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The nation will, on January 30, observe Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary. This is also the year that we are celebrating Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. We should remember that the greatest apostle of peace lost his life in trying to bring different groups together.
All his life, Gandhi tried to bring people of different communities together because he believed in inclusive growth and development; something that was possible only when everybody worked for the common good.
Why have we lost this art of dialogue and the ability of taking all the people together? Gandhi’s example holds the mirror to present leadership.
During the freedom struggle, there was a diversity of opinions and paths on how to get independence. There were militant elements led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal, and Lala Lajpat Rai; then there were the divisions created by the British between Hindus, Muslims, scheduled class and others; together with this were fringe elements of the RSS and finally, there was the direct attack by Subhas Chandra Bose.
Yet, Gandhi never gave up the path of dialogue and always explained in great detail the reasons for taking a particular path and his actions. He gave a spiritual tone to the freedom struggle and generally kept the dialogue with different factions at a high moral level.
Gandhi gave Indians confidence in themselves; that they were equal to the British and showed that we can defeat the greatest power of the world through peaceful means.
The economic situation during the freedom struggle was really grim. Yet Gandhi’s higher calling brought the people together and gave them a sense of doing something wonderful with their lives and achieving the impossible. Thus, the richest industrialists like Tata, Birla, Bajaj, etc. took very active part in the freedom struggle.
Today the situation is different. We are economically well-off and increased exposure through mass media and internet has resulted in raising the aspirations of our population manifold.
With problems of not achieving the aspirations of the huge population, there are daily struggles in their lives which bring in frustrations. When conditions are created by political parties to instigate them and appeal to their baser instincts, as happens daily, it provides a spark to make any situation explosive. The general strife that we see and read about daily is the result of these frustrations.
In a pluralistic society like India, with 26 different languages, many cultures and religions and a huge population, divergent issues exist in every walk of life. It is all the more necessary that the political leadership should diffuse these issues and inspire and unite us to fight poverty, blind faith and general ignorance rather than each other.
It has been shown the world over that human beings react very positively to the call for a higher purpose in life and with proper dialogue, they are capable of making sincere and honest decisions. This is how Gandhi inspired the freedom movement.
What is, therefore, needed at this juncture is that a good political leadership provides a balm to the frayed nerves by showing the path where every section of the society can take part in nation building.
However, when the whole purpose of present political parties is to win the next election and remain in power rather than taking the nation on the path of general development and well-being of its population, then it is difficult for them to provide leadership and the Gandhian balm.
So, like the Gandhian way, what we need is that each of us becomes the agent of change. We can do it by working to our best capability and in doing our work honestly. This single thing can throw up good leaders and help in creating a great and prosperous country.
All of us are part of this great country. We are born and raised in India and may have different points of view or religions or ways of life but all of us want to live in a holistic, emotionally satisfying and economically viable India.
That was Gandhi’s dream. So, let us all remember him and try to follow his path of taking everybody together and his appeal to higher emotions in all of us so that we show love and peace for our fellow countrymen. (IANS)
(Anil Rajvanshi is the Director, Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute at Phaltan in Maharashtra. He writes on a range of social and philosophical issues)
Atop the Vindhyagiri hills in Karnataka, a 57-foot-tall statue stands. This is the statue of Lord Gomateshwara, or Bahubali, as he is known to the local patrons. The surrounding area is filled with temples where each of the many Jain Tirthankaras sits.
Sharavanabelagola is named after a pond that is located at the foothills. 'Bel' in Kannada means white, and 'kola' means pond. This is a sacred water body to the activities of the temples. It is a tourist attraction and a pilgrim destination located 85 kilometres from Mysore, and 145 kilometres from the capital, Bangalore.
The pond that Sharavanabelagola is named after Image source: wikimedia commons
Since the statue is placed at such a great height, pilgrims are made to make a journey to the top of the hill by foot. They are required to climb the stone steps barefoot as an act of piety and devotion. Palanquins are offered only to senior citizens who wish to worship at the temple.
In 3 B.C, when India was ruled by the Mauryan Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya became a Jain monk and took up residence in the Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri hills. He is supposedly responsible for the establishment of the temple complex at Shravanabelagola, where he lived till he died. Later on, his grandson, Ashoka made some additional changes to the place.
