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Oxford English Dictionary adds over 600 New Words, Phrases and Senses in its Latest Edition

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  • “Post-truth” was the Oxford’s 2016 word of the year
  • The use of “woke” by supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement

London, June 29, 2017: The Oxford English Dictionary has added over 600 new words, phrases and senses in its latest quarterly update.

“By the mid-20th century, ‘woke’ had been extended figuratively to refer to being ‘aware’ or ‘well informed’ in a political or cultural sense,” the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) said in a statement.

The use of “woke” by supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement — an international activist movement that campaigns against violence and racism toward black people — and in particular the phrase “stay woke”, are thought to have introduced the word to a broader audience, especially on social media, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

“Post-truth” was the Oxford’s 2016 word of the year. It was defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping political debate or public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.

ALSO READ: Kerala Education Department to bring Transformation: Over 9,000 Kerala Schools Get IT Boost

Besides, over 50 new words and 30 new senses related to tennis were added. “Tennis mom” and “tennis dad”, for example, are now used to describe parents who actively and enthusiastically support their child’s participation in the sport.

The dictionary has also got a new end. “Zyzzyva”, a tropical weevil native to South America, is the new last in place of “zythum”, a kind of malt beer brewed in ancient Egypt, which was the last alphabetic entry for a decade.

Meanwhile, the word “thing” now has a new sense defined as “a genuine or established phenomenon or practice used in questions conveying surprise or incredulity, such as ‘how can that be a thing?’,” said the OED, adding that the usage has been traced back to an early episode of television series “The West Wing”.

In explanation of how a word qualifies for take-in, the OED said it “requires several independent examples of the word being used, and also evidence that the word has been in use for a reasonable amount of time.”

The OED will publish its next update in September. (IANS)

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David Frawley Highlights PM Modi’s Respect for Indian Culture which Pandit Nehru nearly Gave Away to the Marxists

"Delhi elite, which though located in India, kept their minds residing outside the country."

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PM Modi and Indian Culture
David Frawley is the Director of American Institute of Vedic Studies. Wikimedia
  • Nehru had affinity with Communists and Marxists
  • Politically independent India continued to be dependent on the west for intellectual progress
  • Nehru and his followers rejected India’s past and envisioned a different nation away from its important culture

August 22, 2017: India’s culture has been its representative in the global arena. The cultural background of the country can be traced back to thousands of years. The Vedas, written thousands of years ago, still dictate our lifestyle and thoughts.

But this remarkable cultural heritage was infused with Marxism and Communism by India’s leftist leaders. David Frawley, in his recent article, traces the impact of leadership on Indian traditional culture.

But, Pandit Vamadeva Shastri also known as David Frawley- the Director of American Institute of Vedic Studies observes how the exclusive Indian culture was outsourced to the left by Pandit Nehru. “Congress outsourced education and cultural development to the far left, Marxists and Communists, with which Nehru had much affinity,” says Frawley in his website vedanet.com. Nehru was vocal about his different idea of the country that goes away from its genuine culture. Nehru, along with his followers, rejected the Indian past.

Also Read: Padma Bhushan David Frawley points out Christian Missionaries’ assault on Hindu Dharma

Although the country had become politically independent, the intellectual progress continued to be dependent on the west, courtesy of the “Delhi elite, which though located in India, kept their minds residing outside the country.” Traditional Indian culture was criticized by these very people.

Indira Gandhi cannot be said to have continued this trend, but she too “supported the same westernized elite for whom Indian civilization was a dangerous myth to be eliminated for modern progress,” writes David Frawley.

Dr. Frawley also highlights that the influence of Marxism on Indian education was known to very few people in the West. Additionally, the West was also unaware of the socialist stand of the Indian economy.

It was the RSS through the expression of BJP that sought to retain Indian values and culture. But the efforts proved futile as it was perceived backward and antique to stick to Indian cultures. As David Frawley rightly observes, “Much of this was owing to Marxist propaganda that has always demonized its opponents, which the Congress dominated media gladly followed.”

There was hope in 1999 when BJP took the power through PM Vajpayee, but not much changed in the mindset of the nation. Rather, “India fell back into the old leftist rule with a vengeance and a massive corruption and nepotism under the UPA in 2004 that continued for ten years,” notes Dr. Frawley.

