THE NEW AGE BY MUNEETA ANEJA

The Fearless Voice of this new-age World

muneetaaneja.com brings you the latest news, breaking bulletins & exclusive scoops from India and all across the world on International Affairs, Business, Politics, Ancient India, Fashion & Lifestyle, travelogues, Mental health & body positivity. Founded by Muneeta Aneja, Editor-in-Chief of "The New Age by Muneeta Aneja", to present you with the honest & fearless face of Journalism. Subscribe right now to get the latest updates from our News portal cum fun E-magazine. 


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BREAKING NEWS BULLETINS:

HEADLINES TODAY

 

EARTHQUAKE OF MAGNITUDE 4.8 STRIKES BALI, KILLS THREE.

SOUTH KOREA TOPS THE LIST OF BEST

GLOBAL 5G AVAILABILITY AT 28.1% WHILE THE LATEST GENERATION WIRELESS TECHNOLOGY IS ONLY AVAILABLE LESS THAN ONE-THIRD OF THE TIME IN THE BEST-SERVED STATES OF THE U.S.A -REUTERS

ISLAMIC STATE CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ATTACK ON A MOSQUE IN KANDHAR, AFGHANISTAN THAT KILLED AT LEAST 32 PEOPLE AND INJURED 70 OTHERS ON FRIDAY: AFP

BITCOIN, THE WORLD'S LARGEST CRYPTOCURRENCY, ROSE 4.5% TO ITS

HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE APRIL 17. IT HAS RISEN BY MORE THAN HALF IN VALUE SINCE SEPTEMBER 20 AND IS NOW CLOSE TO AN ALL-TIME HIGH OF $64,895. REUTERS

UK CONSERVATIVE MP DAVID AMESS SUCCUMBS TO HIS INJURIES AS HE WAS STABBED "MULTIPLE TIMES" DURING AN EVENT IN HIS LOCAL CONSTITUENCY IN ESSEX, SOUTHEAST ENGLAND: AFP

INDIA & RUSSIA ARE PARTNERS IN SPACE EXPLORATION THROUGH THE GAGANYAAN PROGRAM. INDIA AND RUSSIA'S ENERGY PARTNERSHIP CAN BRING STABILITY TO THE GLOBAL ENERGY MARKET. MY MINISTER OF

PETROLEUM & NATURAL GAS, HARDEEP PURI IS IN VLADIVOSTOK TO REPRESENT INDIA AT THIS FORUM.


ONE OF INDIA'S BIGGEST SHIPYARDS, MAZAGON DOCKS LIMITED WILL PARTNER WITH ZVEZDA FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMERCIAL SHIPS IN THE WORLD: PRIME MINISTER NARENDRA MODI AT THE PLENARY SESSION OF EASTERN ECONOMIC FORUM (EEF)

THAILAND IS RECYCLING BOTTLES AS PPE KITS FOR PEOPLE AT THE RISK OF CORONAVIRUS INFECTION. MILLIONS OF PLASTIC BOTTLES HAVE BEEN COLLECTED, SHREDDED, AND TURNED INTO THREADS TO BE WEAVED INTO FABRICS EVENTUALLY USED FOR PPE.

NIGERIA, THE WORLD'S 5TH LARGEST COCOA PLANTER IS FACING AN UNPRECEDENTED CRISIS AS CROP OUTPUT IS LIKELY TO FALL BY AT

AT LEAST 12.5% NEXT SEASON DUE TO HEAVY RAINFALL. -REUTERS

Image by Dipanshu Daga Chhattisgarh tourism

TOP 9 TOURISM DESTINATIONS OF CHHATTISGARH:

By Muneeta Aneja

BARSUR: THE ANCIENT VILLAGE OF TEMPLES:

Once considered to be the epicenter of Hindu civilization, Barsur is an ancient village in the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh housing 147 temples and 147 ponds, now left with just 5. The village is considered to be an amalgam of archaeological sites with a rich view of ancient heritage and culture, famous temples and lakes that narrate a tale of its glorious history and inspiring legends. Barsur was ruled by the Gangawanshi rulers in 840 AD. It was during the reign of Dalpat Deo that the capital of their kingdom was shifted from Barsur to Jagdalpur. The ruins of its temples are a testament to its ancient glory, but the village manages to upkeep the 5 famous temples namely, Battisa temple, Twin Ganesha temple, Mama bhanja temple, Chandraditya Temple.


BATTISA TEMPLE:

“As the name “Battisa” connotes, the temple has 32 carved stone pillars lined symmetrically with two garbagrihas and a revolving Shivalinga. It was constructed by the Nagwanshi ruler SomesVaradva for his wife Ganga mahadevi”. According to the inscriptions, the temple dates back to 1030c. Even the experts fail to understand the system working behind the revolving Shivalinga.


TWIN GANESHA TEMPLE:

The Twin Ganesha temple with its exemplary Monolithic artwork is one of the best places to visit in Chhattisgarh. According to historical legends, The city Barsur is named after king Banasur, a great devotee of Lord Shiva. His daughter Usha and his minister’s daughter Chitralekha were best friends and devotees of Lord Ganesha. They asked their fathers to construct a Ganesha temple for them and this is how the Temple with two huge and magnificent Ganesha sculptures came into existence.


While the temple itself is in ruins, two sandstone images of Ganesha expressing different emotions in the form of Maha-Ganapati stay intact. The larger one is approximately 8 feet high and 17 feet wide. The Amrit Kalash is placed on the top of the Mandapa, constructed with stone pillars and boulders. A heap of stone blocks nearby indicate the remnants of an ancient temple dating back to the 11th–12th century.


MAMA BHANJA TEMPLE:

Constructed in the 11th century, this 50-feet high temple renowned locally as the Mama-bhanja-ka-mandir carries a unique resemblance to the temple of Khajuraho with its intricate stone encarvings. According to a popular folklore, the nephew “Bhanja” of the Gangavanshiya ruler constructed this temple. The ruler being envious of the temple’s grandeur fought against his own nephew leading to the ruler being beheaded with his head placed in the temple.

Another popular tale associated with the temple is about the legendary duo of mama and Bhanja sculpturists who accomplished the task of completing the construction of this temple within a day. A stone idol of Mama and Bhanja is placed on the top, but it has no images of deities inside. The locals believe that the mama and bhanja cannot visit the temple together.


SIRPUR: THE HEART AND SOUL OF CHHATTISGARH:

 Renowned in the ancient times as Shripur, the capital of the Panduvanshi dynasty, now housing an entire cluster of monuments consisting of Buddhist, Hindu, Jain temples and monasteries dating back to the 5th century, This ancient village is Sirpur, located in the Mahasamund district on the banks of the river Mahanadi, 78 kms from the capital city of Raipur.


THE AMALGAM OF MYRIAD CULTURES:

The site was visited by Hieun Tsang, the 7th-century Chinese Buddhist pilgrim and has received mention in his memoirs as well. This treasured city is renowned for its famous Lakshmana temple, Rama temple, various Shiva and Vishnu temples, Budhha Viharas, Jain Viharas, monolithic statues of Mahavira and Buddha, a 6th Century underground granary market place and an ancient bathhouse.


This site was brought to international fame by Alexander Cunningham, a colonial British India official, who visited Sirpur in 1872 and stated the magnificence of The Lakshmana temple. The Architectural Marvels of Sirpur are beyond excellence with some of the most finest and intricate work done with wood, brick and stone.


ONE OF THE FINEST ANCIENT BRICK TEMPLES IN INDIA:

The Lakshmana temple dating back to the sixth century dedicated to Lord Vishnu is one of the best known ancient brick temples of India. It was established by Vaasta, mother of MahashivGupta BallaArjun and daughter of King Suryaverman of Magadha in the fond memory of her husband. The 77 feet tall magnificent structure has an intricately sculpted entrance accompanied by a Garba Griha, Ardh Mandapa and Antaral.


CHITRAKOOT: THE NIAGARA FALLS OF INDIA:

The Pristine beauty of Chitrakoot with its magnificent waterfalls of River Indravati make it a tourist delight, especially during monsoons. Renowned as the Niagara falls of India owning to its horseshoe shape, Chitrakoot Waterfalls is located approximately 38 kms from the west of Jagdalpur in the Bastar district of Chhattisgarh. One of the hidden gems of the unexplored and Incredible Bastar, the waterfall is renowned for its changing hues throughout various seasons.


THE WIDEST WATERFALL IN INDIA:

The Indravati river originating from the Kalahandi region of Odisha, falls from a height of 29m, approximately 100 feet high with a width of 1000 feet, making it the widest waterfall in India. Some unique Shiva Lingas and Iron Trishuls can be spotted here accompanied by a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva apart from the naturally carved grottoes named ‘Parvati’ caves.


MYTHOLOGICAL IMPORTANCE OF CHITRAKOOT:

Chitrakoot is considered to be a crucial site of historical and religious importance. According to some mythological legends, Lord Shiva and Parvati arrived here from the Himgiri mountains to meet Lord Rama. Rampal is a place near Jagdalpur, where Ram created a Shivalinga to mark his arrival from North to South India. This was similar to the prayers he performed in Rameshwaram before the battle of Lanka.


DEVBALODA: REVIVING THE LOST ERA OF KALCHURIS:

The Ancient Mahadev temple of Devbaloda in Charoda, Bhilai is an important heritage and pilgrimage site of Chhattisgarh, and an archaeological marvel with its magnificent rock encarvings, narrating the archaic tales of Ancient Indian history and architecture. The never drying Kund and an incomplete structure with no spire or Shikhar have made it unique and different from other temples. Made from Balua stones and dedicated primarily to Lord Shiva, the temple dates back to the era of Kalchuris in the 13th century. The Chah Mhasi temple is encarved with rock-cut figures of deities, elephants, horses, musicians, dancers and similar figureheads. These meticulous details give a fascinating definition to this temple, even from a greater distance.


A TEMPLE WITH NO SHIKHAR:

The east-facing edifice built of sandstone is surviving with a Garba Griha and a pillared “Nauranga Mandapa”. The temple looks a bit incomplete as it lacks a “Shikhar”, which was probably because of its construction in Nagara style. The infamous pond or “kund” beside the temple is renowned for not getting dried even during the harshest summers. Structured with 23 stairs, the kund is rumored to have a secret pathway leading to Aarang, which scientifically explains the revival of water in the kund from a source below the ground which keeps the water level up throughout the year.


