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BY PUJA GUPTA
Feeling anxious and overwhelmed is not surprising in the 21st century. The year 2020 started under the cynical shadow of political unrest, international security threats, a run of hate crimes and what not. Not to forget about the vile expectations we allow ourselves to go through on a daily basis: become richer, lose weight, be a better person, think positively and more – the urge to meet such expectations, obligations and duties are so high that you often end up crumbling under them.
As Ramon Llamba, Ph.D. in Quantum Physics and the founder of Golden Age Transformation puts it, “The greatest barriers to living a better life are your self-created, overgrown expectations.” She pens down some strategic steps that you should take for a more mental health new year.
Give yourself priority
Self-care is the new empowerment. While we grapple with the growing mental health crisis, it is high time that we prioritise self-love and self-compassion. As most of the psychology studies attest self-love along with compassion is the key to strong mental health.
Practising self-love is not about being self-absorbed or being narcissistic, it is like following a subtle way to get in touch with your inner self, your happiness, and your well-being. It is basically the act of looking after yourself, both physically and mentally, so you are able to push through your limiting beliefs and live a life that truly shines.
So, do yourself a favour, just take a deep breath, give yourself a little hug and start practising the art of self-love.
Take a break (vacation)
No matter how many lists you make or goals you set, things are still going to get stressful and busy. It is scientifically proven that hitting the pause button in your life has some incredible health benefits that far outweigh anything you think you might miss out on.
Trust us, you’ll feel refreshed which will ultimately double your productivity. That said, if you still can’t take time out to fly on a vacation, there are things you can do even in the most jam-packed days, like incorporating mindfulness. Try to absorb the idea of being in the present by taking a break from all the distractions with a kind heart and an open mind. You can incorporate mindfulness in your daily activities by bringing a wave of awareness and compassion to the things that you are already occupied with, such as during your commute or gym-time or even while eating a meal. Devoting a few moments to fully focus on a task at hand (mind you, you have to put all other thoughts away) can work wonders for your mental health.
You can try beginning each day with a five-minute mindfulness meditation session. If you find it helpful and want to go further then you can choose to opt for therapy to unravel a lifelong pattern, hire a personal trainer, or make time for reading.
Exercising may be the last thing you want to do when you’re on your downer or feeling overly stressed, but experts agree that exercising is one of the finest yet most powerful ways to boost your mental health. It is imperative to exercise for 15-30 minutes, three days a week in order to manage stress and anxiety.
Sure, working out can be time-consuming, but your chosen form of exercise doesn’t necessarily have to be physical, it can be an emotional and spiritual one too. When people think of exercise, they only consider going to the gym or doing some in-house cardio. Be that as it may, the way to mental wellness is to establish a mind-body connection: be sure to pay attention to your spiritual, mental, and emotional counterparts, too.
Your mental health is dependent on all these four counterparts, together. Try to understand this in the form of trickle-down effect: The physical body is often affected by the sudden play of emotions, our thoughts are directly proportionate to how we feel, and it is our energy level which sways our minds and ultimately our thoughts.
You can fully access the spiritual aspect of your being by maintaining a daily connection with your soul and religion.
Tell yourself something positive
An adjustment to your everyday vocabulary, both in your thoughts and out loud can very well improve your mental health. It may sound trite to you but looking on the bright side of everything really does matter. Instead of always focusing on the negative side, flip your dialogue towards positive outcomes. In addition to keeping up with positive mental health, it will also keep you motivated. For example, rather than saying, “If I bag that job”, switch to, “When I bag that job”. These small changes in your language will do the deal for you and change your mindset to a glass half full instead of glass half empty. Understand this as a fact that when you perceive yourself and your life negatively, you end up viewing experiences, particularly in a way that confirms the very same notion. When you start using positive words instead, you are more likely to promote feelings of self-worth and personal power.
Also Read- 5 Herbs That Will Help you Fight Work Stress
Prioritise mental well-being
So, yes. Mental health awareness is good. It’s important to be aware of something that affects nearly a quarter of the population of this world. Basically, someone experiencing a mental health problem or going through a mental crisis may not even realise this and may need help and assistance to even accept they have an issue that requires dealing with it. There is no shame in seeking professional help in times of need. You can find yourself a therapist who is variably proactive to patiently listen and give you tools that will help. (IANS)
"In India, to be born as a man is a crime, to question a woman is an atrocious crime, and this all because of those women who keep suppressing men in the name of feminism."
