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Ruskin Bond Talks On Children Losing Their Innocence

The books they read sometimes maybe talk of love and love making in a bold manner which might border on crudity

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He's lived in this humble Ivy Cottage since 1981 and has penned numerous tales to traverse a 68-year-long journey exclusively spent in writing
Ruskin Bond is one of the most celebrated Indian writers across the globe. Wikimedia commons

A wordsmith who has always celebrated love, author Ruskin Bond says he cringes at times seeing the “crudity” with which women are written or spoken about now, also stressing that children today have lost their innocence.

Hot on the heels of young cricketers, who are treated as icons by children in the Indian households, Hardik Pandya and Lokesh Rahul bandying about sexist remarks in a television show and making all the wrong noises for that, Bond said he is aware that the general tone when talking about women has gone hoarse.

“Children are losing their innocence or have already lost it because of the climate they are exposed to,” Bond, 84, told IANS in an interview on the sidelines of the TATA Steel Kolkata Literary Meet.

Brain tumours may occur in children with common genetic syndrome
Children are losing their innocence or have already lost it because of the climate they are exposed to,   Pixabay

“The books they read sometimes maybe talk of love and love making in a bold manner which might border on crudity,” he said.

“You see 12-year olds watching hard porn on the streets and that was unthinkable during our time. We did not have easy access to so many things during our day.

“So I think too much exposure to a lot of things early on and not seeing or reading the right kinds of things has lead to this,” said the creator of “The Room on the Roof” (1956), “Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra” (1992), “The Blue Umbrella” (1974) and “A Flight of Pigeons” (2003).

Bond also chose to speak specifically on the Pandya-Rahul issue, underlining that they should think twice before going to such talk shows and that they should be given a second chance.

“I think they did make a mistake and such talk shows should be avoided as I feel it is also responsible for the way they behaved. They got carried away. Anyway, I read what all is going on and I feel we should not be too hard on them.”

stories with realistic characters
Children increasingly identify with stories having human characters. Pixabay

Bond, whose supernatural stories have been made into a web series, said it is a way to stay relevant in today’s times, adding that ghosts are not out to scare or harm people all the time and it’s a “safe fear” that people like to indulge in.

“You can think of it that way (web series helps in staying relevant). It might help because in any case, those people, people who read, young people, many of them do enjoy reading ghost stories and tales of the supernatural as I did when I was a boy.

Also Read: Proud Of Spreading Chills And Thrills Among Children: ‘Goosebumps’ Author R.L. Stine

“And, of course, it’s only a part of my writing output, but I enjoy doing the ghost story or spooky story and particularly when I run out of other ideas because I can cook them up quite easily.

“Especially your hill stations are reputed to be full of them,” said Bond who lives in Landour, Mussoorie, with his adopted family.

The first episode of “Parchayee: Ghost Stories by Ruskin Bond” premiered earlier this month and the subsequent parts will unfold till June. (IANS)

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Measles Kills 140,000 people, WHO Calls it “Collective Failure”

WHO Decries 'Collective Failure' as Measles Kills 140,000

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Measles- WHO
A child reacts after receiving a measles-rubella vaccination in Yangon, Myanmar. VOA

Measles infected nearly 10 million people in 2018 and killed 140,000, mostly children, as devastating outbreaks of the viral disease hit every region of the world, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

In figures described by its director general as “an outrage,” the WHO said most of last year’s measles deaths were in children under five years old who had not been vaccinated.

“The fact that any child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease like measles is frankly an outrage and a collective failure to protect the world’s most vulnerable children,” said the WHO’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus.

The picture for 2019 is even worse, the WHO said, with provisional data up to November showing a three-fold increase compared with the same period in 2018.

The United States has already reported its highest number of measles cases in 25 years in 2019, while four countries in Europe — Albania, the Czech Republic, Greece and Britain — lost their WHO “measles-free” status in 2018 after suffering large outbreaks.

An ongoing outbreak of measles in South Pacific nation of Samoa has infected more than 4,200 people and killed more than 60, mostly babies and children, in a battle complicated by a vocal anti-vaccination movement.

Globally, measles vaccination rates have stagnated for almost a decade, the WHO said. It and the UNICEF children’s fund say that in 2018, around 86% of children got a first dose of measles vaccine through their country’s routine vaccination services, and fewer than 70% got the second dose recommended to fully protect them from measles infection.

Highly contagious

Samoa Measles
A child gets vaccinated at a health clinic in Apia, Samoa. Samoa. VOA

Measles is one of the most contagious known diseases — more so than Ebola, tuberculosis or flu. It can linger in the air or on surfaces for several hours after an infected person has been and gone — putting anyone not vaccinated at risk.

In some wealthier nations, vaccination rates have been hit by some parents shunning them for what they say are religious or philosophical reasons. Mistrust of authority and debunked myths about links to autism also weaken vaccine confidence and lead some parents to delay protecting their children.

Research published in October showed that measles infection not only carries a risk of death or severe complications including pneumonia, brain damage, blindness and deafness, but can also damage the victim’s immune memory for months or years — leaving those who survive measles vulnerable to other dangerous diseases such as flu or severe diarrhea.

The WHO data showed there were an estimated 9,769,400 cases of measles and 142,300 related deaths globally in 2018. This compares to 7,585,900 cases and 124,000 deaths in 2017.

Also Read- UN Aims at Curbing Carbon Emissions Globally

In 2018, measles hit hardest in Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Somalia and Ukraine, the WHO said, with these five nations accounting for nearly half of global cases.

Robert Linkins, a specialist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the data were worrying: “Without improving measles vaccine coverage we’re going to continue to see these needless deaths. We must turn this trend around.” (VOA)