The small antechamber comprises of 16 mandapa pillars adorned with the images of Bhairava, Vishnu, Mahishsurmardini, Venu Gopala, musicians, dancers and Keertimukha designs. 3 feet below from the Adhisthana is the place of actual worship: the “garbha griha” approached through a highly ornate door entrance with Ganesha figurines on both sides, where a Shiva linga and statue of Goddess “Parvati “ resides. Worshippers unite in this small room to offer their prayers.


TALA: THE LEGEND OF THE DEVRANI-JETHANI TEMPLE:

Tala, renowned for its picturesque Devrani-Jethani Temple and a unique Rudra Shiva Stone statue is situated at the confluence of the Shivnath and the Maniari River. The site was discovered by J.D.Welger, an assistant to the well-known archaeologist Alexander Cunningham in the year 1873-74. Tala is enriched with magnificent sculptures dating back to the ancient era. One of them is the well-renowned sculpture of Shri Chaturbhuja Kartikeya, the slayer of Tarakasura in the Mayurasana position.


The village houses a temple complex of Devrani and Jethani temples dating back to the 5th or 6th century. The temple was built by two Queens of Rajprashad, the ruler of the Sharbhpururiya dynasty. Carved of red sandstone, the Devrani temple resembles the Guptan archaeological style, whereas the Jethani Temple is constructed in the Kushan style.


The distance between the Devrani-Jethani temple is approximately 15kms. The Jethani Temple is in a dilapidated state. Adorned by a beautiful ‘Chandrashilla’ at the entrance, the temple consists of the Garbagriha, Ardh Mandapa and the Antraal with rock encarvings. A mystically carved statue of Lord Ganesha taking a flight to the moon can be seen here. Idols of Ardhnarishwar, Uma-Mahesh, Nagpurush, Yaksha sculptures and a rare stone statue of Shalbhanjika adorn the temple and narrate the tales of its lost legends and glories.


EXCAVATION OF RUDRA SHIVA STONE STRUCTURE:

The most captivating of all was the excavation of the 2.70 metres high monolithic Rudra Shiva Stone sculpture in the year 1987-88, where the Rudra image highlights the different aspects of Lord Shiva’s personality. The Idol resembles the Raudra personality of Shiva alongside his image of Pashupatinath “The Lord of the Animals”. No piece in archaeological history matches the distinction of this unique idol with various animal figures sculpted as different body parts on the sculpture. The ancient Shiva Idol dates back to the 5th Century.


MAINPAT: THE MINI-TIBET OF INDIA:

Mainpat is a beautiful hill station located on a plateau in the Sarguja District, popular for its deep valleys, breathtaking waterfalls, dense forests and unexplored natural rivulets. It is popularly renowned as the Shimla of Chhattisgarh and Mini Tibet of India owing to its huge Tibetan population and influence over the area. In ancient times, Mainpat was a group of 62 plateaus perched at a height of 3200 feet. The region was home to the Yadavs and various tribes like Manjhi, Manjhwar, Kanwar, Pahadi Korwa, and more recently Tibetans. The Indian Government had settled Tibetan refugees here in 1963 in midst of the Chinese invasion of Tibet.


DHAKPO SHEDUPLING MONASTERY:

The hill station is famous for the Ulta Pani or Bisar Paani which seems to defy the law of gravity and flows upwards. Mainpat houses various monasteries owing to its huge Tibetan population. The Dhakpo Shedupling Monastery is a prominent Gelug monastery with ancient Buddhist relics and artefacts, and is a major attraction for tourists across the globe.


THE SERENE VIEWS OF NATURE:

Another stunning place amidst the panoramic views of the hills is the Fish point named after a distinct species of fish found in the Machali Nadi. Tiger Point is a distinct scenic waterfall merely 7 kilometres away from the village centre. Mercury Falls, the tallest Waterfall in the region with a height of over 400 feet is relatively an unexplored site nestled in the hills of Mainpat. The Parpatiya Sunset Point is known for its unparalleled views of the sunset and The Mehta Point offers a bird’s-eye view of the sprawling landscapes and lush green hills covered with thick clouds. The unique blend of myriad cultures and diverse traditions add a flavour of soulful authenticity to the village.



BHORAMDEO: THE KHAJURAO OF CHHATTISGARH:

Bhoramdeo Temple is a complex of ancient Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva in Bhoramdeo, 18 kms from Kawardha in the Kabirdham district of Chhattisgarh. The temple complex forms a group of four ancient temples Madwa Mahal, Istaliq Temple, Cherki Mahal and Bhoramdeo temple, which bears a striking resemblance to the Konark Sun Temple of Odisha and Khajuraho Temple of Madhya Pradesh. Therefore, it is popularly known as the Khajuraho of Chhattisgarh. It is believed to be constructed by King Ramchandra of the Nag Dynasty in the period of 7th to 11th century A.D.


Resembling the Nagara Style of Architecture with sculpted images depicting the ten holy avatars of Lord Vishnu, the Bhoramdeo temple is a pure piece of art. The temple has an east-facing edifice with an entrance from three sides. The temple is adorned with intricately encarved pillars from all sides, divided into two parts namely Ishtika (brick) the main temple, and the stone-carved area. The main shrine is built upon a five feet high extensive podium including a GarbaGriha, Ardh Mandapa and Antraal.


The Shiva Linga in the temple is intricately carved and the artistic appeal mesemerizes the visitors.

Another temple from the Bhoramdeo temple complex is the Madwa Mahal, which means marriage hall in the local dialect, also known as Dullhadeo. It was built in 1349 during the reign of Ramchandra Deo of the Nagavanshi dynasty and has a unique Shiva Linga erected over 16 pillars.


MADKU DWEEP: THE ISLAND OF ANCIENT RUINS:

A spell bounding island surrounded by splendid waterfalls situated near River Shivnath in the Bilaspur district resembles the shape of a frog and thus gets its name as the Madku dweep. This Island is renowned for its ancient temples of historical and archaeological importance. Ruins of temples, epigraphs, coins, pre-historic stone tools and pottery from ancient times have been unearthed from the site, revealing the significance of highly skilled workmanship in historic times.


STONE INSCRIPTIONS DATING BACK TO THE 3RD CENTURY BC:

Stone inscriptions dating back to the 3rd Century BC have been excavated from the site, with one inscription written in Brahmi script and the other in Shankhalipi. Archaeologists have successfully excavated 19 temples on the island. Eighteen temples are east facing and only one temple in the center faces westwards. The architectural style of these temples along with the sculptures and idols is believed to be similar to that of the Great Kalchuris.

Madku Dweep is popularly known as Kedar Tirth and Harihar Kshetra Kedar Dweep. The island houses two very ancient Shiva temples dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries. Archaeological excavations have revealed ancient idols of the Guptun and Calcutta carvings. The site is home to several ancient and unique idols of Lord Shiva, Ganesha, Shiv-Parvati, Nandi and various other Gods. A seven day mega fair is held here in the month of Paosh Purnima. Many more relics and artefacts are yet to be discovered on this island.


JANJGIR-CHAMPA- THE INCOMPLETE VISHNU TEMPLE:

Located in the heart of Chhattisgarh, Janjgir-Champa is renowned for its finest variety of Kosa silk, natural scenic picnic spots, Damau Dhara waterfall and the famous Vishnu temple. The District Head Quarter Janjgir is the city of Maharaja Jajawalya Dev of the Kalchuri Dynasty. The Vishnu temple highlights the golden past of this district. It was built by the kings of Hayhay Vansh, near Bhima Talab of purani Basti of Janjgir in the 12th Century. The temple complex was to be constructed in two parts, but these parts were not assembled in time resulting in the temple construction staying incomplete. The temple is also called Nakata Mandir by the locals.


THE TALE OF COMPETING KINGS:

The Vishnu temple is an ancient artistic sample of the Vaishnav community surrounded by several myths and legends. One of them states that it was built as a competition between the kings about which temple between Shivrinarayana and Janjgir would be constructed first, and Lord Vishnu would himself reside in that one. As the other temple was completed first, the construction of Janjgir’s Vishnu temple was left incomplete.


BHEEM AND A BROKEN ELEPHANT:

Another legend involves Bheem from the epic of Mahabharata when he splits an elephant into two parts, for losing his tools to construct the temple into water. A statue of a broken elephant can be still witnessed lying on the premises of the temple. Devotees from all across the country visit the temple and are left intrigued by the legends and mysteries surrounding the temple complex.

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Image by Emily Underworld

THE NEXT WORLD WAR:

A NEW EMERGING CRISIS: BY MUNEETA ANEJA

In a world full of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, cyber warfare, micro-chips, geopolitical interactions and diplomatic ties, Have you ever visualised how the Next World war would shape up and What would it be like? A battle of leading nations for the conquest of greater territories or a war of clashing civilizations of First world or second world countries fighting for dominance.

 

A religion or race-based war or a war based on distinct ideologies of liberalism, socialism or neo-liberalism? A war waged for greater economic interests or a war of communal tensions or political intentions? Would the east fight the west or the north fight the south, or it would be an entirely different war of self-doubt?

 

 

DEATHS BY SUICIDE > DEATHS BY WAR

 

Let me tell you, the upcoming crisis is unprecedented, and a little different too. The next world war would be a global war against the common enemy of the rising mental health crisis. In the present day scenario, the death ratio of people losing their lives by committing suicide is much higher than people losing their lives due to war or famine. This is not a war of allied nations marching against a different set of nations, but this is a united fight of all the nations cooperating for a shared goal of protecting the mental health of their citizens and making it much more accessible. This is something that needs to be addressed with utmost attention, caution and care. 

 

With alarming suicide rates, rising anxiety levels, multiple workplace burnouts, depressive disorders, reports of substance abuse or the disturbing scenes of the post-pandemic world, we can predict the future we are stepping into. 

 

 

ONE SUICIDE IN EVERY 40 SECONDS:

 

The world is now heading towards a new war zone: the war of your body against your mind. According to an estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health disorders constitute approximately 15% of the total disease conditions across the globe. A different report by WHO in the year 2019 states that more than 7 lakh people commit suicide every year, which accounts for one suicide every 40 seconds. Research suggests that there are approximately 20 others attempting suicide for every adult who commits suicide. 

 

Depression has emerged as a global crisis especially in the post-pandemic world with the death of millions leaving fragmented families behind, loss of jobs, economic downfall, financial dependency and the rise of stigmas and stereotypes surrounding Covid-19. In the pre-covid era, more than 264 million people were affected by one or the other form of depression, the number would have drastically grown by now. 

 

 

THE RELIGION & NATIONALITY OF MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS?

