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Twitter India steps in to bridge blood donation gap

Twitter said it will also amplify the real-time communication efforts of the handle with verification, promotion on Twitter, and use Twitter Lite to connect the helpline with people across the entire country

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  • Twitter starts a new initiative #BloodMatters
  • This initiative is to create more awareness blood donation and its need in India
  • The step is being applauded and supported by the government as well

Aiming to create more awareness and bridge the demand-supply gap for blood units in India, Twitter India on Tuesday launched a new social initiative called #BloodMatters.

According to a report by the World Health Organisation, only nine million blood units are available annually in India, against a demand of 12 million units. Blood Donors India (@BloodDonorsIN), a voluntary blood donation helpline on Twitter, is the first partner for the Twitter initiative. Through this initiative, Twitter said it seeks to work with more blood donation helplines like @BloodDonorsIN, blood banks, and health institutions across the country to connect and reach a larger audience.

Twitter has launched three types of APIs to facilitate this.
This step will help bridge the blood donation gap in India.

“The platform aims to scale up the volume of blood donation conversation in India, the number of donors, and work with partners that can ensure safe, screened blood can reach those in need in time across India,” Twitter India said in a statement.

With this initiative, people can request for blood donation simply with a tweet to @BloodDonorsIN with their location hashtag, blood type, mobile contact and Twitter handle. People interested to help can follow @BloodDonorsIN and respond or retweet requests for help.

Responding to the initiative in a tweet, Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said: “I am happy to see Twitter take up this cause to strengthen the overall health and well-being of the country with the #BloodMatters initiative. This will play a powerful role in mobilising resources and strengthening the blood donation drive in India.”

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This will benefit several people and is also supported by the government. Pixabay

With the new initiative, launched ahead of its 12th birth anniversary on Wednesday, Twitter is expanding the reach of the @BloodDonorsIN helpline through Twitter Lite, which provides more data-friendly access to real-time information exchange on blood donations across India.

Twitter will be supporting the implementation of an automated response solution to scale the operations of @BloodDonorsIN, currently run by a group of volunteers.

Twitter said it will also amplify the real-time communication efforts of the handle with verification, promotion on Twitter, and use Twitter Lite to connect the helpline with people across the entire country, from the metros to rural India.

There is a lot of gap between blood demand and supply in India. Pixabay

“Giving back has been a priority for Twitter since its inception and we believe the open exchange of information can be a compelling force for good in the world. #BloodMatters is a step in that direction,” Mahima Kaul, Head Public Policy, Twitter India, said in a statement.

“We are humbled to kickstart the initiative with @BloodDonorsIN, a handle that symbolises our mission of positively impacting the world by harnessing the real-time power of Twitter and hope to make a larger impact by extending its reach through Twitter Lite,” Kaul added. IANS

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Spiritual Ideas Sore At The World Hindu Congress

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new -- when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

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At its best, speeches at the recently concluded World Hindu Congress echoed the soaring spiritual ideals evoked by Swami Vivekananda in Chicago 125 years ago.

Even Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsangchanalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), focused essentially on the need for unity and patience among Hindus while fighting obstacles, of which, he said, there would be many. The burden of excavating implied accusations in Bhagwat’s speech fell to his critics.

At the plenary session, the moderator requested speakers to address issues of conflict without naming the speakers or their organisations in the interest of harmony. Other speakers sought to unite the followers of all the great religions that took birth in India — Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Some of the speakers from Bhagwat to Swami Swaroopananda of the Chinmaya Mission, framed the issues before Hinduism in a moral paradigm. Ashwin Adhin, the Vice President of the Republic of Suriname, began his speech in chaste Hindi, later quoting cognitive scientist George Lakoff: “Facts matter immensely. But to be meaningful they have to be framed in terms of their moral importance.”

