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By Swarnima Bhattacharya
An eyewash though it may be, Union Education Minister Smriti Irani announced on Thursday, that students will be given adequate representation in the “review committee” deliberating on the issue of the non-NET scholarships. Shehla Rashid, the JNUSU Vice President who has been at the vanguard of the #OccupyUGC movement, has welcomed not only the announcement, but also the fact that Smriti Irani was forced to come out and make a conciliatory statement, in the face of protestors marching up to the very doors of the MHRD.
While students pouring out on the streets in protest is a heartening sign of their participation in active opinion-making, what it indicates about State arbitration in matters of education, is something equally disquieting.
Less than a month into the Occupy UGC stir, the issues at hand have already found resonance in student campuses across Delhi, mobilising large groups of students from Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Ambedkar and Jamia Milia Islamia. Students from Kolkata, Allahabad, Pune and Varanasi are also carrying out spirited protest in unison with their agitating counterparts in Delhi.
The M.Phil and Ph.D students, the chief beneficiaries of these grants, were only in the middle of demanding a raise on the existing fellowships, when, by cruel irony, the mysterious “review committee” decided to do away with the system altogether. The government had already made the unpopular decision of slashing the education budget for Central universities by 25% and State universities by 48%. This only opens up a variety of questions on the seriousness, or the lack thereof, attached with academic research. It also intensifies the debate around education poised to becoming a “service”, should India finalise its “offer” of opening up higher education to international trade, in the Doha round of WTO-GATS negotiations in December 2015.
It is noteworthy how the Occupy UGC stir follows closely on the heels of the FTII student’s strike, which raged on for a staggering 139 days. There, the students of the renowned film school were fighting for their right to be headed by an individual of sound credentials, and not just a mediocre figurehead, an effective henchman of the State. The protest spilled over from Pune and reached the streets of Delhi, with students clamouring for the removal of Gajendar Chauhan as the Chairman of the Governing Council of the Institute.
Last year, the streets of university campuses, as well as social media platforms rang with the slogan of “Hok Kolorob”. Let there be noise, they said. The agitation started in Jadavpur University, Kolkata, when their Vice Chancellor failed to respond adequately, and appropriately, to a woman student’s complaint of sexual harassment on campus. The war cry, and I say this without a whit of exaggeration, proliferated the internet, prime time television, the road outside Jantar Mantar and newspaper headlines, culminating in the arrest of two men accused of molesting the woman.
What the “kolorob” in Jadavpur unravelled was the deafening silence on the issue of women’s bodies (not) being treated right, within University campuses- an issue that is now been discussed piecemeal by the #PinjraTod campaign in Delhi. Women in Delhi University are organising Jan Sunwais (public hearings) on the issue of ridiculous regulations for girls’ hostels and PGs that resort to desperate, and often ludicrous, measures to keep women’s bodies under check.
I have carefully avoided reproaching THE government or A government, or any government for all that’s wrong with our higher education “system”. If the widespread geography and plethora of issues raised by all these protests proves anything, it is that the “system” as a whole is unsatisfactory. The “system” implicates not only the myopic policies of the government, but also the indolent heads of many of the aggrieved institutions and parents finding solace in caging their daughters in dreary college dorms.
As you watch various issues being raised and several battles being fought in the Delhi University campus, among other campuses, you see the assortment of campaign slogans snowballing into one. There are posters of different colours, some questioning the silence of Arvind Kejriwal, Narendra Modi and Smriti Irani, others demanding the ouster of an effective VC, yet others proclaiming “I know why the caged bird sings”, and even more saying that students must be handed their basic rights. Well, that is at the core of all agitations taking the University streets by storm for the past year or so. The right to complain and be heard, right to access libraries after 6:00 pm instead of being locked up in dormitory rooms, right to pursue higher research, right to be taught and governed by people with the right credentials— basically, the right to be educated with dignity.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to examine a seeking direction to the Election Commission to de-register a political party, which fails to comply with the court's direction to disclose criminal antecedents of candidates fielded in polls. Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay requested a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli to list the petition urgently, against the backdrop of the ongoing election process. He contended that nomination for the first phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election has started, and the political parties and candidates are brazenly violating the top court judgments.
After briefly hearing Upadhyay, the bench said: "We will consider it... will give a date".
The plea argued that allowing criminals to stand for election threatens democracy and secularism. | Wikipedia
The plea claimed that the cause of action for filing the plea arose after the Samajwadi Party fielded alleged gangster Nahid Hasan from Kairana but neither published his criminal records in electronic, print and social media nor the reason for his selection within 48 hours. On February 13, last year, Shamli police imposed the Gangster Act on Nahid Hasan, who is a two-time MLA from Kairana. "He (Hasan) has multiple criminal cases and is the 'mastermind' behind the Hindu exodus from Kairana. There are many criminal cases including fraud and extortion, and he was declared a fugitive by Special MLA-MP Court," the plea said.