 

We have to acknowledge the fact that people of various nationalities irrespective of their cultural and linguistic differences have one thing in common and that is the shared concern of mental health issues we all face. As a human, everyone gets depressed, anxious, traumatized, stressed at one or the other point of their life and the same goes on for a completely different person sitting in a different nation who believes in a different faith or a different ideology. The conclusion is that mental health disorders have no distinct religion, caste, nationality or political orientation, and they don't see what a person looks or feels like, or whether he is rich or poor, or whether he is Hindu, Muslim, Christian or Jew. They affect everyone irrespective of anything. 

 

 

MENTAL HEALTH AMID COVID-19:

 

As Covid-19 struck the world with feelings of fear and uncertainty, none of us ever imagined that the entire spectrum of our lives can be transformed within just two years. Numerous Industries have shut down, millions have lost their jobs, companies are relocating, people are migrating to and fro in search of opportunities, they are either unemployed, seasonally employed or underemployed, markets have incurred a huge loss, and the demand chain has been severely disrupted and all of this has further lead to problems rising at the personal level. People are facing marital issues or they are left traumatized after the sudden, untimely and unexpected death of their loved ones. This has further contributed to rising anxiety levels. 

 

 

THE IMPACT OF WAR ON MENTAL HEALTH:

 

The prevalence of anxiety disorders across the world varies from 2.5 to 7% from nation to nation. By 2017, approximately 284 million people experienced some sort of anxiety disorder, making it the most prevalent mental health disorder. With the rise of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the shaky fate of refugees, we can be pretty sure about the rising numbers of anxiety disorders and Post-traumatic stress disorder cases spurting among the masses, who face the wrath of watching barbarous scenes every next day. Children who lost their families will grow up with mental health disorders in extreme conditions, and that is the harsh reality for any country going through any kind of war whatsoever. 

 

 

THE INCREASING PRESSURE OF SOCIAL MEDIA EXPECTATIONS:

 

With increasing work pressure, 

technological innovations, the rise of social media expectations, we somehow know the world we are stepping into is not so gloomy. We are burdened with the standards of Society or the overpowering voice of our inner critic which constantly evaluates our self-worth. We work extra hours to earn extra cash to look extra good or eat extra delicious food to manage an extraordinary living to get extra attention on social media. 

 

 

CASE STUDY- INDIA'S MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS:

 

India suffers from a deep mental health crisis, as the cases remain underreported due to societal pressures, stigmas and stereotypes revolving around mental health issues. There's a general lack of awareness and sensitivity among the masses.

WHO estimates the economic loss to India on account of mental health disorders to be US$ 1.03 trillion. WHO has labelled India as the world’s most depressed country followed by China and U.S.A. With reference to a study, one in seven people from India have suffered from mental illnesses ranging from depression, anxiety to severe conditions such as schizophrenia 

between 1990 to 2017.

 

 

17% OF GLOBAL SUICIDE DEATHS FROM INDIA:

 

According to NCRB, India's suicide mortality rate stood the highest in the world with an average of 381 suicides reported daily in 2019, with an increase of 3.4% suicide deaths as compared in 2018. Approximately 1,35,000 people commit suicide every year and India alone contributes for 17% of the total deaths caused by suicide across the world. 

 

 

13% OF INDIANS SUFFER FROM SOME SORT OF MENTAL HEALTH DISORDER:

 

According to a survey conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in 2015-2016, more than 100 million Indians, accounting for 13% of the Indian population, suffer from some sort of mental health illness, including 45.7 million suffering from depressive disorders and 49 million from anxiety disorders, with approximately 10% of Indians requiring urgent attention.

 

 

A MENTAL HEALTH EPIDEMIC? 

 

In the year 2017, the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind asserted that India was “facing a possible mental health epidemic”. The National Mental Health Survey (NMHS), 2015-16 found that nearly 80% of those suffering from mental health disorders did not receive treatment for over a year. This survey also identified large treatment gaps in mental healthcare, ranging from 28% to 83% across different mental disorders (National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS), 2016). 

 

 

THE ECONOMIC ANGLE:

 

Mental health disorders directly affect our productivity thus deeply hampering our performance at work. If you look at the bigger picture, this vicious cycle indirectly affects the economy as well. The NMHS (2015-16) affirmed that the median out-of-pocket expenditure by families on treatment and travel to access care was Rs. 1,000-1,500 per month. Discussions with patients further stated that the expenditure incurred on treatment of these mental health disorders often drove families to economic hardship. These ailments disproportionately affect households with lower income, less education, and lower employment, and these vulnerable groups face extreme financial limitations due to their socio-economic conditions and lack of accessibility and availability of resources. 

 

 

WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?

 

DOCTOR <<< PATIENT RATIO?

 

According to WHO, there were 0·301 psychiatrists and 0·047 psychologists for every 100,000 patients suffering from a mental health disorder in India in 2011. This doctor to patient ratio is truly worrisome and aggravates the scale of the problem. What is the cause behind Indian doctors not opting for psychiatry or the young generation not opting for the field of psychology much? Do they really see a bright future in this? Is it due to the lack of mental health awareness in India or the age-old stereotype of "Depression waghera kuch nahi hota". 

 

 

LEARNING FROM JAPAN'S MENTAL HEALTH MODEL:

 

The mental health situation in India demands active policy interventions and resource allocation by the government at the Central and State level. The nation needs to learn from Japan's Mental Health Awareness model where "Tetsushi Sakamoto" was appointed as the Minister of Loneliness" to deal with the causes of the rising suicide rate and curbing measures for reducing loneliness and social isolation among the individuals. This is how seriously they take their mental health.


Mental health issues should be addressed at a decentralised level according to the regional ratio of suicide rates and reported or underreported mental health disorders. Helpline numbers should be started for general counselling for students facing anxiety, adults facing workplace burnout and marital issues and they should be directed in the right manner to seek professional help. 

 

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTAL HEALTH SHOULD BE TAUGHT IN SCHOOLS:

 

To reduce the stigma revolving around mental health issues, we need measures to train and sensitize the community and society. We need to work on the core ideology which starts developing from a young age at the school level only. Schools and colleges should hold expert discussions on various kinds of mental health disorders, how to deal with pressure and exam stress and how to set realistic goals in life. Apart from this, Moral education should be inoculated as a mandatory part of the syllabus so that our children grow out to be responsible citizens with a mutual feeling of unity and tolerance towards people of different sections of the Society. By enhancing the roots of our education, we can easily de fuel the fire of hatred and ignorance.

 

 

MENTAL HEALTH TO BE CONSIDERED AS IMPORTANT AS PHYSICAL HEALTH:

 

People experiencing mental health problems should get the same access to safe and effective health care as those with physical health problems. Additionally, mental illness must mandatorily be put under the ambit of life insurance. This will allow people to see mental illness with the same perspective as they use for physical diseases.

Mental health should be made accessible and feasible and it should be the mutual aim of Central and State government, NGO's, media and corporations to create awareness regarding mental health among the masses.

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THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT EXPLAINED & SIMPLIFIED:

Breaking down the events in a chronological manner: By Muneeta Aneja

For the three major religions of this world, Jerusalem is no less than a divine paradise, the centre of this world. The footprints of some of the greatest souls to ever exist on the earth's surface are still imprinted on the soil of this holy land: A place so rich with the historic tales of clashing civilizations and empires, myriad diversity of culture and heritage, and the undefeated pride of the faith and their believers.

THE CITY OF MANY NAMES: BUT NO SOLE PROPRIETOR:

Jerusalem is a living paradox of contradictions, where people of various faiths co-exist but still don't co-exist together, transforming itself into a battlefield amongst the Abrahamic religions. This is the city of many names: Cannan, Judah, Judaea, Isreal, Palestine, the Holy land to Christians, the Promised land to Jews, but no sole proprietor.

UNVEILING THE ANCIENT HISTORY:

WHY IS JERUSALEM CONSIDERED SACRED BY THESE RELIGIONS?

For Jews, Jerusalem is the sacred place where their grand temples stood before being destroyed by the wrath of up roaring empires. It is the only region on earth, they can truly call their own. For Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque stands gloriously amid the centre of this earth: their third most religious shrine, which is linked in the Quran to the tale of the night journey of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem. For Christians, it is the sacred place of the birth and crucifixion of their Central Figure, Jesus Christ.

THE CITY'S EARLIEST MENTION  IN THE BIBLE:

Abraham is the common founding father of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. According to Genesis, the first book of the Bible, Abraham was the founding patriarch of the Hebrews, who is depicted travelling from Ur (in present-day Iraq) to settle in Hebron. He was welcomed by Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem in the name of El-Elyon, the Highest God. This is the city's earliest mention in the Bible, which suggests that Jerusalem was already a Canaanite shrine ruled by priest-kings, during that era.

THE LAND OF THE CLASHING CIVILIZATIONS:

THE FIRST TEMPLE:

In 1000 BCE, King Saul established the Israelite monarchy which continued under the reign of King David and his son Solomon, who built the first Jewish temple in Jerusalem. This historical legacy became part of the Jewish claim to the land of Israel. The entire Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon 2500 years ago. This small piece of land would become the home of clashing civilizations and empires, and it would be conquered and ruled by the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Egyptians, Fatimids, Seljuks, Crusaders, Mamluks and Ottomans, who'd call the region Palestine.

THE BIRTH OF JESUS CHRIST:

King Herod built a grand Jewish temple, destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, amid the reign of the Herodian Kingdom. He was a first-century Jewish preacher, religious leader, and the central figure of Christianity, the world's largest religion.

Now, when you've understood the ancient religioius basics, lets fast forward to 1900 years

  • THE BRITISH ROLE: BALFOUR DECLARATION:

  • THE EMERGENCE OF ZIONISM:

By the 1880s a vast majority of Jews started emigrating back to the promised land in Ottoman-controlled Palestine, due to the oppression they were facing in Europe. By 1914, there were more than 75,000 Jews in the region. After World War 1, Great Britain took control of Modern Day Israel, Palestine and Jordan from the Ottoman Empire. In 1922, the League of Nations approved a British declaration that promised a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, known as the Balfour declaration.

The statement came in the form of a letter from Britain’s then-foreign secretary, Arthur Balfour, addressed to Lionel Walter Rothschild, a figurehead of the British Jewish community. It increased the support for Zionism worldwide: the right of Jews to have their own homeland and became a crucial component of the British Mandate for Palestine. Therefore, this controversial declaration is
considered a major cause of the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

THE DECLARATION OF CONTROVERSIES & VAGUE PROMISES:

THE MAJOR CAUSE BEHIND THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT:

"If you see two fish fighting in the water you can be sure an English man passed by 5 minutes ago."