A shop in the tourist section that sells handmade items Image source: wikimedia commons
Every twelve years, a Mahamastabhisheka is conducted, and Jains from every part congregate to witness it. The statue is washed with water, rice flour, sugarcane juice, saffrom, sandalwood paste, gold, and silver flowers, curd, ghee, milk, and turmeric, and all the monks offer special prayers. The surrounding temples and rocks are preserved as archaeological wonders owing to the 800 edicts and inscriptions found here which span 600 to 1830.
Keywords: Shravanabelagola, Jainism, Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka, Karnataka
By Siddhi Jain
The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.
Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.
Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background
'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash
Written for a global audience, the book is targeted at kids between the ages of five and 10, the reason it is embellished with colourful images of families of different types is to appeal to children's sense of sight and drive home the message at the same time. Borthakur believes children are the best place to start because the ages between five and 10 are the most formative, where little ones pick up habits, beliefs and perceptions.
The Guwahati-born author says, "With this book, I'm not trying to take away the job of parents in forming habits, I simply want to do my part as a parent. It is important that we impart the right values in our kids in a bid to build a better, more inclusive and tolerant global society that is fair to everyone." The author's first attempt at a book was an Assamese poetry 'Anubhav', published in 2010.
Set to be published under the label of Author's Channel, the book is like an adventure; a journey into uncharted territories, untouched subjects and matters long ignored. In her words. "The book takes a critical stand in defense of people in society who have had to undergo severe emotional torture for no cause of theirs. It is a terrible conception to think such people any less of a human just for being different," says publisher Aruna Naidu. By September 30, this title, priced at Rs 299, will be available online and in offline bookstores. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Book, children, Guwahati, Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories, moral, story, kids, discrimination, equality
If you feel that clean and well-groomed hands are just an essential prerequisite for women, you might like to think twice. Men should equally pay attention to their hands because our hand houses 1,500 bacteria living on each square centimeter of its skin. You can easily assume what havoc it can create in our body because in India we have the culture of eating with our hands and spaces beneath nails can become breeding heaven for germs. Moreover, clean and maintained hands boost confidence in their daily life activities. Therefore, it's important to keep your hands clean irrespective of your gender by washing or sanitizing at regular intervals. And, to keep them groomed, you don't have to visit a salon.
Rajesh U Pandya, Managing Director, KAI India, gives easy and completely doable tips to follow at home:
* Refrain from harsh soaps: You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. Your soap can have a moisturizing element in it like aloe vera or shea butter. Ensure that you're washing your hands with normal water as hot water can make your hand's skin dry and scaly.
You should be mindful of the soap you are using to wash your hands. | Photo by Aurélia Dubois on Unsplash
* Clip your nails regularly: Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. After cutting your nails at a comfortable length also file them using a nail filer. Never share your nail care clipper as the germs can get transferred to your loved ones. Also, don't forget to use grime remover to remove hidden germs in corners and beneath nails. Also, you may like to file your nails to have a smooth finish.
* Good quality Nail Clipper: Do not use a rusted or chromium coated nail clipper as it might be harmful to skin and might cause dangerous bacterial infections.
* Stop the habit of nail chewing: Sometimes anxiety or extreme boredom can lead to chewing of nails. This habit only makes your nails uneven and ugly. Sometimes, our unclean nail folds give rise to viral, bacterial or fungal infections, which in turn can make us sick if we chew our nails.
Make use of your personal nail clipper to cut your nails. | Pixabay
* Exfoliate your hands: Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. You can buy a scrub or make one at home using brown sugar and olive oil. After scrubbing, you need to massage your hands with moisturizer.
Similar to the way you exfoliate your face; your hands also need it. It helps to keep the dry skin at bay and keep your hands soft. | Wikipedia
* Don't use your nails as tools: Always keep in mind that your nails are like jewels. Never use them to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters, or scraping off labels. This results in unnecessary breakage of nails, making your hands look dirty.
Never use your nails to pry things open such as pop cans, removing keys from the ring, opening letters or scraping off labels. | Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash
* Be aware of nail or cuticle inflammation or redness: If there are any signs of infection, disinfect the skin as soon as possible with an anti-bacterial or anti-fungal ointment.
(Article originally written by N.Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Nails, groom, hand, exfoliate, chew, nail clipper, bite, cuticle