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By Harshmeet Singh
India’s struggle for freedom was a long and painful process. While most history books term ‘India’s freedom struggle’ as an era which began after Congress came into being in 1885, the significance of the epic battle of 1857 can’t be undermined either. Several experts have given different names to the 1857 battle. While some call it ‘India’s first war for Independence’ and ‘an uprising’, some call it a ‘sepoy mutiny’ and ‘an unorganized rebellion destined to fail’. While the jury will always be out on the after effects and nature of the 1857 battle, the fact remains that it gave India its first ever war heroes, most of who have been confined to a small paragraph in school history books. One of those unsung heroes of the 1857 battle was the erstwhile begum of Awadh, Begum Hazrat Mahal.
Along with Rani of Jhansi, she remains one of the first women war heroes of India. After her husband, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was exiled to Calcutta, Begum took over the realm of Awadh and exhibited her knack for leadership. Her first major achievement was taking back the control of Lucknow from the British with the help of her accomplices including Nana Saheb, Sarafad-daulah and Raja Jai Lal. In 1856, the British had taken control of the Awadh and forcefully exiled the King (Begum’s husband) to Calcutta. Seeing the demeaning treatment offered to their Nawab, the local population and the Awadh army initiated a rebellion against the British. Keeping an eye on the situation, the Begum consulted Nana Saheb and decided to attack the British, with the entire Awadh army at her command. The surprise attack forced the British to back down and accept defeat. With Lucknow under her control, she proclaimed her son, Prince Birjis Qadr as the King of Awadh.
The British, stunned by the actions of the Awadh army under the Begum, took refuge in The Residency. Built between 1780 and 1800 in the heart of Lucknow, The Residency was the residence of the British officer who lived in Awadh and represented the company’s views. The resources at Residency allowed the British to beef up their forces and attack the Awadh forces again. The Residency thus became the site of the epic ‘Siege of Lucknow’ – the battle between the British and the Awadh forces. The battle in Lucknow was perhaps the most hard fought of all regional battles in the 1857 revolt.
Although her son’s rule at the throne was short-lived as the British forces re-captured most parts of Awadh, the Begum didn’t agree to surrender. She was particularly critical of the British about their claim of allowing freedom of worship to others. In one of her proclamations about the British, she said – “To eat pigs and drink wine, to bite greased cartridges and to mix pig’s fat with sweetmeats, to destroy Hindu and Mussalman temples on pretense of making roads, to build churches, to send clergymen into the streets to preach the Christian religion, to institute English schools, and pay people a monthly stipend for learning the English sciences, while the places of worship of Hindus and Mussalmans are to this day entirely neglected; with all this, how can people believe that religion will not be interfered with?”
After the British successfully struck down the revolt, Queen Victoria issued a proclamation to the Indian people, which read –
“We hereby announce to the Native Princes of India that all treaties, engagements made with them by or under the authority of the Honorable East India Company are by us accepted, and will be scrupulously maintained, and We look for a like observance on their part. We desire no extensions of Our present territorial possessions ; and while We will permit no aggression upon Our dominions or Our Rights to be attempted with impunity, We shall sanction no encroachment on those of others, We shall respect the rights, dignity, and honor of Native Princes as Our own ; and we desire that they—as well as our own subjects—should enjoy prosperity, and that social advancement, which can only be secured by internal peace and good government. We hold ourselves bound to the Natives of Our Indian territories by the same obligations of duty, which bind us to all Our other subjects, and those obligations by the Blessing of God, we shall faithfully and conscientiously fulfil.”
In response, the Begum issued a counter proclamation in her son’s name and asked, “If the Queen has assumed the government, why does Her Majesty not restore our country to us when our people wish it?”
With the British recovering from early jolts and crushing the rebellion, Begum had to seek asylum in Nepal under the patronage of Prime Minister Jang Bahadur. Her last days were spent in Kathmandu, where she was buried at the local Jama Masjid after her death in 1879.
In 1962, Lucknow’s Victoria Park was renamed as ‘Begum Hazrat Mahal Park’, to honour her contribution towards India’s freedom struggle. But during BJP’s rule in UP in 1992, the park was renamed again as ‘Urmila Vatika’, highlighting Government’s disregard towards the valiant queen. The Indian Government, in 1984, came out with a commemorative stamp in her honour.
Begum Hazrat Mahal’s grave in Nepal is in a deplorable condition. Governments of both the countries have turned a blind eye towards the grave of the lady who proved 150 years ago that women are second to none!
By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe
Do you have a strong desire for a late-night snack but you are trying to control the temptation to avoid gaining weight? Many people, due to many reasons, feel hungry again after having dinner. It can be due to work shifts, boredom, stress or if you have had a smaller or earlier dinner. There's a lot of debate about whether or not you should eat after dinner. And, if that's okay, what are the foods to consume at that hour? As per Dietitian and Nutritionist Sakina Mustansir, if you snack wisely, you will not gain weight.
Mustansir suggest foods that you can binge on late at night.
* Berries -- Berries are loaded with fibre which helps you feel full, besides they also contain magnesium, a mineral that relaxes nerves and muscles to speed faster.