When the declaration was released, Britain had already promised the Arabs freedom from the Ottoman Empire in the 1915 Hussein-McMahon correspondence. On the other hand, they also promised the French, in a separate treaty of the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement, that the majority of Palestine would be under international administration, while the rest of the region would be split between the two colonial powers post-war.


The declaration also asserted the term "national home" for the Jewish people, and not the word "state”, which left a lot of questions unanswered for the rest of the Israeli-Palestinian life.

WORLD WAR II & THE JEWISH HOLOCAUST:

During the British Mandate of Palestine from 1922 to 1947, a large number of Jewish emigrants, migrated to Palestine, primarily from Eastern Europe. The numbers kept pouring post the 1930's, as millions of Jews fled the Nazi persecution to seek a homeland amid the brutal holocaust of World war II, which led to the execution of more than 6 million Jews and millions being displaced.

THE UN PARTITION PLAN:-

In 1947, the United Nations decided to divide Palestine into a separate Jewish state of Israel and the Arab State of Palestine with Jerusalem becoming an international city. Israel accepted the partition pact and borders were chalked out for both states, but many Arab residents thought that the partition was favouring Jews in a biased manner and thus they rejected the plan.

ISRAEL ATTAINS STATEHOOD:

On May 14,1948, the State of Israel was established with David Ben Gurion as its Prime Minister. Soon after, the Arab League, a group of surrounding Arab countries (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen) rejected the partition and attacked. Israel fought back and after 9 months of conflict, their armed forces occupied a majority of the land designated to become the Arab State of Palestine. Egypt occupied the Gaza Strip and Transjordan took control of the West Bank. The original plan for a Palestinian state was scrapped and tossed off.

THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE OR THE CATASTROPHE?

This historic event marked a victory for many Jews and is remembered as the War of Independence in Hebrew but approximately 7,20,000 Palestinians fled or were forced out of their homes in what they call Al-Nakba, or the "Catastrophe". Most of them took refuge in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank.

THE SIX-DAY WAR:

The Six-Day war was the third major Arab-Israeli war, that ignited on June 5, 1967, and reached its climax on June 10, the same year. This short term war transformed geographical borders and political fortunes in the Middle East. For Israelites, the 1967 victory symbolized an expanded country that included East Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, and the Sinai Peninsula. But for Palestinians, it meant occupation and more displacement.

The war caused widespread displacements with over a million refugees from West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights being forced to flee. Up till now, one of the major causes of discord among Israel and Palestine is the return and rehabilitation of families which fled, a demand that Israel refuses to consider and Palestine refuses to withdraw.

HANDING OVER GAZA STRIP & THE ARRIVAL OF HAMAS:

Israel handed over the governmental control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority in 1993 and removed its soldiers and settlers by 2005. This whole process culminated in the Palestinian Authority calling an election in 2006. In 2006, a militant Sunni Islamist group Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections.

Hamas won a parliamentary majority because the Palestinians were fed up with the corrupt practices of the rival Fatah party.  The group has also faced resistance, and its popularity has declined with the never-ending bloodshed that Gazans had to face.

CHALLENGES TO PEACE:

There are many challenges in achieving Israel and Palestine peace, with the major concern being the unclear status of Jerusalem. Israel claims the whole of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Secondly,  the continuous increase in
Jewish Settlements across the Palestinian region remains a primary cause of dispute. The right of refugees is hard to define. Above all, Extremists from both ends play their role with hatred evoking speeches from time to time.

THE WAR EXCEEDING CENTURIES:

The borders of Israel are clearly defined but the borders of Palestine are hard to determine. Palestine includes the West Bank & Gaza Strip, however, control of this region is complex and constantly evolving. Palestine's history is drenched in bloodshed, displacement and instability. The Israel-Palestine Conflict has lasted for more than a century now and seems to be nowhere near a solution. Tensions remain escalated between Israel and Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank.

In 2007, Hamas asserted for the creation of a Palestine state using 1967 borders, but it refused to formally recognise Israel as a state, and therefore the plan was not accepted by the Israelites. At present, Palestine continues to fight for its statehood, with Israelites continuously proceeding to create settlements in the West Bank.

BROTHERS OF THE SAME SOIL:
Jerusalem is not just the saga of revolts and conspiracies, but it is the story of the restoration of faith. In the present Day world, It is the story of the Jews and the Palestinians who have suffered each other's wrath equally. The religions fight for their respective holy lands, the extremists try to ignite the fire, the political forces play their games, but the heart and soul of the people residing in this region still remains the same.

The two groups can continue to blame each other for life, just like any other state amidst border tensions would, but the problem stays mutual and has to be handled with tact, rather than religious or political extremism. In the end, they are brothers of the same soil. A two state solution remains the best future prospect for peace, but only time will reveal when that happens.

 
Image by Sylwia Bartyzel

WHERE IS OUR PROMISED LAND?

Special editorial by Muneeta Aneja

Do you know from where does the word politician come from? The first records of the word politician arrive from the late 15th century, derived from the Greek word polītikós, which means “civil” and is related to the Greek polī́t(ēs), “citizen.” How come some of the most uncivil people on this earth or the unethical people who use the most uncivil methods on this planet for their unclad game of superiority and power, became politicians- the civil ones? Such an irony right! 

India as one of the fastest developing nations, with myriad hues of diversity has always left its impression of celebrated secularity across the globe.

My heart breaks into tiny little pieces when I witness the soul of my country turning into ashes within seconds with the mere politics of divide and rule for a larger vote bank.  


PROVOCATIVE SPEECHES > STRONG DEVELOPMENT ORIENTED ELECTION MANIFESTO:

First of all, who gave any one political party, entity or individual- a monopoly over the country's religious sentiments. And it's not just one party, we have a multi-party system in India, some strong ones at the centre and some regional parties with a stronghold in their respective states. Instead of contesting elections with a strong election manifesto of development with improved infrastructure, increasing happiness index, pure water supply, the best of health and educational facilities, the majority of their campaigning revolves around making high-end provocative speeches (Thanks to their PR team) to evoke socio-religious sentiments among the masses. 


Honestly speaking, Indians are not as rational compared to their western counterparts in terms of decision making. They are emotional and aggressive and it's quite easy to win them over few words that ignite their fuel and boil their blood. With the changing political scenario in India, I have observed one thing clearly- neither the left is right, nor the right is right & I have no idea where the centre is!


Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal and Delhi present us with mere examples of political unrest, vandalism, leaked phone taps, mind-boggling conspiracies, MLA's at sale, death threats, communal hatred, use of derogatory language amid campaigning, deployment of national investigative agencies to fulfil the party's agenda.  Which political party is concerned about real issues like unemployment, poverty or Covid-19 cases spiking up in the nation? They are simply concerned about winning elections, even if it demands them to climb up and stand on the pile of mounted dead bodies. 


WATCHING A THRILLER SOAP OPERA?


What are we as the citizens of India accomplishing here? Watching a high-end soap opera with dramatic ups and downs! When we say India: Bharat: Hindustan- what do we mean?

We mean the people of this nation, who are guaranteed an equal status in the society and a set of fundamental rights by the Indian constitution. Gandhi Jee fought till his last breath, to bridge the differences between Hindu and Muslims. We call him the father of the nation, watch his face in every currency we hold and still tend to forget the principles he preached throughout his life. 


THE OLD BENGAL WHICH STARTED THE WAVES OF CONTEMPORARY CHANGE:


Bengal: a state which presents us with an image of some revolutionary minds like Aurobindo Ghosh, the brilliant Subhash Chandra Bose, the father of Indian Renaissance- Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the Nobel Laureate in Literature himself- Rabindranath Tagore and the infinite number of journalists and editors who published their articles from Bengal. How can we witness Bengal in such a broken state right now? Let me remind you again, freedom fighters have died and laid down their lives to endow us with the gift of an Independent India. Do you have any idea, to what extent are we hurting the departed souls by indulging in this bloodshed for petty politics and communal riots? 


YOU CALL THIS DEMOCRACY?


Speaking about a very unfortunate incident that took place in Nimta, where an 84-year-old woman finally succumbed to her injuries on Monday. Nimta BJP leader Gopal Majumdar’s mother, Shova Rani Majumdar, died at home after she was treated at a nursing home for 23 days following the February 27 assault. 


Concerning Gopal’s complaint, police registered an FIR against five people and arrested them, while submitting a charge sheet to the Barrackpore court on March 4th. Gopal alleges that the five broke into their home on February 27th and frightened him because he was “working for BJP” when Shova Rani protested against it, she was brutally assaulted. This was one side of the story. 


Now the second side led by the  Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy refused any kind of party link with the incident. He affirmed that “It was a mere trouble with neighbours, which is now being politicised,”. North Dum Dum (Town) Trinamool Congress president Bidhan Biswas, also assured that the five were not linked to “Trinamool”.


This is not the first political protest, communal riot or a serious case of vandalization in West Bengal. It's a routine now. The aggressive workers of both the political parties make sure to transform the city of Joy into a living hell for the people of the state. 


A TRIP TO THE MOON, ONLY IF WE VOTE FOR THE DUSTBIN:


Switching to a light-hearted topic, to ensure that my audience stays sane while reading this article. Let's visit Tamil Nadu for a while. Aah, I can see those long coconut trees and feel the aroma of filtered coffee served in a stainless steel glass. Wonderful right? Do you know what will make this even more wonderful? 


An Independent candidate, "Thulam Saravanan" belonging to the Madurai South constituency has promised a Moon trip, helicopters, robots to take care of household chores, infinite gold and a car if he gets elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.

And you know what the irony is, he is contesting on the symbol of a Dustbin. Interestingly, India has become a hometown for ironies like this. My vote goes to this man, and if he doesn't fulfil his promises after getting elected, We all know, what to do with the dustbin!


MONEY & MUSCLE POWER & FREEBIES PLEASE:-


This is not the first time that money and muscle power have assumed a more significant role than development plans in India. Freebies are a commonly practised ritual here during election campaigning. So far, free liquor stays the best freebie followed by hard cash and sometimes blankets and shawls, only if the Indian media channels are called by the PR team, to witness, capture and publicise a once in a lifetime scene. I have no idea if they take those blankets back, anyways I won't give mine.


