have you ever wondered the rationale behind the customs and traditions of the Hindu dharma?

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Hindu dharma
A deeper look into the practices of Hindu dharma reveal that they are based on scientific knowledge. We tell you how! Pixabay

New Delhi, October 4, 2017 : You might have been moved by the way followers of the Hindu dharma bow down and welcome you inside their homes. Or by the way Hindu women dress, with jewellery adorning their hands and legs. Who doesn’t like the crinkling of their bangles, after all? But have you ever wondered the rationale behind their customs and traditions?

According to popular notions, the traditions and practices of the Hindu dharma have been equated with superstitions. However, a deeper look into the practices reveal that they are based on scientific knowledge and have been observed over generations , keeping in mind a more holistic approach.

Hinduism can hence, be called a dharmic scientific religion rather than just scientific religion. We prove you how!

 1. Worshiping the Peepal tree

Hindu dharma entails a myriad gods and goddesses and there exist a variety of reasons that propagate worship of Peepal tree. According to Brahma Purana, demons Ashvattha and Peepala hid inside and lured people to touch the Peepal tree and consecutively killed them. They were killed by lord Shani and hence the tree has been worshiped ever since. Another legend believed Goddess Lakshmi resides under the Peepal tree every Saturday which lends it a divinely touch. Another school of thought believes lord Hanuman sat on top of the Peepal tree in Lanka to witness the hardships faced by Sita.

Hindu dharma
Leaves of the ‘holy’ Peepal tree. Pixabay

The Peepal tree does not have a succulent fruit, lacks strong wood and does no good other than provide shade. However, it continues to enjoy increasing devotion from people practicing the Hindu dharma. Science confirms that Peepal is the only tree which produces oxygen even during the night. Hence, in order to preserve this unique property, ancestors of the Hindu dharma related it to God. Additionally, the tree is of utmost significance in Ayurveda and its bark and leaves are used to treat diseases and illnesses.

 2. Do not chew leaves of Tulsi plant

The Tulsi plant is revered in the Hindu dharma. Apart from its medicinal qualities, the plant is also known for its symbolic presence in Hindu mythology.

According to popular belief, Tulsi is the wife of Lord Vishnu. Hence, biting and chewing it is considered disrespectful.

Hindu dharma
According to popular belief, Tulsi is the wife of Lord Vishnu. Pixabay

However, according to botanists, Tulsi has high quantities of mercury. If raw mercury comes in contact with teeth (calcium), it can possibly result in inundation, making the teeth fall. Hence, leaves of the Tulsi plant are suggested to be swallowed and not chewed.

 3. Applying tilak on your forehead

Application of tilak is a religious ac. According to the Hindu dharma, the forehead signifies spirituality. Hence, application of a tilak on the forehead denotes an individual’s thoughts and conviction towards spirituality.  Various Vedic scriptures and Upanishads maintain that energy, potency and divinity comes to those who apply a tilak.

Hindu dharma
A flute player from India with a tilak on his forehead. Wikimedia Commons.

However, science asserts that during the application of a tilak, the central point in the forehead and the Adnya-chakra automatically pressed which encourages blood supply to the facial muscles.  According to body anatomy, a major nerve point is located in the middle of the eye brows on the forehead. Application of the red tilak is believed to maintain vitality in the body and prevent the loss of energy. The Tilak is also believed to control and enhance concentration.

 4. Obsessive cleaning during Diwali

Diwali, the festival of lights honors the goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth. The festival also commemorates the return of lord Ram after an exile of 14 years to his kingdom in Ayodhya. According to Hindu mythology, the night of his return was a new moon night. To illuminate his path in the pitch dark night, the villagers of Ayodhya cleaned the entire village and lit it with lamps.

Hence, Diwali is preceded by extensive cleaning of the entire house in honor of both the deities of Hindu mythology. Legend also believed goddess Lakshmi comes home on Diwali and thereby, the entire place should be cleaned and decorated to welcome the goddess.

However, science backs the concept and explains that Diwali essentially falls in October and November, and mark beginning of winters and end of monsoon season.

Hindu dharma
People indulge in cleaning, repari and beautification of their homes ahead of Diwali to welcome goddess Lakshmi. Pixabay

In older times, the monsoons were not a good period as they were characteristic of excessive rains that often resulted in floods and damaged homes, which then needed repair. This is why people indulged in repair, cleaning and beautification of their homes.

 5. Folding your hands for ‘Namaskar’

You will often find people practicing Hindu dharma greeting people by joining their palms together. The ‘Namaskar’ is believed to signify respect for people.

Hindu dharma
People practicing Hindu dharma greeting people by joining their palms together. Pixabay

This pose requires an individual to join all finger tips together that carry the pressure points of ears, eyes and mind. Science says pressing them together activates these pressure points, making our mind attentive.  This aids us to remember people for a longer duration.

The Namaskar can also be backed up by an act to maintain hygiene and cleanliness since it does not involve any physical contact.