Berries are loaded with fibre which helps you feel full. | Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
* Peanut butter Sandwich -- Peanut butter contains tryptophan that gets converted in the brain to melatonin to promote sleepiness. And carbohydrates like bread are needed alongside to make tryptophan more available to the brain. Hence peanut butter bread is the perfect pairing for a pre-sleep snack, and nutritious, too.
Peanut butter contains tryptophan that gets converted in the brain to melatonin to promote sleepiness. | Photo by Deryn Macey on Unsplash
* Whole-grain crackers -- When you're hungry for something savoury and crunchy at night, then this can come in handy. Make sure they are unsalted to keep overeating at bay.
Make sure crackers are unsalted to keep overeating at bay. | Photo by Romina BM on Unsplash
* Carrot and hummus -- If you're craving something crunchy and low-calorie and filling, fresh carrots with hummus can come in handy.
If you're craving something crunchy and low-calorie and filling, fresh carrots with hummus can come in handy. | Photo by Jonathan Pielmayer on Unsplash
* Popcorn -- For those who would like to eat something salty and crunchy, we would suggest they binge on popcorn. It's a high-fibre snack that will keep you full until the next meal. Leave off the butter and salt, and replace them with heart-healthy fats like olive oil or fresh herbs. In fact, three cups of air-popped popcorn contain less than 100 calories and roughly 4 grams of fibre, which will help you to feel full.
For those who would like to eat something salty and crunchy, we would suggest they binge on popcorn. Photo by Georgia Vagim on Unsplash
* Nuts -- Nuts like walnuts and almonds contain natural melatonin, protein, and magnesium, a modest handful of nuts will satiate appetite and induce sleepiness.
Nuts like walnuts and almonds contain natural melatonin, protein, and magnesium Photo by Pratik Bachhav on Unsplash
* Roasted Grams -- Roasted Grams are a crunchy nutrient-dense, low-calorie snack that's high in protein, fibre, vitamins, and minerals, which makes them a healthier alternative to salty snacks like potato chips.
Roasted Grams are a crunchy nutrient-dense, low-calorie snack. | Wikimedia Commons
* Low Fat turmeric Milk -- Milk is a rich source of important nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B, potassium and Vitamin D. Adding turmeric to milk enables your body to relax. It gives a calming effect to the brain and gives you a perfect good night sleep. (IANS/ MBI)
Adding turmeric to milk enables your body to relax. | Photo by Osha Key on Unsplash
Keywords: berries, turmeric, dinner, peanut, popcorn, crunchy, butter
If you're even a little familiar with the Indian culture you'll be aware of the traditional bracelets made of glass worn by women in India. Firozabad, a small industrial town approximately 200 km from the capital of India, Delhi is famous for its glass industry and especially its bangles. Thus it is rightfully known as "The Bangle City" or the "The Glass City of India". This city had is notable for the production of the bulk amount of indigenous glass. Bangles of every colour; red, green, blue, yellow, gold-lined, edged silver, you name it the city has it. Gorgeous bangles with intricate designs and rich colours are the unique art crafted by the hands of thousands of artisans living in Firozabad.
Making glass useful and a decorative object has been the city's tradition for more than 200 years. 75% of Firozabad's population including children are directly or indirectly involved in the traditional glasswork industry. Bangle making is a household business with generations passing on traditional techniques, from grandparents to parents and then to children. The city employs thousands of craftsmen and around town. Some of the town's units run 24 hours. There are about 150 bangle-making and decoration units in the city. A single bangle is expected to move to pass as many as 45 to 50 hands before turning it from a pure lump of glass into a piece of disposable jewellery.
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Firozabad today produces a range of glass products like glass hardware for decorative purposes, glass art items such as toys, candle stands, animal figurines and images of gods and goddesses, glass domestic goods such as drinking glasses. They even produce the science and laboratory glassware such as beakers, flasks, containers for college, university and factory laboratories; glass automotive products such as light bulbs, battery bulbs and Glass Street and domestic lighting equipment for urban and rural lighting and utility applications including miniature bulbs and high-voltage lighting equipment. This way half the city's output is exported.
A single bangle is moved past as many as 45 to 50 hands before turning it from a pure lump of glass into a piece of disposable jewellery.Wikimedia Commons
Behind the beautiful bangles that we wear are the hazardous and miserable conditions of the artisans. Not many people are aware of the blood, sweat and even lifetime disabilities that these glass craftsmen face while the production of this colourful glassware. Despite being successful and having a name for it as the "Glass City" it has failed to establish its place in the international market. The reasons are simple, as the city has stuck to the primitive traditional manual techniques which often lead to health hazards and has employed children in these glass furnaces for generations.
The craftsmen and children working in this industry often work for elongated hours in dark with shards of glass, and glass dust everywhere. All the work they do from welding to soldering pieces of glass is done without proper protection. Due to such conditions, they frequently suffer from respiratory problems, loss of vision, silicosis and other health hazards. Children employed lose their vision even before becoming an adult. 70% of the workers don't even get minimum wages.
Child labour and exploitation of labour have been a major problem in Firozabad for which the Government had made several laws and act acts to address the issue. The city continues to defy the laws and has become a hub of child labour and continues to exploit hundreds of children.