38 FARMERS COMMIT SUICIDE EVERY DAY. NOT AN ISSUE? 


Now let's get back to where my heart is: Our Indian farmers work recklessly in their fields throughout harsh conditions to ensure that no one in this nation sleeps empty stomach. I am not against the laws, but I am against the ignorance and apathy, that the farmers have been facing for the past 4 months at the national capital's Singhu and Tikri Border. More than 250 farmers have lost their lives while protesting for the repeal of the three new agricultural laws passed by the Centre. 


Over 3.6 lakh Indian farmers have committed suicide since 1995 concerning the wretched state of Indian agriculture. This estimates an average of 38 farmer suicides every single day for the last 26 years! But this is India, we don't talk about the 38 farmers dying every day or the martyred soldiers. No, we don't talk about that and even if we do, it's merely for half an hour. 


Why don't we write #Justicefor38farmersdying every day or #RIP38farmerslosinglives? Why are we not bringing this twitter trend? Why are we not posting the pictures of the martyred soldiers and armed forces who gave up their life for us? What kind of hypocrisy are we practising over here?


How many of you have contributed to the families of the martyred CRPF jawans who lost their lives in the Pulgama Attack? How many of you have started boycotting Journalists like Arnab Goswami who use words like "We won like crazy this time" and "Good for the Big man" or you still want to hear those words: The Nation Wants To Know! With all due respect sir, THE NATION ALREADY KNOWS.


MAHA-KHICHRI BEYOND EVERYONE'S IMAGINATION:-


For Maharashtra, things have got too fishy and messy as if the spurting Covid-19 stats were not enough. It all started with two vehicles, a Scorpio in which explosives were placed and an Innova tailing it, bearing fake number plates found near the industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence and the subsequent murder of businessman Mansukh Hiran.


The Centre immediately deployed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe into the matter. Mumbai Police officer Sachin Vaze was taken into custody by the NIA on March 13th. After much probing of the Ambani Bomb Scare case, the NIA has revealed that the arrested Mumbai cop Sachin Vaze's personal driver drove the explosives-laden Scorpio and parked it outside 'Antilia' on February 25.


The NIA officials affirmed that to destroy the shreds of evidence, two DVRs from police headquarters and Saket society were destroyed respectively. Not just this bitter centre and state feud is distracting the government from the core issues but is also destroying the autonomous structure of federalism by using the central Investigative agencies now and then.


Furthermore, a shocking revelation was made by the former Mumbai Police Chief Parambir Singh’s petition, demanding an investigation against Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh for allegedly demanding collection of 100 crore rupees as extortion money. Concerning the matter, Maharashtra Government has appointed Retd. Justice Kailash Uttamchand Chandiwal to look into these allegations. The investigation will confirm if the purported conversations between the former top cop and ACP Sanjay Patil and suspended police officer Sachin Vaze are true or not.



DIVIDE AND CONQUER:


Where are the political leaders who make false promises to us before getting elected & then never place their feet on the ground? Where is our

promised land? Is India an idealized nation any more or our leaders are playing the same divide & rule policy with us as the colonials did. I leave it up to you to decide.

 
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ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

A fashion label that promotes Body Positivity: By Muneeta Aneja

In the words of Hans F Hansen, 

“It takes nothing to join the crowd, but it takes everything to stand alone."


Standing true to this quote, a young girl from North India "Anushka Dubey" created her own path. In her interaction with the New Age, Anushka affirmed that her father's a lawyer and her mother has been a school principal, and she belongs to an academic family packed with Engineers and Professors. But the heart wants what it wants and Anushka decided to pursue something which no one thought she ever would. She went for her biggest passion and explored the deepest edges of her creativity. 

 

She completed her graduation from the Vogue Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore and served as an Assistant Fashion Designer at a boutique, which gave her the boost and the experience she needed. Anushka left the job to pursue her master's degree, and by the year 2020, she completed her post-graduation. 

 

STYLING CELEBRITIES:

 

Being a spontaneous learner, she quickly discovered the various facets of art and fashion and wanted to take her designing game to a next level. She took up various online internships and assisted a well-renowned stylist. She has styled celebrities like Singer Sonu Kakkar, Mrunal Panchal, Rahul Vaidya and many more. But it's extremely hard for a  person with creativity to lock their passion with a different banner for life. Anushka wanted something authentic, something real and something that she could call her own.

 

ESTABLISHING HER OWN LABEL:

 

Well, destiny hears you right when you have the Will to move ahead and the Faith to march on. While pursuing her internships and styling for various labels, she realised that her designs do not require the validation and mark of a well-established label, her talent needs her own mark: her very own fashion label. And that's the journey of a young girl blossoming into a boss lady with the confidence that had the power to restart and rebuild everything from the scratch, and the faith to move mountains. 

 

OPTIMAL UTILIZATION OF RESOURCES IN HANDS:

 

Anushka said she knew this was the right time to start something new and believe in the magic of new beginnings. By February 2021, she created her own designer label "Labelanushkanil". 

being nervous and excited at the same time. This was a new venture and there was no turning back. Being realistic, she took smaller steps while utilising the resources she had in her hands, clicking pictures from the phone, treating her team as a bunch of associates and discussing the minute details of her designs with the embroiders.

 

DON'T DRESS UP ACCORDING TO SOCIETAL NORMS:

 

She believes that the journey is long and there's still a lot left to be explored. Within such a short span, her label gained the credibility of clients and she got the chance to style wonderful people. With her fashion label, she wants to promote the idea of self-love and body positivity. She tells her clients to love themselves just the way they are and not to pick clothes according to societal standards of dressing in different body types. We provide them with the best of what suits them the most.

 

CUSTOMISATION IS THE KEY:

 

While keeping up with the new-age fashion trends, Anushka has still kept some room open for customization according to customers needs and satisfaction. They can get anything customized according to their personal ideas and interests. She believes in delivering the best designs with unique colour palettes. Anushka said that it's very important to understand your clients and their needs and know exactly what they want.

 

EXPANDING THE MEN'S FASHION SECTION:

 

Her next step is to expand the men's fashion section and she wants the world to know, that Men’s clothing includes more than just a pair of shirts and trousers. Anushka wants everyone to believe in the power of achieving what they can, no matter wherever they are with whatever they have. 

Read more
 
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IS ONLINE THRIFTING THE NEW-AGE SHOPPING TREND AMONG MILLENIALS?

TOP 10 THRIFT STORES IN INDIA (PART-I) -BY MUNEETA ANEJA

Say Hello to thrifts & save money:

We all spend hundreds and thousands of bucks to look good, feel good and buy the best stuff out there, which doesn't hurt our pockets. Sometimes, we buy stuff which just hangs in there in our wardrobe. You just buy it and then you don't feel like wearing it again, maybe due to size issues or how that particular fabric looks on you! How many times have bibliophiles & book fanatics wondered that people should sell the new best sellers asap, as they have already finished the books they bought online and they are out of cash now to buy the new ones? Okay, that statement has nothing to do with me! So, why not indulge in a book swap or thrift the books, clothes, shoes, bags you don't find a purpose with. Maybe someone else needs it more than you.



REUSE AND RECYCLE:

I am hunting for sustainable options these days, whether it be about recycling my home decor stuff, or adding some glamour to my clothes and reusing them or getting rid of plastic as much as I can by switching to wooden combs, toothbrush, cloth and jute bags, ceramic, porcelain or glass for decoration purposes. Or be it about thrift-shopping. I have got no shame in accepting, that I love thrift shopping and why can't you buy good quality clothes, jewellery, hats, books, shoes without even spending 30 to 40% of its actual rate. In the 21st century, which is presently Covid-19 exposed and lockdown-oriented and we don't get to leave our houses too often. Does the idea of luxury dry cleaned clothes dropping by at your doorstep, seems like the wrong one?



WHAT IS THRIFT AND WHY A THRIFT STORE?

Thrift can be defined as the quality of using money and resources carefully and not wastefully. I was amazed to glimpse such wonderful dresses from branded stores in my size available with these peeps, trying their best to ensure that we don't end up in a garbage bag piled up with all the clothes, shoes and bags we dump annually, take it for granted or simply don't wear.

Either you give it to someone who's needy or if you have a lot of them, and you have the charisma to pull off a virtual thrift store and manage a digital empire, then start taking notes already.



BENEFITS OF THRIFT SHOPPING!

The first benefit is, I am adding a new luxury piece to my wardrobe or a new book to my bookshelf and the second benefit is, I am saving lots of money. So instead of buying just one top with the same amount, I can buy three-four tops easily in that exact amount. Duh, I'll change my outfit every 6 hours, just to show the world- I have such a glorious wardrobe. Thirdly, by getting something from thrift stores, you are promoting the concept of environmental recycling, so think about that!

TOP 10 INDIAN THRIFT STORES-PART I 

Personally curated list by the fashion editorial team of The New Age by Muneeta Aneja:-

Our fashion team from The New Age by Muneeta Aneja has handpicked 10 of the best thrift stores with a great variety of deals, discounts, budget-friendly prices, diversity of collection and clearances and you should check out their insta stores and pamper yourself with lots of gifts. We also had a candid discussion with these thrift shop owners and tried to take their perspective on the entire thrifting scenario in India and its scope in future.

SHOP: @THE.STYLE.LOFT


While Interacting with Akitoli and Tokaholi: the owners of The Style Loft, revealed that they always wanted to start a business, and with the influx of thrift culture at present, they decided to go with the flow. As sustainable fashion is what we believe in, so our ideas revolve around the same concept. She further said that All the pieces in our store are handpicked with quality as a priority so that our customers receive 100% satisfaction. You can glimpse myriad dresses, breathtaking one-pieces and outfits in their virtual store.

While maintaining an online store, they've tried their best to be responsive, quick and spontaneous with answers at any hour of the day. Talking about the Covid-19 situation, she said that with movement restrictions and isolation from social life, an online store that offers home delivery and hygienic processing, would have been appealing, convenient and hassle-free. Atikoli further said that thrift stores have opened an easy gateway for people to make money and engage in mutual benefits with reasonable prices for the other party too. Amidst Covid-19 restrictions, the safest and the cheapest way to stay in vogue via thrift shopping has become the new-age trend.

SHOP- THRIFTYNESS


Two brilliant girls run this insta store, one of them is a textile designer and another one is a digital marketing expert "What a combo right". The designer elaborated on the stage of rapidly increasing pollution due to the fashion industry. At first, they were obsessed with thrift shopping and therefore decided to start their thrift store by selling their pre-loved outfits.

Delivering Fashion with hygiene is our foremost responsibility. We wash all the products with the utmost care, iron them and maintain them in the best way possible. We also drop by a small handwritten thank you note to our customers, to make them feel extra special. We look out for trending themes and festivals and design our packages accordingly. For eg:- During Christmas, we decorated all our packages with a handmade bow and leaves.

