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Rickshaw Pullers Felicitated At Photo Exhibition In Kolkata

The rickshaw pullers had their moments under the sun as they were given t-shirts, served blueberry cakes, and introduced to celebrities like actors Om Puri and Swastika Mukherjee.

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Image Source: Wikipedia
  • Part of a big project “Stone – Being and Becoming”, the 14-day exhibition that began on Friday, showcases 15 freeze shots of the hand-pulled rickshaw.
  • The rickshaw pullers had their moments under the sun as they were given t-shirts, served blueberry cakes, and introduced to celebrities like actors Om Puri and Swastika Mukherjee.
  • The hand pulled rickshaw has been a medium of conveyance in the city since 1914, three years after the national capital was shifted to Delhi from Kolkata.

KOLKATA: Part of a big project “Stone – Being and Becoming”, the 14-day exhibition that began on Friday, showcases 15 freeze shots of the slow-moving but environmental-friendly vehicles, which run through large parts of the eastern metropolis carrying passengers.These hand-pulled rickshaw, which has through the decades emerged as a symbol of Kolkata despite facing threats to its existence in an age of speed and mechanised transport, is the cynosure of all eyes in an ongoing photo exhibition depicting the trials and tribulations of the pullers.

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Clicked by Rajesh Gupta, an eye-catching photo captures a wheel of the rickshaw and the tired feet of a puller apparently resting on the vehicle.Another frame in black and white presents a row of rickshaws against the background of a desolate house enveloped by the gigantic roots of what could be an unseen grand old banyan tree.A third photo contains a melancholy portrait of a rickshaw puller sitting on the footrest of his vehicle with an intense gaze.
With some of the photographs bringing out the lonely existence of rickshaw pullers, Gupta said: “While interacting with them I realized that they don’t have any dream. They are forced to stay within their circle. Even if they want to come out of that circle, they can’t.”
Forty two of the rickshaw pullers were felicitated on Sunday at the exhibition venue – Harrington Street Art gallery.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The rickshaw pullers had their moments under the sun as they were given t-shirts, served blueberry cakes, and introduced to celebrities like actors Om Puri and Swastika Mukherjee. “Rickshaw pullers are intrinsic to Kolkata. Memorabilia, t-shirts everything talks about them. We wanted to glorify the real heroes of the city,” said photographer Kounteya Sinha, one of the key persons in the project.Om Puri, who once played the role of a rickshaw puller in Roland Joffe’s “City of Joy”, said: “Kolkata’s iconic rickshaw, which is part of its history, should never die.””In monsoons when the streets are flooded, rickshaws become the only mode of transportation” he said. Puri added that like Hong Kong, Kolkata should also make rickshaws a tourist attraction and allow them to function in limited parts of the city where they don’t cause hindrance to the traffic.

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The hand pulled rickshaw has been a medium of conveyance in the city since 1914, three years after the national capital was shifted to Delhi from Kolkata. Few years back the West Bengal government brought a proposal to ban rickshaws. But in the face of tremendous opposition from green activists, civil society and heritage experts, the decision was taken back.(Source: IANS)

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The Wrath Of Amphan Cyclone In India

Cyclone Amphan exposes Eastern India; Odisha and West Bengal to serious damage and devastation

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Amphan Cyclone
A satellite view of Cyclone Amphan on May 19, 2020. PC: Weathernerds.org

BY Varuni Trivedi
Odisha and West Bengal were left in shambles as Cyclone Amphan left only doom and devastation behind. Torrential rains and winds gusting up to 185 kph on Wednesday, affected 4.5 million people across 1,500 villages in Odisha, and claimed the lives of 72 people in West Bengal leaving many homeless and devastated.

Both the states suffered widespread destruction of homes, crops, and infrastructure. Many people were crushed by falling trees and electrocuted by power lines. Horrific images of destruction came from both states showing uprooted trees and electricity poles catching fire. Amidst a global pandemic that had already taken a toll on people the ‘normal life’ in these states is paralyzed for millions. Both Orissa and West Bengal currently lay in the aftermath of a destructive cyclone for which they weren’t prepared.

The worst-hit in this scenario are the small scale industries and infrastructure which wiped out leaving lakhs of people homeless. It devastated coastal villages knocking down mud houses and temporary shelters and flooding many areas. In the WB capital Kolkata, the streets are still flooded while phone and internet services have still not been restored completely. Officials say that the extent of destruction caused is yet to be determined. The loss of dwellings and crops, which has struck people amid two months of a nationwide lockdown that has left millions of Indians without an income and in a terrible shock.

Cyclone
People struggling to get past an uprooted tree struck by Aphan cyclone. PC: IndianExpress

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee said she was “shocked” to see such a massive disaster. She further stated that she had never seen anything like this before and the cyclone is worse than the coronavirus. She stressed the cyclone’s “unexpected scale” and has urged great support from the center. Today PM Modi along with CM Banerjee took an aerial survey of the cyclone areas.