 6. Wearing toe rings

Traditionally, toe rings are worn by married woman on the second toe and are treated as a sign of holy matrimony. However, they are believed to be a part of the Indian culture since the times of Ramayana when Sita threw her toe ring for her husband lord Ram, upon being abducted by Ravana.

Science says that a nerve on this toe connect the uterus to the heart.  Wearing a ring on this finger helps regulate blood flow, thereby, strengthening the uterus and regulating menstrual cycle. It is also believed to have an erotic effect.

 7. Applying henna on hands and feet

Mehendi or henna is usually applied during weddings and festivals to enhance the beauty of the women-folk. According to popular beliefs, the color of the henna denotes the affection a girl will enjoy from her husband and mother-in-law.

Hindu dharma
Mehendi or henna is usually applied during weddings and festivals to enhance the beauty of the women-folk. Pixabay

However, science provides rationale of applying henna during the stressful times of festivals and weddings. Festivity stress can bring fevers and migraines, which when mixed with excitement and nervous anticipation can prove to be harmful for an individual.

Thus, besides lending color, henna also possesses medicinal qualities that relieve stress and keeps the hands and feet cool thereby shielding the nerves from getting tense.

 8. Fasting during Navratri

There are four major Navratris throughout the year, however only two are celebrated on a grand scale. Throughout the nine day festival, devotees observe ritualistic fasts, perform several pujas and offer bhog (holy food) to Goddess Durga in an attempt to gratify her.

Hindu dharma
Durga, the Goddess of strength. Wikimedia

But according to science, these navratris are celebrated when the seasons are transitioning. As the seasons and the temperatures change, our eating habits also do.

Fasting during Navratri allows our bodies to adjust to the changing temperature. Individuals get a chance to detox their bodies by quitting excessive salt, sugar and oil. Additionally, Navratris allow them to meditate and gain positive energy. This helps them prepare for the upcoming change in seasons.

 9. Applying sindoor

In traditional Hindu societies, the Sindoor denotes a woman’s desire for their spouse’s longetivity. The red powder is believed to be the color of power, symbolizing the female energy of Parvati and Sati. The Hindu dharma holds a woman is ‘complete’ or ideal only when she wears Sindoor.

Hindu dharma
Sindoor a cultural identity of every Hindu women. Wikimedia

Science explains that sindoor is made out of Vermilion, which is the decontaminated and powdered type of cinnabar (mercury sulfide). Because of its characteristic properties, mercury is known to reduce anxiety, control blood pressure and also initiate sexual desire, the primary reason why married women are advised to wear the ‘holy’ red powder. This is also the reason why widows are prohibited from wearing sindoor.

10. Wearing bangles on wrists

Bangles have been worn in the Hindu dharma since times immemorial- goddesses are also pictured to adorn these beautiful rings in their wrists. Bangles are believed to enhance feminine grace and beauty. The Hindu dharma almost makes it mandatory for newly-wed brides and to-be brides to wear bangles as they are believed to symbolize the well-being of the husbands and the sons.

Hindu dharma
Bangles are believed to accentuate the beauty of the Indian woman. Pixabay

Science suggests the constant friction caused by wearing bangles in the wrists expands the blood flow level. Besides this, the energy passing through the external skin is once again returned to one’s own body due to the round-molded bangles which has no ends to pass the energy out.

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Rituals Exist in All Cultures and they are Important

Rituals play a prominent role in every culture

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Religion
Ancient Indian Religion.

Hinduism is a practice, which is known for its rich rituals. From the Vedic ages, Hindus perform certain activities right from the time they wake up in the morning until the time they sleep. These activities may include, Pooja (worshipping lord) and Karya (Working), which integrate their culture. The events manifest a certain beauty, without which Hinduism is incomplete.

Different sects of Hindus worship different deities. Various Poojas are held for different festivities and occasions called the ‘Utsavas’. People during different festivals not just gather to worship the god, but also come together to celebrate life, with beautiful colours, clothes and delicious food. This itself proves that rituals manifest the beauty and celebration of life in Hinduism.

Meaning Of Rituals:

However, certain sections of the society have a preconceived notion about the rituals Hindus perform, which leads to them being called ‘superstitious’ or ‘overtly religious’. But is it fair to tag them? What is the meaning of the ritual? Ritual can be any activity which you perform. It is a way of communication. A teacher teaching his or her students can be a ritual. A mother feeding her baby is a ritual. Ritual is a generic term, which must not be linked with traditions, religion and beliefs? And, even if it is associated with these customs, then Hinduism should not be the only target. Every religion follows some beliefs. For example, a Muslim reading Namaz is a ritual; Christians visiting church on every Sunday is a ritual or Thanksgivings, when people have dinners with their friends and families. Hindus may have more rituals to act on than Muslims or Christians, but this gives no one the right to invalidate their belief. The rituals which Hindus perform don’t just have a connection with God, but also scientific reasons behind them. For example, Surya Namaskar is good for health as facing the light at that time of the day is good for your eyes, and makes you a morning person.