In case, someone wants to gift something special to their loved ones, we draw something interesting on the package or put stickers on it with a note of what the sender wants to convey. We are strictly keeping up with the sustainable packaging norms and use available items at home like newspaper, cardboards, old notebook covers for packaging.

The aesthetic of our thrift store is predominantly retro and vintage shirts (unisex), we stock on winter wear and rare to find pieces that are not easily available in the market. As all the shopping complex, malls and stores were shut down amid lockdown, people started investing most of their time online and became fond of thrift stores as it was a one-stop destination to buy modern, rare and vintage clothing at such amazing prices. With people becoming more aware of how their choices will affect and shape the environment, the younger generation is getting inclined towards thrifting and that's where we can witness a bright future for thrifts in India.

SHOP-  THEQUIRKYTHRIFTS

Intending to run an insta store where people consume fashion more ethically and responsibly, the online store gives you access to thrift, pre-owned and upcycled outfits (even new ones). Priyansha, the owner of the quirky Thrifts affirms that the thrifting trend has started picking up pace since last year and a majority of Indians are switching from fast fashion to sustainable fashion. She further said that a pre-owned item is not inferior. On the contrary, many thrifted items are vintage and often higher in value.

She answers the customers' queries with utmost honesty and shares the much-needed details so that their shopping experience doesn't turn out to be disappointing. She often rewards her loyal customers with generosity. Following the Covid-19 norms, she has managed to run her business smoothly with proper sanitization and hygiene. She said that Digital Thrifting has a good scope in India as the nation is one of the leading importers of used clothes. They are further divided into two sections, the ones which can be sold and the rest of them are utilised in the production of cheap quilts, blankets, etc.

Shop - सु-Kanya        SUKANYA_THETHRIFTSTORE    

Staring at our closets, wondering to adorn it with a second chance didn't seem like a bad idea at all. The same idea became the impetus of the Sukanya thrift store. Thrifting is a fun activity to build a whole new wardrobe. She said, Our collection comprises of a variety of tops and dresses and we’re also coming up with a range of traditional clothes and artificial jewellery soon. The store is managed virtually. The pictures of the products are uploaded and the customers purchase them by contacting us through Dm or commenting on the product they like.

An outstanding customer experience keeps customers coming back while spreading the word about their shopping experience. We make sure that our customers are completely satisfied. Additionally, we take complete care of our article from cleaning, prepping and packaging. We also offer an additional 10% discount on 2 or more purchases by a single customer.

Thrifting in India has a huge scope if all the pre-existing myths are debunked. Everyone wants to seek the latest fashion trends without burning a hole in their pockets and thrifting is the best way to achieve that. It was via the platform of Instagram, basically that people became aware of thrift shopping. But, unfortunately, a part of Indian society still beholds some myths concerning thrift shopping, which affects our reach in these households.


SHOP- @THRIFTO_CITY

To promote pre-loved and once wore outfits, this store provides you with an impeccable collection of branded clothes and footwear. With a polite gesture and generous freebies at times, they have made their mark in the thrifting community. The virtual store was started by two young girls during the pre-covid Era and understanding their audience has been their topmost priority ever since. Both of them strongly believe that thrifting has a bright scope in India and it will increase at a much rapid pac, if the pre-existing stereotypes and narrow mindedness goes away.

SHOP- @THRIFT_BOMBAY


Remembering a meme where a girl lost her 30s to the pandemic and is about to lose her next 30s to climate change, these two besties emphasize the need for sustainable fashion as a crucial step towards environmental protection. Establishing their insta store in May 2020, these two boss ladies kicked off a digital empire by utilising their well-managed closets with a majority of new and unused items. Their store has dresses, pants, tops, blouses, shoes, heels and skirts. Additionally, they are trying to stock up on plus-sized outfits, as they strongly believe in the notion of Serving everyone equally.

Having a humble approach towards their customers, they believe in free shipping or shipping with minimal costs. The ordered clothes are washed, rewashed and then ironed before getting them wrapped in eco-friendly packaging. One of them said, it gets quite exhausting at times with all the photoshoots, uploads and shipping, but a single smile at the end of the day makes it worth it

Interacting about their business growth amid Covid-19, they affirmed that their insta store has grown by leaps and bounds amid the lockdown and the age-old mindset of "Why should I wear second-hand clothes" is also getting washed away with the pace of time. The current generation is aware of thrifting, as the social media influencers, creators and bloggers are also switching towards this approach these days, and are encouraging their audience to do so as well.


SHOP: NIYA THRIFT STORE


For Shreya & Shrini, owners of the Niya Thrift Store: launching a
thrift store was a conscious and much- calculated decision. Intending to play their role in a mindful fashion system to update, upgrade and clear their wardrobes, they started loving the thrifting community as a great place to be. Shreya said that they focus on transparency to build a great personal shopping experience for people. We sell various kinds of apparels,( including shirts, dresses, skirts, pants, etc) and we are always on the hunt to find unique statement pieces that might add value to our customer's wardrobe.

Shrini further said that Thrifting has been a pre-existing culture in India, but with the mainstream market and digital boom, the thrift shops have attained more credibility. She speculates that with the pace of time, consumers will become more aware and thus switch to Sustainable options and that is where thrift stores will provide them with convenience, affordability, and style. They also believe that the younger generation has a different perspective towards thrifting as compared to others.


SHOP- THE_THRIFT_BANDIT

The Thrift Bandit started as an eco-friendly virtual store where outfits breathe a new life, they get into the recycling business and the consumers have more options to choose from at lower prices. Being a sincere business, they spontaneously answer all the queries concerning the product and ship the products post dry cleaning and disinfecting them. They have a huge variety of skirts, tops, dresses and bags. Managed by two sisters, they think that thrift stores are the new age shopping centres which are reasonable and offer people with huge diversity.  They believe that people will continue thrift shopping and the taboos will be left far behind.

THRIFT STORES TO CHECK OUT FOR A WIDE VARIETY OF BOOKS:

SHOP - @_BROADBOOKTHRIFTS_

A thrift store cum initiative to provide a home to the pre-loved books, which includes books for all genre and age groups, bestsellers, classics, graphic novel, fantasy, Literary fiction, horror, detective and mystery, memoir, romance, sci-fi, kids etc. The store provides a digital platform, where people can buy the best conditioned second-hand books at minimal prices, without harming the environment.

In an interaction with our team, Aastha and Parvati stated that honesty matters the most when you are running a thrift store. To make the customers experience memorable, they package the books in an aesthetically pleasing way along with a handwritten personalised note and a bookmark. They further said that thrifting was not so common before the pandemic, people started being more active digitally amid the lockdown and the thrift store activity grew. As people are becoming more aware of the current scenario, they are gradually switching to thrifting, instead of buying something new.

Slowly and steadily people in India are realizing the need for reusing and recycling stuff, and they are taking a step forward towards sustainability, but a section of society still lives in the myth that thrifted items are ugly, dirty, used etc.

SHOP- OLD BOOKSHELF


Old Bookshelf is not a new name in the field of thrifting. They've been thrifting books and clothes for a long time and the lockdown just gave them the final push and spare time to start the insta store. While they mostly deal with novels and a few donated ones, you can also have access to/knowledgeable books, education/schooling books from grade school to MBA/Law/Nursing.

Somehow this store has managed to curate a fantastic diversity for book lovers. They've shipped books through the length and breadth of the country including Tamil Nadu, Bangalore,  J&K, Mizoram and most of the major places in between.

The virtual store believes in personalized packaging, gift wrapping to express their gratitude towards the customers.
They affirmed that people exhibited no or minimal interest in pre-loved/Thrifted products but by the end of the lockdown, they've witnessed a spurt in awareness regarding thrifted items. They strongly believe that people should switch to thrifting rather than buying new (Fast fashion) products to lower their carbon footprint. It is the need of this hour.

 
Small Street in Japan

JAPAN SETS A MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MODEL ACROSS THE GLOBE: BY MUNEETA ANEJA

Tetsushi Sakamoto appointed as

Japan's Minister of Loneliness

We all know Japan as The Land of the Rising Sun, instantly presenting us with a mental image of a nation that has never stood on the terms of giving up- no matter what. The country has faced some of the worst disasters and calamities in the past and has still managed to rebuild the nation with its hard work and determination. They have managed to restore the very foundation of their nation, amidst little being left to be restored. The same Japan which embarks on the popular beliefs of Ikigai, Wabi-Sabi, Kaizen, Ichigo-Ichie and preaches the world to be happy, is at present facing a major mental health crisis.

 

*Japan witnesses a sudden spurt in the suicide rates*

In the year 2020, Japan witnessed a spurt in the suicide rates for the first time in 11 years, especially among women. According to the data received by the Japanese National Police Agency, 2,153 citizens committed suicide, which stays higher than the 1,765 COVID-19 related deaths in the month of October 2020.


*70% increase in women suicide rate, compared to last year* 

The majority of surge witnessed in the suicide rate comprises of the women population of Japan.

879 women deaths were reported due to suicide in October 2020, with a whopping 70% increase when compared with October 2019. Michiko Ueda, a Japanese professor who studies suicide in Japan said that many single women reside alone in Japan, but a majority of them don't even have stable employment. A bunch of women are not married anymore. They have to support themselves and they lack the mental support of a permanent job as well. So, as soon as they are hit with a crisis, it impacts them deeply.  

 

This soon became the talk of the town, as we all connect Japan with the images of the popular animes, beautiful cherry blossoms, bright kimonos, smiling old faces, the endurance of their tradition and culture, and the adaption of a healthy lifestyle, leading to old-age longevity among people of the nation.


*Tetsushi Sakamoto appointed as

Japan's Minister of Loneliness*

Concerning this situation, Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga appointed "Tetsushi Sakamoto" as the Minister of Loneliness" to deal with the causes of rising suicide rate and curbing measures for reducing loneliness and social isolation among the individuals. The newly appointed minister of loneliness is already handling the portfolios of Japan's declining birthrate and the promotion of regional revitalization.


*Women at a higher risk of suffering from isolation*


The Prime Minister has asserted that "Women are at a higher risk of suffering from isolation than men, and the suicide level is increasing steadily. According to a report shared by the Japan Times, Suga notified Sakamoto of his new role on February 12th and advised him to identify the problems and seeking the policy measures comprehensively. Japan's new loneliness minister has decided to hold forums to hear the concerns and issues faced by the people dealing with loneliness and isolation.