Feminism, a worldwide movement that started to establish, define and defend equal rights for women in all sections- economically, politically, and socially. India, being a patriarchal society gives a gender advantage to the men in the society thus, Indian feminists sought to fight against the culture-specific issue for women in India. Feminism itself is nothing but a simple movement that pursues equal rights for women (including transwomen) and against misogyny both external and internal. It states nowhere that women should get more wages than men, that women deserve more respect than men, that's pseudo-feminism.
Pseudo feminists state that women deserve more respect and rights, any other gender deserves no respect. They feel that women should be the ones ruling the world and at higher positions. When feminism takes a turn for extremities it becomes pseudo-feminism and people who label themselves as feminists will bash anyone who speaks against even the wrongdoings of a woman. They'll bash women who're wife and sisters for not speaking up and support any women criticizing political leaders even if it's completely irrational. This is where hypocrisy and pseudo-feminism merge with each other.
They take advantage of the rights given to women to protect themselves to threaten other genders. The rights given to women are supposed to make them feel reassured that they can reach out to the judiciary if their rights are being hampered not to threaten to make the victim sound like the culprit.
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Indian Feminist Movement has made significant progress however, even in the modern world women are still unsafe and are discriminated against when it comes to getting a job, land ownership, and access to education. While filling the official papers it is still asked "Wife of /Daughter of:….."
People in India still continue the practice of sex-selective abortion, abandoning the girl child, not letting girl child study instead they should learn household chores, they are seen as a burden to the family. Such injustices make feminism such an important movement, gender equality is worth fighting for to create a safe environment for women. Feminists over the years have been criticized for focusing on the rights of privileged women and not giving equal representation to poorer and lower caste women, which has led to separate caste-specific feminist organizations and movements.
Some notable milestones in the Feminist Movement
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy campaigned against Sati Pratha (practice in which a widow sacrificed herself by sitting atop her deceased husband's funeral pyre) and child marriage
- Savitribai Phule started the first school for girls at Bhidewada in Pune city in 1848.
- In 1972, SEWA, the biggest trade union for women was set up by Ela Bhatt for women working in the informal sector.
- The Chipko Movement was launched and led by women in 1973.
- #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and abuse was started in 2006 and revived in the year 2015.
People in India still continue the practice of sex-selective abortion, abandoning the girl child, not letting girl child study instead they should learn household chores, they are seen as a burden to the family.Unsplash
Feminism is often misunderstood as pseudo-feminism and hence, becomes the target for public hatred and is accused of wronging other genders under the façade of feminism. It is misunderstood by Indians as female domination instead of gender equality. Indian society and Indian feminists believe that only men are perpetrators of a heinous crime like rape and they refuse to even recognize the men who say they were raped and it's the toxic masculinity in the society that believes how can a woman rape a man? Reality is different from what we believe, women can be the perpetrator too, women threaten to file a case of domestic violence, or sexual assault against innocent people just to fulfill their ego.
Thankfully feminism and pseudo feminism are two separate concepts and feminism is just about equality and not judgment. Indian society and feminists actually need to understand the difference between the two and stop tarnishing the Feminist Movement as a whole.
Keywords: Feminism, World, India, Pseudo-Feminism, Gender
Kerala is a land of many good things. It has an abundance of nature, culture, art, and food. It is also a place of legend and myth, and is known for its popular folklore, the legend of Yakshi. This is not a popular tale outside the state, but it is common knowledge for travellers, especially those who fare through forests at night.
The legend of the yakshi is believed to be India's equivalent of the Romanian Dracula, except of course, the Yakshi is a female. Many Malayalis believe that the Yakshi wears a white saree and had long hair. She has a particular fragrance, which is believed to be the fragrance of the Indian devil-tree flowers. She seduces travellers with her beauty, and kills them brutally.
Yakshi idol in Veroor, Sri Dharamashastha temple Image source: wikimedia commons
The Yakshi is believed to live in a palm tree which can appear like a palace. Victims are taken here before they are killed. Travellers on highways are often advised not to stop near heavily forested areas, or speak to anyone who closely resembles a Yakshi. Some believe she can change form, while other hold to the belief that she doesn't. after securing her victim, the only trace left behind is body parts like hair, nails, and teeth.