The plea argued that the consequences of permitting criminals to contest and become legislators are extremely serious for democracy and secularism. The plea sought a direction to the Election Commission to take steps to ensure that every political party publishes the details regarding criminal cases of each candidate along with the reason for such selection on the homepage of its official website in bold letters within 48 hours in the spirit of top court orders passed on September 25, 2018, and February 2, 2020. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: uttar pradesh assembly election, hima kohli, justices a.s. bopanna, chief justice n.v. ramana, political party, election commission, the supreme court, tainted candidates, action, plea)
There will be no chief guest at the Republic Day parade this year also as the plan to host state heads of five Central Asian countries -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- seems to have been cancelled due to the Covid situation in India as well as in the respective nations. Though the Ministry of External Affairs is yet to confirm this officially.
If the guests arrive, then this would be the second time when India hosts a group of state heads as the chief guests on the Republic Day. In 2018, state heads of ASEAN countries graced the occasion with their presence. Apart from Kazakhstan, none of these countries' state heads had been invited as the chief guests on the Republic Day. In 2009, Kazakhstan's then president Nursultan Nazarbayev was the Chief Guest.
The Government of India is in no mood to take any risk to invite any foreign guest.Unsplash
As per sources, due to the corona situation, the Government of India is in no mood to take any risk to invite any foreign guest, so the plan seems to have been cancelled. Last year, British Prime minister Boris Johnson was invited for the same, but later cancelled due to rising corona cases in the UK.
In the past, there have been occasions when the Republic Day ceremony was celebrated without any foreign guest. In 1966, there was no foreign chief guest in the Republic Day parade ceremony as the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri had passed away in Tashkent in January, and Indira Gandhi took oath as Prime Minister on January 24. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : chief, guest, Republic Day, parade, India, January, pandemic, 2022, host, nation, guest, invite, foreign, occasion, presence, celebrate.)
A team of scientists from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have found a cure for those suffering from chronic wounds, particularly with diabetic foot ulcers. The team led by Prof Gopal Nath of the department of Microbiology, Institute of Medical Sciences, said that wounds that took months and years to heal, could now be cured in days or months. The findings of study have been published in the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health, US.
Prof Nath said that a wound is defined as a breach in the skin or body tissues due to injury. An acute wound is defined as a "recent break that is yet to progress through sequential stages of healing". The wounds where normal healing process is stalled due to underlying pathology (vascular and diabetes) or infection beyond three months is defined as chronic wound. While chronic wounds always get infected, the contaminated wounds are reasonably susceptible to infection.
A significant improvement could be achieved in the form of complete wound epithelization within a few weeks.Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash
Infection with antibiotic-resistant bacteria and biofilm formation halt healing progress. These wounds cause significant psychological and physical morbidity. The traditional treatment strategies often succeed in healing wounds, he said adding that many wounds have been observed recalcitrant to them, leading to persistence and recurrent infections. Search for alternatives to antibiotics has now become a compulsion. Fortunately, bacteriophage therapy is a re-emerging solution to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Prof Nath's team carried out phage therapy of acute and chronic infected wounds in animals and clinical studies. It showed efficacy against Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a mice wound model. Furthermore, they evaluated the efficacy of phage cocktails in animal models' acute and chronic osteomyelitis caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. They also observed biofilm eradication from K wire in rabbits' wound infection model. Clinical trials of phage therapy initiated by the BHU have reported the efficacy of topical phage in healing chronic wounds in three prospective exploratory studies and no adverse events mimicking the results in vivo animal models.
Scientists have found a cure for those suffering from diabetic foot ulcers. Unsplash
A clinical study by Gupta demonstrated the significant role of bacteriophage therapy in the chronic wounds associated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The study employed a total of twenty patients with chronic non-healing ulcers for more than six weeks duration. A significant improvement could be achieved in the form of complete wound epithelization within a few weeks. Another study, employing 48 patients having a minimum of one eligible full-thickness wound that did not heal in six weeks with convention wound management, showed the promising result, and significant improvement was observed in the wound healing.
The study projected that specific phage therapy is equally effective regardless of the diabetic or non-diabetic status of the patient though the healing was relatively delayed in diabetic patients. Another successful study has shown encouraging results on healing process of infected acute traumatic wounds. The average number of days required for complete granulation of wounds and attaining sterility and healing was half compared to conventional therapy. (IANS/SP)
(Keywords : scientists, cure, chronic, wound, suffer, ulcer, diabetes, healing, pathology, health, infection, bacteria, study, patient, therapy, successful.)
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