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By Nithin Sridhar
Every country, every nation needs a narrative, a story about its past, its culture and traditions, its battles and victories, and about achievements and failures by its people. The narrative of a country defines its identity and self-hood.The narrative tells people who they are, where they came from, what heritage or what baggage do they carry from their past.
Need for a National Narrative
A country’s narrative is as much about its present and future as it is about its past. Without knowing who one is, without knowing what the nation stood for, there will be neither any clarity about present activities, nor a vision or direction about the future.Therefore, it is very vital for any nation, any country, in fact any community to have a narrative about its own-self.
If we look at various countries of the world, like China, Japan, UK, or Russia, they all have a well-defined story, a narrative about their own nations which are not only factual but are also narrated from their own world-view. It is only India which is still devoid of any such narratives. The history, politics, religion, art, culture and every other aspect of Indian life is still defined and judged based on narratives which has been created for India by people who are often inimical to India. These narratives have been created from a world-view which is completely alien to Indian concept of life as explained in my article “India is free, but Indians are still colonized.”
But, sadly, many Indians don’t realize the necessity of such a narrative and some even show apathy and dislike towards the issue.
Writing about such attitudes among Indians, Rajiv Malhotra writes:
“Unfortunately, I find Indians, especially Hindus, confused about this matter, often in denial about its significance, and even outright hostile to the very idea of having such a narrative. Many elites in Delhi have criticized my suggestion for narrative debates and discussions, calling such an activity divisive. They see India through the lens of fragments, with separate and conflicting narratives, and Hinduism as the scourge inflicting our society’s health and viability.”
Therefore, it is very vital to create an “Indian Narrative” if India ever wishes to become an independent and assertive global player. And Sanskrit will play a very central role in creation of any genuine and credible narrative about India.
Sanskrit and India’s National Narrative
Sanskrit is the mother of not only of many Indian languages but also of much of the Indian culture and lifestyle. The Vedas were transmitted by the Rishis (Seers) in Sanskrit. The treatise on dharma (duty and law), artha (wealth and administration), kama (human desires) and moksha (spiritual path) have been written and taught in Sanskrit. Much of Indian drama, dance, music, arts and every other Indian aspect of life had been explored and expressed in Sanskrit.
Just as a mother nourishes her children, Sanskrit has nourished every human expression, every human action and every aspect of human life.
A language like English can be termed as a “predatory” language, which replaces not only the word-usages in other indigenous languages, but also the ideas, thoughts and values expressed in them.
Unlike predatory languages, Sanskrit has been a “nourishing” language. It has lent its store house of knowledge and wisdom, its arts and sciences as well as its intricacies of language to other Indian languages and yet has allowed those indigenous languages to develop independently and attain zenith.
Further, the ideas of religion and philosophy, ethics and morality, arts and science, or of spirituality that have been expressed in various indigenous languages,can all be traced to the ideas expressed by various rishis and thinkers in Sanskrit.Moreover Sanskrit has influenced the culture and thought process of not only India, but also of whole South Asia and South-East Asia.
While explaining the central role that Sanskrit plays in Indian life and how India lost its strength and selfhood and became passive because of abandoning Sanskrit, Kapil Kapoor says:
“India has powerful, attested, traditions of texts and thinkers in disciplines ranging from prosody to philosophy and these are enshrined mainly in Sanskrit. By abandoning this donor Sanskrit tradition, we have become passive, uncritical recipients of Western theories and models.
“Had the classical thought enshrined in Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit texts and some of it preserved as adaptation in Old Tamil texts been made a part of the mainstream education, it would have enabled the educated Indian to interact with the west on a level ground. This tradition has attested texts and thinkers in a wide range of disciplines – philosophy, grammar, poetics, prosody, astronomy, architecture, mathematics, medicine, atmospheric sciences, sociology / ethics (dharmasastra), chemistry, physics, agriculture, economics and commerce, music, botany and zoology, weaponry and art of warfare, logic, education, metallurgy. The texts of these disciplines not only make statements about the respective domains of knowledge but also enshrine the empirical wisdom gathered by our society over centuries in these spheres.”
Hence, Sanskrit is deeply connected to Indian life and identity. A revival of Indian life and strength is possible only through a revival of Sanskrit.
Therefore, any credible narrative about India and its identity, must be a narrative of Sanskrit and its expression of Indian way of life. Only through Sanskrit, can India make a credible narrative about its Sanskriti (civilization).
The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.
Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.
The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.
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"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.
"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.
The immune system has to be educated not to attack one's own tissues and organs to prevent autoimmune disease. But pregnancy presents a unique challenge since the fetus expresses proteins found in the placenta as well as proteins whose genetics are distinct from the mother.
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"It was a conceptual leap to link Aire-expressing cells, which are critical for preventing autoimmune disease, to pregnancy," said Tippi Mackenzie, Professor of Surgery at UCSF's Center for Maternal Foetal Precision Medicine.
In the thymus, Aire-expressing cells begin interacting with other immune cells very early in life to teach them what not to attack. The thymus begins to shrink and is nearly gone by adulthood, by which time most immune cells have been educated. But as the thymus shrinks, the population of eTACs in lymph nodes and the spleen expands, the researchers explained.
The study suggests a healthy pregnancy may depend on having these cells around, they added. (IANS/KB)
The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.
Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.
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Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.
"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.
It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.
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This applies to less intense situations too. Dating, for example, can be tricky — especially when it's online or via digital apps, as it often is now.
The study also found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.
In celebration of World Emoji Day on Saturday, Adobe's '2021 Global Emoji Trend Report' surveyed 7,000 people in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, and South Korea. (IANS/KB)
Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.
Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.
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After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin
Sirisha flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University.IANS
Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Mary Wallace 'Wally' Funk, and other passengers are set to liftoff from west Texas and travel just beyond the edge of space on July 20. Blue Origin announced this week that Oliver Daemen, an 18-year-old high school graduate from the Netherlands, would join the crew.
Oliver is the son of millionaire Joe Daemen, Founder, and CEO of the Dutch investment company Somerset Capital Partners. Blue Origin, however, did not reveal how much Daemen paid for his son's trip to space. Bezos chose July 20 as the launch date to honor the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
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The launch site for Blue Origin's first human flight will be in a remote location north of Van Horn, Texas, from where the firm had launched New Shepard for previous flights. Blue Origin has received final approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry humans on the New Shepard rocket into space.
On July 12, Bandla touched the edge of space with three others, including Virgin Galactic's billionaire CEO Richard Branson. Bandla vaulted into space onboard VSS Unity 22. After the successful spaceflight, Branson carried the Indian-American on his shoulders while celebrating their flight to space, at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (IANS/KB)