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By Saish Bhise
Covid-19 is a global health emergency not only in the context of physical health but in mental health too. The novel coronavirus pandemic brought in a slew of parallel epidemics, one among them is dubbed as the silent epidemic; The epidemic of mental health. Mental health issues affect one in every four people, which also includes around 20% of the world's children (below the age of 12) and teenagers. The problem has been exacerbated due to the ongoing pandemic, by disrupting the healthcare systems across the world. Yet funding for mental health care remains critically low. To be precise, around 2% of global health funding is utilized for mental-health-related works.
Mental health is already a heavily stigmatized topic in India. There are various preconceived notions, stereotypes prevailing in Indian society regarding mental health. Moreover, India spends a nominal amount of its total health care budget on mental health. The second wave of Covid-19 brutally raged through the country. During the peak, daily new cases crossed the 4 lakh mark and daily deaths crossed the 4 thousand mark. Lack of medical oxygen, ICU beds, ventilators, essential medicines, has plagued the country with anxiety, frustration and moreover fear.
One of distributing facets of the ongoing covid-19 mental health crisis is that its scope is virtually unlimited. Right from kids to senior citizens, everyone and anyone are vulnerable to the dangers of mental health. With consecutive lockdowns, the emotions of loneliness, uncertainty, anxiety, and last but not least fear, all have intertwined with our daily lives.
As one of the premier institutes in the field of neuroscience, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) has also found itself at the forefront in the campaign against the coronavirus. Its prestigious faculty and hardworking students have not only provided much needed mental health support to thousands of people all across the country, but its genomic sequencing unit has been instrumental in comprehending the various intricacies of the virus. During the initial days of the pandemic, NIMHANS set a dedicated helpline to address the growing concerns regarding the novel coronavirus. The "National Psychological Helpline" as it is named, has since then received more than five lakh calls.
Sceptics have sounded an alarm over the rise in covid fatigue. As the pandemic rages on indefinitely, the overall well-being of society will deteriorate significantly. India's top medical experts have already sounded an alarm for the third wave. With a large number of tourists pouring in at Mussoorie, Shimla and other holiday destinations, the third wave of Covid-19 is on the horizon. But, this time the mental health consequences would be as debilitating as the physical ones. It is high time that policymakers consider mental health as a national health crisis.
Super model and actress Hailey Bieber said she is lucky to have a husband like Justin Bieber, refuting rumours of the ace singer not treating her properly. Hailey was speaking at singer Demi Lovato's podcast '4D With Demi Lovato', dailymail.co.uk reported.
Talking about her popstar husband and rumours around their marriage, Hailey said: "I think one of the biggest things is you have to know what the truth is behind everything. You know, there's so many narratives that float around about me, about him, about us together." She addressed the rumours point blank as she said: "There's one big fat narrative that goes around that's like, 'Justin is not nice to her, and that he mistreats her', and I'm just like, it's so far from the truth, and it's the complete and utter opposite."
Hailey went on to set the record straight about Justin, who she married in 2018. She said: "I really am lucky to say I'm with someone who is extremely respectful of me, who makes me feel special every single day. So when I see the opposite of that, I'm just like, 'Huh?' And everybody around who knows us personally would say the same thing." (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Hailey Bieber, Justin Bieber, husband, respectful, truth, married
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