They say, like other ghosts, a Yakshi's feet will not touch the ground. This is something to look out for. Mysterious deaths have been reported across the rural areas in Kerala, and all these have been attributed to the legend.
Keywords: Legends, Yakshi, Urban legend, Ghost, Kerala, Myth, Vampire
The LGBTQ+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others. In India LGBTQ+ community also include a specific social group, part religious cult, and part caste: the Hijras. They are culturally defined either as "neither men nor women" or as men who become women by adopting women's dress and behavior. Section 377 of the India Penal code that criminalized all sexual acts "against the order of nature" i.e. engaging in oral sex or anal sex along with other homosexual activities were against the law, ripping homosexual people off of their basic human rights. Thus, the Indian Supreme Court ruled a portion of Section 377 unconstitutional on 6th September 2018.
But the question is, "was India always against homosexuality"? Has the concept of homosexuality being unnatural existed forever? No, in Indian history and Hinduism homosexuality has never been an offense, in fact in several instances it has been depicted how people embraced their identity, be it sexual identity or gender identity. Section 377 was brought to India by the British in 1862, while India was colonized. Even after the Independence, it was only in 2018 that the Supreme Court ruled it as irrational and illogical.
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Homosexuality in Ancient India
When Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality in India, there was an uproar about it being a western ideology and liberalism. But in reality, homosexuality has existed since the time of the Vedas. The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA) researched and discovered that it was around 3102 B.C. (during the Vedic Age) that homosexuality or non-normative sexual identity was recognized as "Tritiya Prakriti", or the third nature. Ancient India not only made mentions of homosexuality but accepted it as well.
Hinduism is the most vastly followed religion in India. Hinduism does not explicitly mention homosexuality however it does contain a homosexual theme and characters in its text. There have been various instances in our scriptures and texts that have introduced us to LGBT+ characters such as the androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati Ardhanariswara meaning "the half-female lord". One of the most popular and ancient texts on sexuality, eroticism, and emotional fulfillment of life, "Kamasutra" has a complete chapter dedicated to homosexuality and homosexual sex. Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities.
Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities. Facebook
Our Mughals were Queer
Mughals are often seen under the light of cruelty, rigid ethics, nobility, and polygamy. Simultaneously, Mughals are also the ones credited for the emergence of Sufism, abolished jizya tax, love beyond religion, classes, and gender.
In the Baburnama written in memoirs of our very first Mughal ruler Muhammad Babur, several instances documented Babur's infatuation and affection towards a teenage boy named Baburi. We also have multiple Persian couplets as evidence of Babur's affection for Baburi. Mughals engaged in homosexuality and pederasty, and they believed that later was a form of "pure love".
But as time passed homosexuality was suppressed more and more though people practiced it in secret if revealed they were punished. According to the Fatwa-e-Alamgiri Sharia-based text of the Mughal Empire, there is a common set of punishments for homosexuality, which could include 50 lashes for a slave, 100 for a free infidel, or death by stoning for a Muslim.
British Raj and Independence of India
In 1862, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalized homosexual sex came into force. Even after Independence in 1947, the section remained a part of the Indian Constitution. There were protests all over the country to give people of the LGBT+ community basic human rights but it was not until 2018 that The Supreme Court of India ruled the portion of Section 377 has unconstitutional and struck it off. One judge said the landmark decision would "pave the way for a better future.". With Section 377 gone are LGBT+ people allowed to fall in love freely? No, people are still afraid to love because of the stigma in our society when it comes to homosexuality; they are seen as lesser humans.
ALSO READ: Significant Support for Rights for LGBTQ+
Although the Supreme Court has decriminalized homosexual activities, same-sex marriage remains illegal in the country. Homophobia is still prevalent in India, and homosexual children would rather commit suicide than come out to society with their true identity, that's how harsh of a world we live in. Lacking support from family, society, or police, many gay rape victims do not report the crimes. In 1977, writer and Indian mathematician Shakuntla Devi published "The World of Homosexuals". It was the first study in the Indian context; the book contains interviews with homosexual men set in the years of Emergency. She wrote, "rather than pretending that homosexuals don't exist it is time we face the facts squarely in the eye and find room for homosexual people." We've had small victories in our fight against homophobia and getting LGBT+ community the rights they deserve as humans, but we still have a long and exhausting fight ahead of us.