ALSO READ: Child Labour: Can the 'abused' dream?
Behind all the glitter and glory of the Glass City of India are the poor work conditions of the artisans and the health hazards that run from generation to generation. The glass children of the glass city need their rights to be protected. The city needs modernization of the traditional techniques to machines to avoid health hazards and address the problem of child labour. The enterprises and the government are working to promote the glass industry to bring back the shine and charm of the city.
Keywords: Glass industry, Firozabad, child labour, health hazards, poor working conditions
By- Lisa Frank
When COVID-19 hit, teachers and students got a crash course in video conferencing apps and remote learning. While many schools are now transitioning away from the remote format, technology and education have nonetheless become inseparable. Interaction with others via the internet is now a fact of life both in school and outside of it.
While much of that interaction is healthy, some of it is not. School officials can help stop bullying when it happens in person, but they may not know when it occurs digitally. That leaves parents as the first line of defence against cyberbullying. This year, take some precautions to help protect your kid from this hurtful practise and show them how to interact safely online.
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To protect your child from cyberbullying, your first instinct might be to bar them from the place it so commonly occurs — social media. Your daughter won't fall victim to the Snapchat equivalent of a hit and run if she's not on the platform, right? And your son won't receive nasty comments on his Youtube videos if you don't let him post any — case closed.
Not so fast, Mom and Dad. It would be unrealistic to totally ban your child from social media — it's just too prevalent. You might be surprised how often even schools will use it to keep in touch with their students. Instead of prohibiting access altogether, set up certain times and situations in which they are allowed to get on social media. That way, if cyberbullies show up, you can help your kid defuse the situation and salve any psychic wounds.
You could allow 30 minutes right after school to look at TikTok while in the living room with you, for example. Or they can catch up on their friends' Instagram stories on their tablets. This routine will be both something to look forward to and easy activity to help them transition from their school day.
Of course, there will be times your child won't have supervision, such as when they are hanging out with friends or away from home. For these excursions, a cell phone for kids is perfect for limiting social media access while allowing you to keep in touch. Using a limited device, they won't encounter harmful people online in a place they feel unsafe.
Popular social media platforms may be integral to modern communication, but there are many lesser-known ones with less stringent rules. These include forums like Reddit and 4chan, which at best can be time-wasters and at worst can invite cyberbullying.
If you're looking to minimize your child's attachment to the internet, then it is best to bar access to such sites. It is far more likely that they'll interact with bad actors in communities with such large, diverse reservoirs of content.
Even if your kid is allowed to go on certain websites, there are actions that they should always avoid without permission. These include messaging strangers, sharing personal information, and making purchases, to name just a few. Cyberbullying can move from the virtual world to the real one when a bully knows your home address. Impress upon your child how important it is to keep personal information private.
Respond to your children without judgment so that if they need help, they feel safe coming to you for aidUnsplash
No matter how much you regulate your kid's internet activity, you want to make sure that they understand why. It's important that they don't feel punished or belittled as you strive to protect them. The best way to do this is by being open with your child: The internet can be dangerous at times. They haven't done anything wrong, but you just want to make sure they aren't put in harm's way.
Provide them with a space to air their opinions respectfully even if they disagree with your decisions. If they beg for a Snapchat account and then run into their school's mean girls, resist the urge to say, "I told you so." Respond without judgment so that if they need help, they can feel safe coming to you for aid. A healthy foundation of trust relies on your respect for their needs and vice versa.
Having this support system can mean the difference between their feeling powerless or protected during a harmful interaction. They'll always be sure that you are in their corner should a cyberbully strike. And if one does, it will present an opportunity to discuss rules, their necessities, and their objectives.
While your primary goal is to protect your kid from cyberbullying, as a parent it's also your job to ensure they aren't bullying others. Cyberbullying takes many different forms, and because of this, it's important to teach your child internet etiquette.
Without someone's face in front of us, it is easier to say things to people that we wouldn't in person. Remind them that behind every profile, there is a real person. They may be tempted to join in on an internet pile-on — especially when the "cool kids" at school are doing it. Encourage them to step away (or better yet, come to the other student's defence) in such situations. If your child understands the effect harsh words can have on a person, they'll be more likely to do the right thing.
On the flip side, teach them it's OK to brush the occasional negative comment aside. It is also worth discussing the importance of context — the unemotive nature of text communication can sometimes breed misunderstanding. A simple comment giving someone a suggestion might be interpreted as hostile due to the absence of verbal inflection. While they shouldn't downplay genuinely hurtful language, they shouldn't be quick to take offence, either.
Most social media platforms have implemented anti-bullying features aimed at giving users a sense of control and self-protection. Instruct your child on how to use these tools to curate and preserve their online experience. This includes unfriending, unfollowing, blocking, reporting, hiding, and restricting undesirable accounts and posts when they encounter something that bothers them.
If your kid can't find a solution on their own, even with these tools at their disposal, that doesn't mean they're out of luck. After all, you've already given them the assurance that they can always ask for your help. By familiarizing them with solutions and managing their usage, you'll be better able to keep your child safe from online bullies this school year.
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