 

*UK was the first country to adopt this model and appoint a Minister of Loneliness*

Japan is not the first country to come up with an exceptional portfolio of the Minister of Loneliness. There are several nations across the globe, that have started including mental health as a priority in their agenda. Officially, The United Kingdoms was the first country to appoint a loneliness minister in 2018, concerning a 2017 report that established that more than nine million people in the UK confirmed that they often or constantly felt lonely. Australia has considered creating a similar position. But, the challenge to revive the mental health of the citizens of the nation is not an easy task to accomplish, and nations are still struggling to chalk out the proper measures to deal with it.

 

*Hikikomori: A phase of intense social isolation prevalent in Japan* 

Japan shares a history of loneliness for a long age. There's a distinct term in Japan for this phenomenon comprising of intense social isolation among people known as "hikikomori".

It is defined in the Japanese Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry as people who have stayed in their home for six months or more without going to school, work or venturing out to socialize. It emerged as a mass behaviour in the 1990s and is still not classified officially as a disorder with proper treatment.

The survey found that 5,41,000 people aged between 15 to 39-years were existing in this condition, the majority of them being from the educated middle-class families. Studies reveal that loneliness has been linked to a higher risk of health issues like heart disease, dementia, and eating disorders.


The appearance of this phenomenon is not just confined to Japan. A survey conducted in 2015 indicated the prevalence of a similar pattern of cases of the hikikomori-style social reclusion in the US, China, and Spain as well.

 

*Societal pressure, psychological and cultural influences result in withdrawal symptoms among Youth*

Doctors have stated that the psychological and cultural influences result in the complete withdrawal of the younger generation from society. The condition is more prevalent among men facing extreme pressure to succeed early in life, both at school and in their careers. 

 

*They are not lazy, they are just exhausted*

People suffering from hikikomori often indulge themselves in playing video games or reading comics at home, rather than interacting or socializing with others. But psychologists have affirmed that they do not display this behaviour due to laziness.

A renowned Japanese Psychologist, Tamaki Saito has revealed in his interaction with the BBC that the condition is being “tormented in the mind. They want to go out and explore the world and make friends and forge relationships, but they can't".

 

*India comprising 2.4% of the world's geographical area shares a whopping 17% part of the global suicide rates*

Approximately 8,00,000 people commit suicide worldwide every year, out of which about 1,35,000 are residents of India itself. A nation with 2.4% of the world's geographical area shares a whopping 17% part of the global suicide rates. This raises a lot of questions. Is it about the pre-existing taboos, stereotypes, orthodoxy levels or mental health stigma embedded in the Indian society for a long time? 

 

*Is it high time for India to adopt this model?*

The suicide rate is growing at an alarming rate in India, and there's only one thing we can learn from nations like Japan and the United Kingdoms, "That they treat the life of every individual of their nation in a precious way". Every life matters and therefore they are willing to adopt socio-political models to combat the issue and dig for solutions concerning it. 

 

*Urgent need for the Indian government to declare mental health as a basic priority*


For a vast nation like India, which is surrounded by stigmas and stereotypes from all sides, there's an urgent need for the government to declare mental health as a basic priority and formulate policies around it. As a nation in search of holistic development, we need to look after the living standard, happiness index and freedom index of the citizens of our nation as well. 


*Immediate measures that can aid in reducing the pace of crisis*

Eradication of poverty, implementing strong laws and policies against dowry deaths, rape cases, generating employment opportunities, taking stringent action for crimes against women, ensuring equality in society, creating awareness regarding mental health issues and getting them checked are some of the immediate measures that India can adapt to control the rising suicide levels. 

 
Image by Sean Lee

THE WRATH OF A MICROSCOPIC VIRUS: BY MUNEETA ANEJA

DO THE REGIONAL,COMMUNAL AND RACIAL CLASHES EVEN MATTER AFTER ALL OF THIS?

🌏Almost a year & a half now & the world is still struggling with the #covi̇d19 crisis. I feel lost, that how a microscopic virus had the greatest power of all to reverse the economy, socio-political structures, the pace at which educational institutions work, mental health & even the most basic of all: Human Contact & Social Interaction. 

🌏We thought our nations were a raging ball of fire with nuclear bombs & high-tech missiles, until & unless we faced the wrath of a virus changing the complete scenario. While, we were busy fighting for minor differences of religion, caste, race, nationality,  we didn't even stop for a second thinking, "Does it matter"? 


🌏Human life is at a standstill, people have lost their loved ones, many are fighting their own battles, businesses are shut amid lockdown at various places, I've no clue how the small businesses or cottage industries would ever recover from this loss. What about the daily wage earners? What about the rising unemployment among the youth? What about the public & Pvt sector jobs that are in a no-progressive state right now? 

🌏We as humans have not just destroyed biodiversity, but we have destroyed the fabric of humanity. What are we doing as states, nations, allies, continents United together? And it's pathetic to hear news concerning communal, racial, political clashes now!

🌏Why are people dying in Myanmar? Why peace has still not found its way in the Middle East Region? Why do these terrorist groups exist? What terror is greater than the one, which God has inflicted on the entire mankind at present? For the Maoists who ruthlessly kill our CRPF jawans in Chhattisgarh, what did you achieve by sending flag wrapped coffins of young martyrs home back? Where are the authorities that seek control of this entire world? Where is the nasty media, which doesn't shut up for a second? 

🌏Why are we doing this to ourselves? The only thing that matters is mental peace, family, stability, economic & social well-being, good mental & physical health & sane political leaders at the central, state or global level. Humanity comes above all & we should not destroy our lives fighting against each other. 

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Myanmar Coup.jpg

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MYANMAR'S MILITARY COUP:-

The Struggle for democracy: BY MUNEETA ANEJA

Myanmar became the talk of the town succumbing to a military coup on the 1st of February, with the military seizing the entire control of the nation and declaring a year-long emergency, by dethroning the democratic rule of the National leader Aung San Suu Kyi and detaining her with other leaders of NLD (National League of Democracy) under house arrest.  

 

Aung San Suu Kyi has been the face of the democratic non-violent movement in Myanmar since decades now and has managed to grab a whopping majority in the national elections. Her remarkable struggle for national democracy and patience amid chaos is renowned throughout the world and makes her one of the strongest democratic leaders ever existed on earth. 


So, let's dig out, What Myanmar is all about? What is the cause of this Military coup and who's leading it and Why? How is the UN reacting to this whole situation? How are different nations reacting to this Military coup, concerning their vested interests and security? 



  • ARE MYANMAR AND BURMA THE SAME COUNTRY? 


Myanmar, also known as Burma, is a country in South-East Asia, sharing its neighbouring borders with Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, China and India. The country was renowned as Burma for generations, named after its dominant ethnic group. In the year 1989, the ruling military changed its name in English to Myanmar, a year after thousands were killed in a crackdown on a popular rebellion. The two words connote the same meaning, but Myanmar is the more formal version of addressing the nation.

 


  • MYANMAR'S HISTORY, DEMOGRAPHICS AND ETHNIC GROUPS:-

 

Myanmar has a population of approximately 54 million people, with the majority speaking Burmese followed by the other languages. Myanmar was colonized by three dynamic waves of migration, Primarily by the Hmon people from present-day Cambodia, succeeded by the Mongol people from the eastern Himalayas and finally, by the Thai population from northern Thailand. The first unified state was established at Pagan (presently Bagan) in 1057, but the

the capital was destroyed by Kublai Khan in 1287.


At present, The capital of Myanmar is Nay Pyi Taw. The prominent religion is Buddhism, but there are various ethnic groups in the country, including Rohingya Muslims.



  • WAS BURMA A BRITISH INDIAN COLONY? 


A caravan of dynasties rose and fell along the Irrawaddy before the British arrived and conquered the south of the nation in 1852. With the fall of Mandalay in 1886, Burma became a province of British India, signifying the start of the colonial period.



  • (A RARELY KNOWN FACT):-

MYANMAR AND THE LAST MUGHAL EMPEROR OF INDIA:


Very few people know that the last Mughal emperor of India- Bahadur Shah Zafar II spent his last days in exile and breathed his last in 1862 in Rangoon, which is the present-day Yangon. The sacred site of his burial is known as the Mazar of Bahadur Shah Zafar, in Yangon, Myanmar.



  • WHEN DID MYANMAR OPEN TO TOURISM?


The beauty of Myanmar was caged for decades for the outside world, under the secretive military Junta rule. When it finally opened up in 1992, travellers were initially constrained to temples of Bagan, the floating villages of Inle Lake, and the monasteries of Mandalay, and Yangon, the retired

capital, with its colonial relics and towering pagodas.



  • THE LAND OF GLITTERING GOLDEN STUPAS:


The magnificent beauty and the land of diverse culture and tribes stun everyone with its beauty and glory. It has steadily transformed itself into a tourist destination with its Glittering Golden Stupas as high as skyscrapers, the ancient ruins which narrate a tale on its own, the fascinating hills, diverse tribes, unexplored forests, legions of monks, serene beaches accompanied by resorts, and a bunch of mesmerizing cities.



  • -WHEN & HOW DID MYANMAR GAIN INDEPENDENCE:


During WWII, Imperial Japan expelled the British forces from Burma, but there was a constant state of friction towards the Japanese deployment. Thereby,  Burmese General Aung

San, the father of Aung Sang Suu Kyi, led an uprising against the occupying forces and was one of the prominent negotiators in the independence movement, which led to the country's freedom in 1948. He was assassinated by his closest political rival in the same year. 



  • -THE ERA OF MILITARY COUP BEGINS:


  • - EMERGENCE OF SLORC:


A military coup ushered in the power of General Ne Win in the year 1962, who imposed a totalitarian socialist tyranny in Myanmar. To bring an end to his dictatorship, the local students and Buddhist Monks led an uprising in 1988, which was brutally suppressed and thousands were killed. Gen Win was an influential man and even after leaving his official title, he exercised his control from the new State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC).

 

 

  • -EMERGENCE OF AUNG SAN SUU KYI:


  • -THE CALL FOR DEMOCRACY:-


Emerging as a national figure in Myanmar by 1989, Aung San Suu Kyi started her campaign to restore democracy by organising rallies, initiating democratic reforms and demanding free and fair elections. She was detained and persecuted for nearly 15 years between 1989 and 2010. Suu Kyi's life has been full of struggle, but her remarkable patience has left everyone around the world stunned. In 2015, she led the NLD to victory in Myanmar's first openly contested election in 25 years.



  • -THE COMPOSITION OF MYANMAR'S PARLIAMENT:

 

  • -25% SEATS OF MYANMAR'S PARLIAMENT ARE RESERVED FOR MILITANTS.


