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The mood of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) vote bank in this Dalit capital of north India continues to remain confused and wavering as the last few elections have marginalized the party. The deep frustration in the BSP cadre is the result of the gnawing feeling of utter irrelevance of the party in the current political scenario, as well as that of party supremo Mayawati, who looks fatigued and spent out.
Local leaders of the BSP are particularly disenchanted with Muslim politics, and many feel the Muslim votes will again go to the Samajwadi Party. Ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Mayawati has made new appointments besides restructuring the party organization, but insiders say the 'josh' (enthusiasm) is clearly missing. The voters are neither angry nor too happy with the Yogi Adityanath government in Lucknow, according to poll watchers in the city which has a sizeable population of Dalits, mostly engaged in the shoe industry.
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At present, all the nine Assembly seats in Lucknow are with the BJP which has three MPs from the district, two in the Lok Sabha, and one in the Rajya Sabha. "The last four years have seen social tranquility, though vain efforts were made to flare up the Hathras gang-rape incident. But prompt intervention by the judiciary and the proactive approach of the Chief Minister helped defuse the tension," observed a local Dalit leader.
Also to be noted is the fact that the number of beneficiaries of a slew of welfare measures taken both by the Centre and the state government has been continuously rising. Even during the Covid-19 first and the second waves, help poured in from all ends, and cases of chill penury or acute deprivation were few, according to a social activist.
At present, all the nine Assembly seats in Lucknow are with the BJP which has three MPs from the district, two in the Lok Sabha, and one in the Rajya Sabha.Wikimedia Commons
Naresh Paras, a prominent activist working for the downtrodden, said, "Chances are that a section of the Dalit votes would go to Chandrashekhar Azad of the Bhim Army, a chunk could go to the BJP, but the bulk of the conventional Dalit votes will remain loyal to Bahenji (as Mayawati is popularly known). Though the Congress too has been trying hard to woo the Dalit votes, it is doubtful if a swing in favor of the Congress could now be engineered."
An analysis of the voting trends and figures points to a gradual decline in the BSP's fortunes, after it swept to power in 2007, winning 206 out of the 403 seats with a vote share of 30.43 percent. In the 2012 Assembly polls, Mayawati could win only 80 seats, with BSP's share of votes falling to 25.91 percent. In 2017, the BSP could win only 19 seats with a vote share of 22.14 percent. In the recent panchayat polls too, the party fared poorly, further demoralizing its rank and file.
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In Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh too, the BSP has failed to improve its performance and looks set for a total wipeout. Poll pundits say that the BSP's loss has been the BJP's gain, as the saffron brigades operating at different levels have heavily dented the Mayawati vote bank which was estimated to be between 18 and 21 percent. Reports suggest that the BSP supremo has no option other than supporting the Yogi Adityanath government, in return for a Vice Presidential position, or maybe even as a new tenant of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
"For the BJP, it is more important to consolidate Hindu votes, bring all layers of the Hindu society under a common umbrella, than sharing power with any XYZ," a youth leader of the Vishva Hindu Parishad said. Political commentator Paras Nath Choudhary said that the BJP should definitely try to persuade Mayawati to ally with the NDA and if necessary should offer the Vice Presidential position to her.
"Given the challenges faced by India, it is necessary to strengthen the nationalist forces and bridge the communication gaps among different layers of the society. The need of the hour is to integrate the Dalits with the national mainstream and to work this out there is no harm in bargaining a deal with Mayawati," Choudhary said. (IANS/KB)
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
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#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.
At the heart of Bangalore city, a large 300-acre space of lush greenery and heritage stands as a symbol of the city's past, present, and future. Cubbon Park is every child's favourite park, every Bangalorean's haven of fresh air, and altogether, the city's pride.
It stands testament to the past, in terms of the diversity of flora it houses. Bangalore traffic in the recent past has grown into a menace, but the stretch between MG Road and Cubbon Park is always a pleasurable place to stop and wait for the signal to turn green. The gust of wind that blows here, and the smell of mud, coupled with floral scents instantly transports citizens to Old Bangalore, where the weather was fine, and the trees loomed over roads with thick canopies that did not even allow rainwater to penetrate. Cubbon Park is also a historical site, and one of the few remaining monuments of colonial heritage in Central Bangalore. It houses many statues and among them, the most famous is that of Queen Victoria, which faces the St. Mark's Square.
The stretch outside Cubbon Park is cool and well-shaded from the canopy of trees over it. Image source: wikimedia commons
At present, Cubbon Park is known for the cultural hub that it is. It houses Jawahar Bal Bhavan, which is a large theatre that hosts film festivals through the year. Festivals, poetry open mics, and other such shows are conducted on the lawns every Sunday. A small stream runs through the park, where boat rides are held occasionally when the water level is high enough. There is a children's park on one corner, and a government-maintained aquarium, two-storeys tall, with exotic fish.
The Park has been renamed many times in the past. It was originally named Meade's Park, after Sir John Meade, the acting commissioner of Mysore in 1870. It was later changed to Cubbon Park after Sir Mark Cubbon, who was the longest-serving commissioner of the Mysore state. In 1927, the park was renamed after the Mysore Maharaja Sri Krishna Wodeyar, to celebrate his silver jubilee, since the park was developed during the reign of his ancestors. Even though it is officially named Sri Chamrajendra Park, it is still known as Cubbon Park all over the city. In fact, Bangalore was alluded the sobriquet of 'Garden City' because of the rich botanical diversity of this park.
Art Installation at Cubbon Park Image source: wikimedia commons
In many parts of the country, governments have renamed structures, places, and cities to remove traces of colonialism. But, in a city like Bangalore, there is too much evidence of the British rule. Many of the most prominent attractions of the city are known by their British identities despite the change in name. Even the city's name continues to be Bangalore, despite having been changed to Bengaluru. Last year, the British era and its achievements were celebrated in Cubbon Park when Sir Mark Cubbon's statue was moved from the grounds of the Karnataka High Court and placed in the Park.
Keywords: Cubbon Park, Mark Cubbon, British Colonialism, Cultural hub, Garden City