Also Read: Navratri 5th Day, The Tales That Speaks About Mother-Son Relationship

The reason why people not like rituals is due to their stifling and obligatory nature. Since our childhood, we have been asked to adhere to certain activities, and never taught the reason behind them. This develops disconnection towards them.

Benefits Of Rituals:

Rituals should be seen as art. We must not do it for the sake of doing it. We must sense its meaning like we sense the meaning of art. There is a side of these customs which we don’t want as well, but at the end of the day, they generate a sense of unity and belongingness. They bind you as a community. As long as we live as humans, these practices will have an integral role to play in our life, which can not be neglected.

by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.      Megha can be reached at Twitter @ImMeghaacharya.

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Ten Inspiring Quotes by Famous Personalities on World’s Oldest Religion “Hinduism”

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A Temple in India, Hinduism
Hinduism is a choice of living and is only one absolute, pure and eternal reality that can be found through enlightenment: A Temple in India. Pixabay

– by Tusheeta Kaushik

About hinduism:

June 24, 2017: “Hinduism” Being the oldest and the third largest religion in the world and with over a billion followers – many believe that Hinduism is a choice of living (way of living) and is only one absolute, pure and eternal reality that can be found through enlightenment. Its all about spirituality.

Some Hinduism practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, “the eternal tradition,” or the “eternal way,” beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions,[7][note 5] with diverse roots and no founder.This “Hindu synthesis” started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE following the Vedic period (1500 BCE to 500 BCE)

Its sacred writings date as far back as 1400 to 1500 B.C. It is also one of the most diverse and complex, having millions of gods. Hindus have a wide variety of core beliefs and exist in many different sects. Although it is the third largest religion in the world, Hinduism exists primarily in India and Nepal.

The main texts of Hinduism are the Vedas (considered most important), Upanishadas, the Mahabharata, and the Ramayana. These writings contain hymns, incantations, philosophies, rituals, poems, and stories from which Hindus base their beliefs. Other texts used in Hinduism include the Brahmanas, the Sutras, and the Aranyakas.

This faith has taken on the form of everything we see today- including gods and goddesses. So even though they worship many gods, in reality it’s a monotheistic religion. 

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism By Famous Personalities

 

  1. George Bernard Shaw believed Hinduism to be a monotheistic religion. He said that Hinduism is so elastic and subtle that the most profound Methodist and crudest Idolator are equally at home with it.”
    10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism
  2. Sir Charles Norton Edgecumbe Eliot didn’t consider Hinduism as a religion but a way of life. He also said “The Hindu has an extraordinary power of combining dogma and free thought, uniformity, and variety, here utmost latitude of information is allowed and in all ages Hindus have been devoted to speculation”.
10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

3. Mark Twain believed that the only way to save oneself from any danger, loss or harm would be through Hinduism. He also said ” Our most valuable and instructive materials in the history of man are all treasured up in India, it is already becoming clear that a chapter which had a western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if its not to end in self destruction of the human race. In Hinduism we have the attitude and spirit that can make it possible for the human race to grow together into a single family.”

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

4. Dr Arnold Toynbee believed in the concept of spreading love, honesty and attaining enlightenment- mentioned in the holy book of Hindus. He said that “This spiritual gift i.e Hinduism that makes a man human is still alive in Indian souls, go on and give the world Indian examples of it, nothing else can do so much to help mankind to save itself  from destruction.”

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

5. Mahatma Gandhi strongly believed in hunting of truth through non- violent means and that Hinduism is a constant trailing after truth. He also said ” Ancient India has survived because Hinduism was not developed along material but spiritual lines.

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

6. Swami Vivekananda was proud to belong to a religion which taught the world forbearance at the time of adversity and a worldwide acceptance. He also said “I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all the nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelite s, who came to the southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which there holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny.”

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

7. Sir Monier Monier Williams relentlessly believed in the strength of infinite adaptability to the infinite diversity to the human character and human tendencies mentioned in the holy books of Hindus. He stated that “no description of Hinduism can be exhaustive which does not touch on almost every religious and philosophical idea that the world has ever known.”

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

8. Will Durant fervently believed in the teachings of Bhagwat Gita on tolerance, gentleness of mature mind and spreading love in the world. He further added – “It is true that even across the Himalayan barrier, India has sent such gifts such as grammar, logic, philosophy, fables, hypnotism, chess and above all numerals and the decimal system to the west.”

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

9. Thomas Berry believed Hinduism to be a dynamic process and said “For this reason, Hinduism must be studied not as a fixed body of doctrine but as a developing tradition that has changed considerably throughout the centuries and which is still changing in the creative direction, everything in India makes sense in the light of the changing process.”

10 Inspiring Quotes on Hinduism

10. Alain Danielou a.k.a Shiv Sharan believed that the Hindus live in perpetuity, while in Banarus, Danielou converted to Hinduism taking the initiates name of Shiv Sharan.

– by Tusheeta Kaushik of NewsGram