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‘Ek Koshish Aisi Bhi’ — this is not the title of a film but words that today spell hope for those in distress.’Ek Koshish Aisi Bhi’ is an NGO, run by NGO by , 42, that is helping people in ferrying Covid bodies to the cremation ground and even helping them in performing the last rites. The NGO goes out of its way to help the elderly and destitute.
Versha decided to launch the initiative two years ago when she lost her friend and waited for several hours to get a hearse van for cremation. Versha then decided that she would not let others suffer in a similar manner. She put out a post on Facebook seeking a van on rent for pick-and-drop of bodies.
“A few hours later, I received several phone calls and by the evening I managed to hire a vehicle. Later, my brother Hitesh Verma and I looked for a driver. As soon as we got a driver in our team, I started sitting at RML Hospital with a placard that said ‘Nishulk Shav Vahan’ (free hearse). Initially, people gave confused looks but later some families came to seek help. Some patients had relatives who would accompany me to the cremation ground, while some did not have anyone. We cremated five bodies on the first day and nine on the second day,” she said.
This soon became a full-fledged service for Versha and two members of her team when the pandemic began last year. As soon as she gets a call or a family approaches her, she takes out a van and ferries the body of the deceased Covid patient to the cremation ground for last rites.
At a time when close relatives of Covid patients refrain from touching or cremating the bodies due to the fear of infection, Versha takes up the task and that too, without any charges. Dressed in a PPE kit, Versha and her team members visit the hospital or the house of the deceased and take the body to the cremation ground. They even drop the family back at their house after the last rites are performed.
The funds come from the Divya Sewa Foundation, which they set up to do social work in 2017.” Since our childhood, we have been taught to pay respect to the dead. At a time when people are helpless and dying every hour, this is our way to pay respect to those who are falling prey to a pandemic,” she said.
Though it is the duty of the police to cremate such unclaimed bodies, even they call Versha for help when they are busy. When cremated by police, the bodies are usually taken in an open rickshaw packed in a cloth, but Versha arranges for a vehicle and brings the body to the crematorium with respect and dignity.
Versha said that she has been getting a lot of help and support from the workers at the Baikunth Dham and Gualala Ghat cremation grounds. Her husband, Rakesh is an engineer and he said that he fears for her in the pandemic. Versha, however, is a role model for her teenage daughter, Nandini, who is proud of her mother and wants to grow up to be just like her. (IANS/JC)
Among the Tamil epics written during the Sangam age, only a few survived to this day. Manimegalai is one such. It is written as a sequel to the Sillapadikaram, taking the story forward of Kovalan and Madhavi's daughter, Manimegalai. The Sillapadikaram is about the injustice of the Madurai kingdom in the execution of Kovalan, which turned Kannagi, his wife into a goddess seeking vengeance for her husband's death. Kovalan, before his death, has an affair with a court dancer, Madhavi, and his daughter, Manimegalai, is said to begin a different tradition among the Tamils.
The epic, written by Sattanar, introduces Buddhism to Dravidian culture, something that has been alien to them for years. Manimegalai is the protagonist, who flees constantly from the pursuit of Chola prince Udhayakumara, and tries to lead an ascetic life. Throughout the plot, Buddhist tenets are used to avoid the culmination of a love-story. Manimegalai is believed to be the anti-love story sequel to the Sillapadikaram.
A complete work of Tamil epic written by hand on leaves Image source: wikimedia commons
The Sillapadikaram was written by a Jain monk, Illango Adigal, and Sattanar, uses the sequel to question Jainism. It is almost a political battle between two new religions competing for a place in a predominantly Hindu society. Parts of Manimegalai even go to the extent of opening ridiculing Jain practices and beliefs.
Critics of Tamil literature have stated that while the Tamil epics have great poetic significance, they are inferior to other world epics when it comes to clearly portraying religious affiliations. In fact, they refer to the newer religions with an infant's perspective. Some scholars have found that Sillapadikaram has more ethical substance than its sequel, but in and of itself, despite being written by a Jain monk, reads like Hindu poetry (Subhramanya Aiyar, 1906).
Keywords: Manimegalai, Sillapadikaram, Tamil Epic, Sattanar, Ilango Adigal, Chola kingdom, Sangam Age, Buddhism
The Covid-19 pandemic could act as an inflection point to shift India's growth model from being consumption driven to investments-led. In its Ecoscope report, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said: "With Covid-19 hurting India's 'Household' (HH) and 'Government' sectors adversely, the continuity of strong consumption growth is in question."
"On the contrary, with listed companies' financial positions improving and an uptick in household investments in the Real Estate sector (called physical savings), the narrative of investment-led recovery is gaining momentum." The report prescribed that various economic participants - households, governments, listed companies, and unlisted corporates -- to increase their fixed asset investments in the immediate future based on their financial position.
The Covid-19 pandemic could act as an inflection point to shift India's growth model from being consumption driven to investments-led. | Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash
At present, the listed and unlisted corporate sector accounts for only about half of total investments in India. The 'HH' sector including unincorporated enterprises accounts for 35-40 per cent in India's investments, while the remaining 12-13 per cent is contributed by centre and states governments. Besides, the report cited that demand environment is expected to remain subdued due to weak financial position of 'HH' and government sector.
"Despite household investments picking up strongly in 2HFY21, given that Indian households bore the maximum brunt of Covid-led losses in CY20 (and CY21), we believe household spending would remain subdued over the next few years." It further pointed out that unless 'HH', 'Unlisted Corporate', and government sectors can improve their financial positions -- leading to a demand uptick -- a strong revival in investments seems challenging. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: India, covid, pandemic, growth, household, government, investment
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that next time the Dragon spacecraft will have food warmer and free WiFi. Taking to Twitter, the crew of Inspiration4 shared a checklist of things they have been enjoying while orbiting safely around the Earth.
"Can't believe we're eating cold pizza in space. It's extraordinary!" Inspiration4 tweeted. In response, Musk apologised for the cold food, saying: "Sorry, it was cold! Dragon will have food warmer and free WiFi next time."
Inspiration4 Crew | Wikimedia Commons
After lifting off for space, SpaceX's Inspiration4, the first all-civilian crew, is healthy, happy and doing well in the orbit, the company said recently. The mission lifted off at 8.02 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday (5.30 am IST on Thursday) aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft from the historic Launch Complex 39 in NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It is commanded by tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman who has been joined by medical officer Haley Arceneaux, a pediatric cancer survivor; Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski, an Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer; and Mission Pilot Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, entrepreneur and trained pilot. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Elon Musk, SpaceX, Inspiration4, Dragon, Wifi, food