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Guyana: HOLI, the festival of colors, has been known traditionally as a Hindu observance which symbolizes good over evil. And over the last few decades, having been observed in a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society such as Guyana, it has served as a tool which fosters national unity in a country which continues to make active strides in achieving same.

Holding this convention is President of the Guyana Hindu Dharmic Sabha, Dr Vindhya Persaud, who told the Guyana Chronicle that the feeling which emerged from the celebration yesterday is one which Guyanese should embrace every day. “This is the kind of feeling we want to see every day, not just on Phagwah,” Dr Persaud said.

“Everyone was having a good time and it was clean fun. Families were out in their numbers and I think it brought out the true meaning of Holi which is unity, oneness and that sense of equality. The true meaning of Phagwah is that we erase all barriers and differences” she said, adding that the 2016 festival was wonderful.

Meanwhile, she commented on the use of alcohol during these celebrations, stating that Guyana has come a far way in this regard and has registered success. A few years ago, the Sabha’s President had issued a call for there to be a ban on the sale and use of alcohol at Hindu observances, since it undermines the religious significance and taints the observance. And since then, she noted that efforts are being made to erode this culture which is not limited to Hindus.

“During Hindu observances, especially Navratri, I’m happy when I pass the liquor shops and they are empty. But that is not saying that only Hindus consume alcohol, it is not limited to one group. But I want to continue my appeal to tell people to respect the Hindu festivals, because they are highly spiritual and while there is a social dimension to it, there is a time for prayer also,” she said.

Dr Persaud further added that the campaign against the banning of alcohol was a successful attempt at eroding the perceived link between Hindu holidays and alcohol. And having registered success in this regard, she noted that people understand what it means to have clean fun and not incorporate the use of alcohol during these celebrations. “I also want to appeal to the young people to understand the significance of these holidays even while they are having fun,” she added.




Dia Mirza champions sustainable fashion

Actor and environmental activist, Dia Mirza, who is also the National Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) was showstopper for Indian designers Abraham & Thakore at the recently held LFW X FDCI event. The designer duo who are pioneers of slow fashion and sustainability in the Indian fashion landscape showcased a timeless sustainable collection.

IANSlife spoke with Mirza on sustainable choices when it comes to fashion.

Read Excerpts:

Q: Did you enjoy the on-ground fashion event and the energy that came with the physical show and appearance?
A: Yes absolutely. It was just so refreshing and wonderful to finally be back from a virtual audience. Last year we did a digital show and the energy was just not there, this is an interactive experience and we draw so much from real people.

Q: The outfit that was chosen for you, how did it complement your style?
A: It's a garment that I think involves and is reflective of what I stand for, I deeply care about sustainability and I love the fact that the garment has been made with repurposed material, used and created with a hundred per cent post-consumer bottles, and made by the waste generated from the pieces of fabric that we discard while creating other garments. So it was a very special garment that really and truly celebrated repurposing and reusing and upcycling.

Dia Mirza is an Indian model, actress, producer, and social worker who predominantly works in Hindi films. Mirza won the title of Miss Asia Pacific International in 2000. IANSlife spoke with Mirza on sustainable choices when it comes to fashion. | Wikimedia Commons

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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Delhi to get new QR-based driving livenses and registration certificates.

In a step towards digitisation of the system, Delhi Transport Department will soon issue QR based Smart cards for driving licenses (DLs) and registration certificates (RCs).

As per a statement, the new driving licence will have an advanced microchip with features like Quick Response (QR) code and Near Field Communication (NFC). The new RC will have the owner's name printed on the front while the microchip and the QR code would be embedded at the back of the card.

The cards earlier had embedded chips, but chip reader machines were not available in the required quantity with both the Delhi Traffic Police and the Enforcement Wing of the Transport Department. Moreover, chips were designed and implemented by the states concerned, which resulted in difficulties in reading the chip and retrieving information, especially in case of defaulters.

"Now with the QR based smart card, this issue is resolved. This will enable unification in linking and validating one's information to smart cards with Sarathi and Vahan, the two web-based databases of all driving licenses and vehicle registrations," the release added.

The QR is also being implemented nationwide, the QR code reader is easily procurable and will do away with the requirement of any manual intervention altogether. The new cards will also allow two specific materials for their card manufacturing -- PolyVinyl Chloride or PVC, or PolyCarbonate which is slightly more expensive but more durable. (Card Size - 85.6mm x 54.02 mm; Thickness minimum 0.7 mm)

An October 2018 notification of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had made changes to the Driving License and Registration Certificate. The new Smart card based DL and RC, will have chip based/ QR code based recognition system. At the same time, documents such as driving license or registration certificates in electronic formats on DigiLockers and mParivahan were also made valid in place of physical documents and treated at par with original documents.

The QR code also has an added advantage of acting as a safety feature on the smart card. The department will be able to retain records and penalties of the DL holder for up to 10 years on the VAHAN database as soon as a driver/ owner's Smart card is confiscated. The new DLs will also help the government in maintaining records of differently-abled drivers, any modifications made to the vehicles, emission standards and the person's declaration to donate organs. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Delhi, Driving License, Registration License, Digitisation.


In this handout photo provided by Sotheby's Auction House, the auction for Banksy's "Love is the Bin" takes place in London, Oct. 14, 2021

LONDON — A work by British street artist Banksy that sensationally shredded itself just after it sold at auction three years ago fetched almost 18.6 million pounds ($25.4 million) on Thursday — a record for the artist, and close to 20 times its pre-shredded price.

"Love is in the Bin" was offered by Sotheby's in London, with a presale estimate of 4 million pounds to 6 million pounds ($5.5 million to $8.2 million).

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