Ironically very few people know this, but The (Burmese Parliament): "Pyidaungsu Hluttaw" is a bicameral body with 440-seats for the House of Representatives, and 224-seats for the House of Nationalities, with an overall total of 664 members. 75% of MPs (498 members) are directly elected by voters, while the remaining 25% (166 members) are military personnel appointed by the Defence Services' Commander-in-Chief, so their voice matters a lot. 



  • -THE ROHINGYA GENOCIDE:


Ms. Suu Kyi's reputation was deeply tarnished globally when thousands of Rohingya Muslims were killed and more than 700,000 fled to Bangladesh following an army crackdown in 2017, and she remained silent on the brutal affair. The nation considers them illegal immigrants and denies them citizenship. She even appeared before the International Court of Justice in 2019, where she denied allegations of the military committing genocide.



  • -THE STRUGGLING DEMOCRACY OF MYANMAR


  • -WHO YIELDS THE POWER AT PRESENT?


Myanmar faces the unprecedented crisis of a Military coup at present, with its national leaders being detained under house arrest, whereas Power has been handed over to the Commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing, who has been exerting political influence since long.

Even after the restoration of democracy since the past decade, he was successful in balancing the power of the Tatmadaw - Myanmar's military.

The military has replaced ministers and deputies in departments of finance, health, interior and foreign affairs. They made a declaration regarding hosting the election, once the state of emergency is over.



  • -HOW IS THE WORLD REACTING TO MYANMAR'S MILITARY COUP?


The UN Secretary-General António Guterres asserted that the coup was a "serious blow to the democratic reforms". US President Joe Biden has threatened to reinstate sanctions.

Whereas, the immediate neighbours including Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines, have claimed it as their "internal matter". On the contrary, China blocked a UN Security Council statement condemning the coup. 



  • -HOW BURMESE ARE REACTING TO THIS SITUATION:-


People are expressing their opposition via acts of "civil disobedience". A large number of people in Yangon banged pots and pans and honked their car horns in protest, amid the night-time curfew. The Medical Staff in the hospital is walking out, and many others are wearing ribbons expressing their disapproval over the coup.

 

THE TREE OF LIFE: SPECIAL SEGMENT BY MUNEETA ANEJA

Observe when the sky turns blue & people change their hues.

Observe when the night gets dark & your world feels apart.

Observe when the society works on an agenda of give and take and how emotions are on an interplay of real and fake.

 

Observe how the sun rises after sunset and how life transforms with a correct mindset.

Observe how tiny droplets make an ocean and how you are one of God's unique creation.

Observe how people work endlessly day and night & how doers achieve everything for which they fight.

 

Observe how fortunate we are to sit and eat and on the contrary there are children on street with cold & bare feet.

Observe how caste and money dictate politics and how this world runs on a small word called tactics.

Observe the fading away of black and white and glory of greys and colourful plight.

 

Observe the cycle of death and birth.

Observe the tiniest things on earth.

Observe how happy faces hide a tear.

Observe how tears hide a puzzle of fear.

-©2021Muneeta Aneja 

 
DevBaloda Shiva Mandir

ARTICLE OF THE WEEK: BY MUNEETA ANEJA

THE ANCIENT SHIVA TEMPLE OF DEVBALODA: 

UNCOVERING MYSTERIES & MYTHS:  

Did you know that within a range of 35 km from the state Capital of Chhattisgarh: Raipur, lies an Ancient Indian 13th Century Shiva temple constructed in the era of Kalchuris? 

Devbaloda temple in Charoda, Bhilai is an important heritage and pilgrimage site of Chhattisgarh, and an archaeological marvel beyond description, with its magnificent rock carvings, narrating the archaic tales of Ancient Indian history, art, culture and architecture which dates back to more than 700 years ago. The temple has been deemed of national importance under the" Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act " 1958.

The Ancient Shiva temple of Devbaloda revolves around a plethora of mysteries and myths. Whether it be, the story of a never drying kund or the temple left incomplete or without any spire or Shikhar or the sculpture designing the temple who jumped off the cliff and his sister who has been a stone figurine beside a nearby lake since then! These ancient folklores have made the temple distinct, unique and different on its own. 

So let's break down these mysteries step by step and exactly know, how and why was this temple built and Why is this heritage site in ruins today? 

  • WHO WERE KALCHURIS? WHEN AND WHERE DID THEY REIGN?

The foremost Kalchuri territory, with their capital in Mahishmati included parts of the Central and Western India including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra, where their power was established between the 6th and 7th Century until they lost it to the Chalukyas of Vatapi.

Kalchuris have been renowned for their impeccable cultural heritage and marvellous architectural stone edifice. Various shreds of evidence state that the earliest of the Ellora and Elephanta cave monuments were established during the reign of the Kalchuri dynasty. They were profound followers of Shaivism.

The later dynasties of Kalchuris of Tripuri and Kalyani, which may have emerged from the Kalchuris of Mahishmati, existed until the end of the 14th Century. The Kalchuris of Tripuri, renowned as Chedi reigned in the parts of central India from 7th to 13th century, and their capital was located at Tripuri (present-day Tewar near Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh). Whereas, The Kalchuris of Kalyani rose to power in the Deccan region between 1156 and 1181 CE and reigned over regions of present-day northern Karnataka and Maharashtra.


  • DEVBALODA KA PRACHIN MANDIR:


Built from Balua stones and dedicated primarily to Lord Shiva, the archaeologists believe that, Central Chhattisgarh was once the kingdom of Great Kalchuris. The Kalchuri dynasty were great admirers of art and sculpture and they built various ponds in the adjoining areas of Dev-Baloda.

  • BUILT IN NAGARA STYLE :

Like the famous Khajurao temple, the Chah Mhasi temple is also encarved with rock-cut figures of deities, elephants and horses. Besides, there are musicians, dancers and similar figureheads. These meticulous details give a fascinating definition to this temple, even from a greater distance.

  • THE TEMPLE WITH NO SHIKHAR OR SPIRE:

The entrance of the temple is accompanied by a Nandi statue. The east-facing edifice built of sandstone is surviving with a Garba Griha and a pillared "Nauranga Mandapa". The temple looks a bit incomplete as it lacks a spire "Shikhar", which was probably because of its construction in Nagara style.

THE KUND/POND WHICH NEVER GETS DRIED :

The infamous pond or "kund" beside the temple is a part of the local folklores and is renowned for not getting dried ever, even in the harshest summers. Structured with 23 stairs and a depth beyond imagination, the kund is rumoured to have a secret pathway leading to Aarang, which scientifically explains the revival of water in the kund from a source below the ground which keeps the water level up throughout the year.

  • ADHISTHANA WITH 16 ENCARVED PILLARS :

Before making an entrance to the 
GarbhaGriha, one has to cross a 
small antechamber or the "adhisthana" comprising of 16 mandapa pillars adorned with the images of Bhairava, Vishnu, Mahishsurmardini, Venu Gopala, musicians, dancers and Keertimukha designs.

  • THE UNDERGROUND GARBHA GRIHA :

3 feet below: 5 stairs down from the Adhisthana is the place of actual worship: the inner sanctum known as the "garbha griha" or ‘womb-chamber’ approached through a highly ornate door entrance with Ganesha figurines on both the sides, where a Shiva linga and statue of Goddess "Parvati " resides. Worshippers unite in this small room to offer their prayers. The ambience of the GarbaGriha is truly divine and soulful.


  • WHY DID THE SCULPTURE DIVE IN THE KUND?

According to the locals and the temple guard, The temple was built in the 7th century by Raja Vikramaditya. The skilled artist who was sculpting the temple got so aligned with his work, that he used to work around the clock recklessly and reached a stage of utter devotion towards his work and art, where he was constructing the temple without any clothes on.


Every day his wife brought him food, but one day his sister got food for him and when she saw him in that condition, both of them felt ashamed and the artist jumped into the kund leading into a secret pathway to Aarang, where his rock statue can be still witnessed and his sister in utter grief jumped in the lake beside. This lake is known as Karsa Talab because she carried a Kalash of water along with the food she carried for her brother. Therefore resulting in the construction of temple left midway, making it appear incomplete or without any Shikhar or spire. Although this is just a folklore legend and we can't testify it as a fact without the prevalence of any pieces of evidence.

 

  • WHY IS THE TEMPLE CALLED THE CHAH MHASI TEMPLE?

Another interesting tale concerning the temple acknowledges that the temple was constructed within 6 months without any break whatsoever, and therefore it is known as the Chah-Mhasi Shiva temple.

  • DISTINCT SHED FOR ANTIQUE IDOLS: 

The temple courtyard has a distinct shed which comprises of the excavated idols from the kund, which are in a broken state and therefore cannot be reclaimed inside the temple, but these figurines are worshipped with equal dedication and spirituality. The Devbaloda Shivratri Mela has made this place symbolic all across the nation. 

  • DEVBALODA DEMANDS DEVELOPMENT :

Devbaloda, being a significant location of art, heritage and archaeological importance cries for attention and development today. The unpaved roads and the absence of proper lights need to be taken care of. The sad part is that the Hindu heritage site has fallen prey to many years of ignorance resulting in the damaged sculptures. While religious occasions are celebrated with pomp and fervour in India, the structures that represent the religious identity are often overlooked. 

 

LET'S JOIN OUR HANDS AGAINST

COVID-19.

We need collective effort, not cash donations, but masks, sanitisers and multi vitamin donations.

Let's join our hands against the Covid 19 crisis and do something ourselves

and not just depend on governmental and non-governmental machinery to

help us out. India is going through a rough patch right now & instead of

blaming the authorities or depending on them, let's think about the ways,

we can contribute to society.

Each one of you knows someone who is suffering or has suffered the wrath

of the virus and we need to build our people up. If we as lower or upper-

middle-class citizens are facing such a deep crisis, then what about the

economically weaker sections of society. What about the people in the slum areas and the ones who are left with no employment for months? How are they buying sanitisers, disinfectants, masks, immunity-boosting medicines or multi-vitamins? If they are getting affected, how are they keeping up with the pace of treatment?

Firstly, this is not a cash or money donation drive out there, instead, it's

more of like, "Contribute whatever you can for your country" kind of thing.

Even if you spend 100 Rs out of your pocket to buy a strip of multivitamin

tablets and send us in and everyone decides to do the same, we may be able to achieve something over here.

Nevertheless, we can achieve an India with less malnourishment, better

immunity and hygiene, and more public awareness.