The Prime Minister has assured all sorts of assistance to West Bengal and will be ensuring that the relief money is credited directly to the account of the beneficiaries. PM Modi conducted an aerial survey of areas affected by Cyclone Amphan in Odisha as well, accompanied by CM Naveen Patnaik and Guv Ganeshi Lal. Financial assistance of Rs 500 Cr has been announced for the state. Ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh to next of kin of deceased whereas Rs 50,000 to seriously injured has also been announced.

Cyclone
PM Modi along with West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee in an aerial survey of Cyclone hit areas. PC: PTI

The eastern coastal States during the storm season every year face the wrath of nature as the unpreparedness of the states exposes the citizens to these calamities. The cyclone’s disastrous effects were anticipated, but even with reliable forecasts and preparatory moves by the National and State Disaster Response Force units, the impact was devastating and catastrophic. The loss of life and damage to livelihoods is still significantly irreparable in many parts.

Also Read: ICC Publishes Guidelines for Safe Resumption of Cricket

This has become an even more challenging situation as the nation is amid a lockdown and faces serious issues battling the COVID-19 Pandemic. Whereas it can be said that the battle against the virus may yet be won sooner or later, India must strengthen its disaster management especially in areas like Orissa and West Bengal which experience the wrath of such natural calamities almost every year. For a never-ending cycle of storms along its coastline, India needs better preparedness so that livelihood of people may be protected if not saved completely.

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Pandemic, Pandemonium and Booze 

Lockdown 3.0 sees long queues as liquor shops across the nation open

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booze
People queue up to get alcohol amid lockdown across the country, Pixabay

By Varuni Trivedi

Monday, saw a nationwide brawl and chaos as the government relaxed the stringent lockdown. Serpentine queues outside liquor shops were a common sight as men and women flocked to stock up on booze amidst the third phase of lockdown. While the central government has issued clear guidelines on social distancing, it was adhered to in some places while others saw complete chaos. Some states have reported a high excise earning as the liquor sales soared high after relaxations.

As the Delhi government on Sunday announced implementing the latest lockdown relaxations suggested by Union Ministry of Home Affairs around 150 liquor shops located outside the coronavirus containment zones opened on Monday. To get their hands on booze people flouted social distancing norms, a liquor shop in New Delhi’s Malviya Nagar saw more than a hundred people lined up,  the Police were called to take charge of the situation. Many other cities saw a similar scenario, people had gathered outside shops as early as 6 am in the morning. In some places the situation got out of control and shops were shut by the owners before the set time. However, the sale of liquor in malls, restaurants and permit rooms is still prohibited across the nation during lockdown 3.0.

booze
Liquor sales soared on Monday amidst lockdown relaxation. Pixabay

Social distancing went down the gutters in Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata too as people were seen in queues as long as 1 to 2kms outside liquor shops. In some cities, the Police had to resort to mild lathi-charge in order to get a hold of the situation. However, interestingly enough at some shops in Bengaluru staffers were seen thermal screening the customers in fear of COVID-19 spread. In UP’s Mirzapur a shopkeeper was seen showering petals on his customer.

According to the excise department Uttar Pradesh recorded a sale of over 100 crores on Monday itself, the Principal Secretary, Excise, Sanjay Bhoosreddy said: “I don’t think there would be any single industry with just less than one lakh workforce that gives ₹100 crore revenue (to the state exchequer) in a day”. Likewise, Karnataka’s excise department released a statement estimating the value of liquor sales on the first day to be around 450 million rupees. Mahasamund district’s women in Chhattisgarh staged a protest against the liquor shops opening condemning the government’s decision. Other places however saw a considerable number of women outside liquor shops. 

Also Read: Celebrities Across Country Question the Decision to Open Liquor Shops

The country saw a bittersweet situation where on one side the uncontainable happiness on the faces of customers was unmatchable while on the other side social distancing norms were flouted and the Police faced a tough time in managing the crowds. A lot of places witnessed utter chaos which led the owners to shut down the shops before time.

 

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India, Home to World’s Oldest Civilizations Showcases the Culinary Traditions of The Indus Valley Civilization

This special Indus Valley menu strictly coheres to ingredients recollected by archaeologists and researchers from sites of Indus-Saraswati civilization, culled out by OSMS, a Delhi-based collective of conservation architects

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Indus Valley
It was some 5000 years ago that the Indus Valley civilization emanated.

By Kashish Rai

India is undoubtedly the home to world’s oldest civilizations. The Indus Valley Civilization which was discovered just 100 years ago has been confined to India. It was some 5000 years ago that the Indus Valley civilization emanated. Some archeological research has shown that it was an advanced civilization with well developed cities.

Interestingly an exhibition named “Historical Gastronomica” in New Delhi, India has conceptualized the food that South Asians living here ate.

The ‘Historical Gastronomica: The Indus Dining Experience’ at the National Museum in Delhi has a specially crafted tasting menu on Indus Valley food culture that includes Khatti dal, Kachri ki sabzi, black gram stewed with jaggery and seasame oil, raggi ladu, thin barley griddle cakes, sweet rice with banana and honey and a special “Indus Valley Khichri”.

Have a look at it in this interesting video:

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This special Indus Valley menu strictly coheres to ingredients recollected by archaeologists and researchers from sites of Indus-Saraswati civilization, culled out by OSMS, a Delhi-based collective of conservation architects.