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By Tharini Ilanchezhian
Social service has been an undeniable part of the Hindu society. Religion and social work deeply believe that service to the needy is equivalent to the service to god. The idea of social welfare has existed in India for centuries but social work, as a profession in India emerged only by the 20th century. Similar to the other parts of the world, social work in India also sprouted with the idea of spreading love and compassion. The first ever means of social welfare was in the form of charity.
The belief of Hinduism and social work was that rendering service to the needy people was the utmost way to attain the blessings of god. The importance of charity has been highlighted in the Epics of Hinduism such as Vedas, Upanishads and Mahabharata. The practice of social work and welfare has been a part of the Hindu society right from the Vedic period.
A reference in the Rig Veda states that, "May the one who gives shine the most". The 'Yojnas' which was the practice of mass ritual, for which masses of people assembled together in the river banks with a spirit of dedication, shedding the personal desires, praying for the common welfare of all. The idea of 'Yajnashalas' which meant having classrooms where the disciples(men and women) were taught about the advantages of working together without any self-centric desires hinduism and social work.
The Vedic scriptures also emphasised on the communitarian society where the people live together like an extended family with a feeling of oneness. This form of collective living automatically facilitated the empowerment of the weak ones. Keeping aside the service and charity, social welfare has also traditionally aimed to protect the right and interests of an individual. Having this in mind, we can also find that the ancient rulers have prioritized the happiness of the subjects and maintained social order.
The epics such as Ramayana and Arthashastra have demonstrated this. This practice of social welfare and service progressed as there was a need of performing reforms in certain areas of some misguided traditional practices such as sati(practice of sacrificing widow women in their deceased husband's funeral pyre) and child marriage that turned out to be harmful to the human society. There came the organisations that played an important role in constructing a healthy society. Raja Ram Mohan Roy's Brahmo Samaj, Ramkrishna Mission, Indian Social Conference and Arya Samaj. These organisations sowed the seed of religious as well as social reforms for the collective welfare of people.
As the ancient Hindu philosophy had a firm foot in the social welfare practices, it consequently gave rise to the contemporary social work practice that has a solid structure of professionalism. In the current day's context, the profession has gained a massive attention with numerous students across the country taking up the professional degrees in social work and entering the practice of Hinduism and social work.
The religious values and their impact on the profession may vary all over the globe. What remains intact is the core essence of Social work – WE RAISE BY HELPING EACH OTHER, which is also the most important teaching of the Hindu Dharma.
keywords: Hinduism and social work, Hindu, hinduism , hindu society.
Among the Tamil epics written during the Sangam age, only a few survived to this day. Manimegalai is one such. It is written as a sequel to the Sillapadikaram, taking the story forward of Kovalan and Madhavi's daughter, Manimegalai. The Sillapadikaram is about the injustice of the Madurai kingdom in the execution of Kovalan, which turned Kannagi, his wife into a goddess seeking vengeance for her husband's death. Kovalan, before his death, has an affair with a court dancer, Madhavi, and his daughter, Manimegalai, is said to begin a different tradition among the Tamils.
The epic, written by Sattanar, introduces Buddhism to Dravidian culture, something that has been alien to them for years. Manimegalai is the protagonist, who flees constantly from the pursuit of Chola prince Udhayakumara, and tries to lead an ascetic life. Throughout the plot, Buddhist tenets are used to avoid the culmination of a love-story. Manimegalai is believed to be the anti-love story sequel to the Sillapadikaram.
A complete work of Tamil epic written by hand on leaves Image source: wikimedia commons
The Sillapadikaram was written by a Jain monk, Illango Adigal, and Sattanar, uses the sequel to question Jainism. It is almost a political battle between two new religions competing for a place in a predominantly Hindu society. Parts of Manimegalai even go to the extent of opening ridiculing Jain practices and beliefs.
Critics of Tamil literature have stated that while the Tamil epics have great poetic significance, they are inferior to other world epics when it comes to clearly portraying religious affiliations. In fact, they refer to the newer religions with an infant's perspective. Some scholars have found that Sillapadikaram has more ethical substance than its sequel, but in and of itself, despite being written by a Jain monk, reads like Hindu poetry (Subhramanya Aiyar, 1906).
Keywords: Manimegalai, Sillapadikaram, Tamil Epic, Sattanar, Ilango Adigal, Chola kingdom, Sangam Age, Buddhism
The Covid-19 pandemic could act as an inflection point to shift India's growth model from being consumption driven to investments-led. In its Ecoscope report, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said: "With Covid-19 hurting India's 'Household' (HH) and 'Government' sectors adversely, the continuity of strong consumption growth is in question."
"On the contrary, with listed companies' financial positions improving and an uptick in household investments in the Real Estate sector (called physical savings), the narrative of investment-led recovery is gaining momentum." The report prescribed that various economic participants - households, governments, listed companies, and unlisted corporates -- to increase their fixed asset investments in the immediate future based on their financial position.
The Covid-19 pandemic could act as an inflection point to shift India's growth model from being consumption driven to investments-led. | Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash
At present, the listed and unlisted corporate sector accounts for only about half of total investments in India. The 'HH' sector including unincorporated enterprises accounts for 35-40 per cent in India's investments, while the remaining 12-13 per cent is contributed by centre and states governments. Besides, the report cited that demand environment is expected to remain subdued due to weak financial position of 'HH' and government sector.
"Despite household investments picking up strongly in 2HFY21, given that Indian households bore the maximum brunt of Covid-led losses in CY20 (and CY21), we believe household spending would remain subdued over the next few years." It further pointed out that unless 'HH', 'Unlisted Corporate', and government sectors can improve their financial positions -- leading to a demand uptick -- a strong revival in investments seems challenging. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: India, covid, pandemic, growth, household, government, investment
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that next time the Dragon spacecraft will have food warmer and free WiFi. Taking to Twitter, the crew of Inspiration4 shared a checklist of things they have been enjoying while orbiting safely around the Earth.
"Can't believe we're eating cold pizza in space. It's extraordinary!" Inspiration4 tweeted. In response, Musk apologised for the cold food, saying: "Sorry, it was cold! Dragon will have food warmer and free WiFi next time."
Inspiration4 Crew | Wikimedia Commons
After lifting off for space, SpaceX's Inspiration4, the first all-civilian crew, is healthy, happy and doing well in the orbit, the company said recently. The mission lifted off at 8.02 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday (5.30 am IST on Thursday) aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft from the historic Launch Complex 39 in NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It is commanded by tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman who has been joined by medical officer Haley Arceneaux, a pediatric cancer survivor; Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski, an Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer; and Mission Pilot Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, entrepreneur and trained pilot. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Elon Musk, SpaceX, Inspiration4, Dragon, Wifi, food