The 2014 elections saw the formation of Modi government in India. India’s new leader, Narendra Modi, came to national politics with “the power of vision, personal charisma, a forward development agenda and tremendous work to usher in a new India.”

Modi envisions a technologically advanced India through older Indian ethos. The PM plans on introducing “social media, cashless society, smart cities and a radically improved infrastructure.”

David Frawley acknowledges Modi’s love for Indian traditions. The PM has come up with a lot of programs to help the poor masses of the country. “He is not afraid to be a Hindu or to attend Hindu functions, while at the same time excelling as a modern technocrat,” explores David Frawley.

Modi’s beliefs in Hinduism are not confined to sectarian thoughts, rather, a broad spiritual pursuit of “Yoga, meditation, universal consciousness, and self-realization.”

David Frawley believes that humanity can be inspired through a renovated and revitalized India. The Nehruvian idea of India is slowly dying as PM Modi builds a competitive India in sync with its traditions.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter @Saksham2394


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Hand Pulled Rickshaw and Trams: Old modes of public transport in Kolkata are keeping the Heritage alive

The once-efficient and popular public transport options like tram and hand-pulled ricksaws, which are a big part of Kolkata's rich cultural and historical legacy, now face a vague future as they are not up-to-date with the 21st century way of life today

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Transport in Kolkata
Hand Pulled Rikshaw in Kolkata. NewsGram
  • Two old modes of transport that are equivalent with Kolkata’s cultural heritage are the Tram system and hand-pulled rickshaws.
  • The tram system in Kolkata is currently the only operating tram network in India and the oldest operating electric tram in Asia, running since 1902
  • In a 2013 survey conducted by International Association of Public Transport, Kolkata grabbed the top spot among the six cities surveyed in India
Kolkata, August 1, 2017: Kolkata definitely has a very well-connected public transport system. There is a huge array of options available such as the Kolkata Suburban Railway, Kolkata Metro, bus, auto-rickshaws, and meter-taxis. In a 2013 survey conducted by International Association of Public Transport, Kolkata grabbed the top spot among the six cities surveyed in India.
The Kolkata Metro, in operation since 1984, is the oldest underground mass transit system in India while the suburban rail network reaches the farthest suburbs in the city. In short, the people of Kolkata enjoy a very convenient transport network.
But Kolkata has a few signature modes of public transport that makes the city stand out.  For example, there’s the tram system in the city which is currently the only operating tram network in India and the oldest operating electric tram in Asia, running since 1902.
Today CTC owns 257 trams, of which 125 trams are running on the streets of Kolkata on a daily basis. Then there are the hand-pulled rickshaws, which are human-powered carriages that seat one or two passengers. But today in the age of Ola and Uber, these transport options which are not exactly up to the speed of the daily lives of the 21st century stand at the gates of an uncertain and vague future.
Hand pulled ricksaw and tram
Hand pulled rickshaw and tram in Kolkata. Wikimedia
For more than 100 years, the trams have been the eco-friendly lifeline of the ‘City of Joy’. But in today’s corporate world where being even one minute late to work can be compromising, it is not a surprise that a public transport option as slow as the tram system will be condemned by the passengers. Moreover, there have been accusations about the tram service occupying too much road space, carrying too few passengers and also slowing down the speed of other vehicles. The state government has mulled phasing out trams from the streets of Kolkata. Reportedly, high-level meetings have been held to work out how to bring the curtains down on the very old mode of city transport.
The transport department has recently stopped tram services in many routes through Chitpur Road as well as Rabindra Sarani. It has sold the Tollygunj tram depot on 244 cottah of land to a real estate agency for Rs 181 crore, Belgachhia tram depot in the northern part of the city is all set to be leased out to another private agency soon.
The employees hardly have any clue about how the dilemma about their future will end, but they are not unaware of the reality. According to a tram conductor who intends to remain anonymous, people still choose to ride trams in certain routes but it is not hard to guess that during rush hour they would rather avoid it and go for faster and more efficient transport options. He also added the fact that during the morning time, which is the office time for most of us, the crowd opting for a tram is much thinner than the crowd which chooses to take a tram to return home in the evening. He believes that the tram system is still surviving because of the public fascination with protecting traditions, not because they wish to prioritize the tram system as a mode of day-to-day transport.