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Buddhism relates sins to the characteristics one adopts. Pixabay

The dissonances, between the spiritual and the mundane, were to emerge later on the fringes of the seminars which were part of the Congress. Many of the delegates appropriated to themselves the mantle of a culture besieged by proselytising faiths. There were speakers who urged Hindus to have more children to combat their ‘dwindling population’. Posters warned Hindus of the dangers from ‘love jihad’ (Muslim men ‘enticing’ Hindu women).

In one of the sessions on the media, filmmaker Amit Khanna noted that religion had always played a prominent part in Indian cinema, starting with the earliest mythologicals. “Raja Harishchandra”, the first silent film, he said, was made by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913. He sought to reassure the audience on the future of Hinduism. “Over 80 percent of Indians are Hindus,” he said adding: “Hinduism has survived many upheavals for thousands of years. Hinduism has never been endangered.”

Other speakers, lacking spiritual and academic pedigrees, drew on an arsenal of simulated anguish and simmering indignation.

The nuances of history pass lightly over the ferociously devout and it took little effort to pander to an aggravated sense of historical aggrievement.

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Swami Vivekananda used to stress upon the universal brotherhood and self-awakening. Wikimedia Commons

At one of the debates, the mere mention of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, elicited sniggers and boos. The speaker hinted at ‘Nehruvian socialism’ which had made the Indian economy a non-starter. He concluded with a coup de grace, to a standing ovation: “Nehru did not like anything Indian.”

The poet Rabindranath Tagore, who composed the Indian national anthem, had spoken of his vision of a country where the “clear stream of reason had not lost its way”. At some of the discussions, even the most indulgent observer would have been hard put to discern the stream of reason.

The image of a once great civilisation suppressed by a century of British rule and repeated plunder by invaders captured the imagination of many in the audience. Hanging above it all, like a disembodied spirit, was the so-called malfeasance of Nehru, the leader who had won the trust of Hindus only to betray them in the vilest manner.

These tortured souls would have been well advised to adopt a more holistic approach to Hinduism, and history, looking no further than Swami Vivekananda, who once said: “The singleness of attachment (Nishtha) to a loved object, without which no genuine love can grow, is very often also the cause of denunciation of everything else.”

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The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures.

Historians have informed us that Nehru preferred his father’s intellect over his mother’s tradition but he was never contemptuous of religion. While he undoubtedly felt that organised religion had its flaws, he opined that it supplied a deeply felt inner need of human nature while also giving a set of values to human life.

In private conversations some delegates spoke of how their America-born children had helped persuade them to drop their pathological aversion to gays and lesbians. Despite their acute wariness of perceived cultural subjugation, the irony was obviously lost on them that Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code,(which criminalises gay sex) recently overturned by the Indian Supreme Court, is a hangover from the Victorian British era-embodied in the Buggery Act of 1533.

In the face of the upcoming elections in the US, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi’s decision to speak at the conference was a political risk. With a newly energised political Left, even the perception of being linked with “fascist” or sectarian forces could be political suicide in the critical November elections. Despite vociferous appeals to disassociate himself from the Congress, Krishnamoorthi chose to attend.

“I decided I had to be here because I wanted to reaffirm the highest and only form of Hinduism that I have ever known and been taught — namely one that welcomes all people, embraces all people, and accepts all people, regardless of their faith. I reject all other forms. In short, I reaffirm the teaching of Swami Vivekananda,” Krishnamoorthi said.

Given the almost pervasive abhorrence of anything remotely Nehruvian among a section of the delegates, it was a revelation to hear the opinion of Dattatrey Hosable, the joint general secretary and second-in-command in the RSS hierarchy. Speaking on the promise of a newly-resurgent India, Hosable said in an interview to Mayank Chhaya, a local journalist-author-filmmaker: “A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new — when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”

Also Read: Triple Talaq Now Banned in India

The quote is from Nehru’s famous Tryst with Destiny speech delivered to the Indian Constituent Assembly on the midnight of August 14, 1947 — proof, if any is needed, that the force of Nehru’s ideas can transcend one’s disdain of him. (IANS)