Also read‘Ekal Vidyalayas’: An Initiative to Educate the Poor and Tribal People in Rural India

Another such surviving old mode of transport in Kolkata is the hand-pulled rickshaws. The same complaint surrounds these – a human-drawn cart cannot be fast or convenient enough. Also, there have been human-rights complaints that this is a system that practices and encourages human labor and people have petitioned for the abolishment of the hand-pulled rickshaw system. But again the public infatuation with preserving traditions has become predominant.
In 2006, former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee wanted to ban hand-pulled rickshaws on the city streets, but he was forced to drop the idea in the face of popular resistance.
When we are busy debating whether or not to discontinue the practice, we are ignoring the fact that there are so many people whose lives are all about those rickshaws. The rickshaw-pullers come from the bottom of the economic hierarchy of our society; they do not get the worth of their physical labor. It is no easy task carrying humans but it is not like they have another better option.
According to Dilip Pal, an 82-year-old rickshaw-puller who has been an in this profession since 1952, even though in their ‘lucky days’ they might earn 100 or 150 rupees, there are often days when they don’t earn a penny. When he had first started he had seen much better days and had a far better life, but now the demand of a hand-pulled rickshaw, especially where the puller is aged, has gone down. Now, blind in one eye and in need for an abdomen surgery but unable to afford it, all Mr. Pal can do is count the days he has left and continue pulling his rickshaw as long as he can, or else he won’t even have food to eat. Dilip Pal is among many others like him who are stuck in this life of poverty and daily struggle.

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Definitely, the state has plans to somewhat resurrect the tram system but there is no denying the fact that trams will never be able to compete with high-speed trains or metros. There is no denying the fact that the lives of the rick saw-pullers are always being overlooked. The point is that, yes, preserving the cultural heritages is important, but we should also look out for the lives of the people that will turn upside down because of certain actions. In fact, that should be the priority.
Here’s to hoping there will be fair solutions.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter @dubumerang


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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UNESCO has ‘serious concern’ over the Australian Great Barrier Reef

Two years after a warning by UNESCO, the Great Barrier Reef is still under threat

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In 2015, the Australian government released the Australia's Reef 2050 Plan in an effort to prevent its cultural site being placed under the United Nation's Danger List. VOA
  • UNESCO is the cultural body of the United Nations
  • It has urged Australia to save the Great Barrier Reef under ‘serious concern’
  • Australia’s Reef 2050 Plan made in an effort to prevent its heritage site being placed under the United Nation’s Danger List

June 04, 2017: The Australian Great Barrier Reef is one of the many World Heritage Sites under the UNESCO list. On Saturday, UNESCO expressed its concern as the Heritage Site still faces major threats.

UNESCO has urged the Australian government to take stronger measures and accelerate efforts towards protecting the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is a significant tourist attraction for Australia.

NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

In a draft report to World Heritage Committee, UNESCO said that climate change is a major threat to this coral expanse. The committee also expressed its concern on the bleaching and mortality of coral reefs.

In 2015, the Australian government released the Australia’s Reef 2050 Plan in an effort to prevent its heritage site being placed under the United Nation’s Danger List. Negative rating of the Great Barrier will hurt the Australian image and tourism industry.

The plan had a $1.38 billion investment strategy. Initially, it was praised by UNESCO. Gradually it realized that stronger legislation was needed. The law required for clearing lands has not been passed.

The Great Barrier is threatened by a number of factors. The water quality has been poor due to agricultural runoffs. Coastal development combined with illegal fishing is also a major threat.

The Reef 2050 plan has not been successful. Since the inception of the plan, the Great Barrier has “an unprecedented loss of coral”. Large parts of the reef were destroyed by back to back coral bleaching events.

UNESCO believes that the action of the Australian government has been ineffective and that the water quality targets set have not been met. The overall progress has been slow.

Climate change remains an issue where answers are still sought. It is a prime threat to the corals and an issue that is out of Australia’s individual efforts.

 – by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394