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News coming out of India worrisome: Raghuram Rajan

“When young people of diverse faiths march together, Hindus and Muslims arm-in-arm behind our national flag, rejecting artificial divides stoked by political leaders for their own gain, they show that the spirit of our constitution still burns brightly,”

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New Delhi, Jan 10 : Reacting to the recent violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Raghuram Rajan said in a blog post on Friday that news coming out of India has been worrisome and that one has to be truly cynical to not be moved.

Rajan said that such attacks on elite universities gave “substantial credibility” to accusations that the government is attempting to suppress dissent.

“While the identities of the attackers remain unclear, what is clear is that many of those attacked were activists, and neither the government-appointed administration nor the police intervened. And this was in a capital city where everyone is usually on high alert,” Rajan said in a LinkedIn post.

Several students, including JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh, were rushed to the AIIMS Trauma Centre last Sunday after masked men and women armed with sticks and rods attacked the students and teachers and damaged properties on the campus.

“And when a Bollywood actress registers her silent protest by meeting with the victims of the attack on JNU, even though she puts attendance at her latest movie at risk, she inspires us all to take stock of what is truly at stake,” Rajan added.

The former RBI Governor, however, said that it is easy to blame our leadership but in a democracy as proud and storied as ours, “we, the public, also bear a responsibility. After all, it was the citizenry that put our leaders into office and acquiesced in their divisive manifesto, which they have taken as their marching orders.”

“When officers of the administrative service resign from their dream jobs because they do not believe they can serve in good faith, they are living testimony that the sacrifices made by the generations that got us freedom still inspire emulation,” Rajan said.

Fortunately, the news from India has also been elevating, Rajan said.

“When young people of diverse faiths march together, Hindus and Muslims arm-in-arm behind our national flag, rejecting artificial divides stoked by political leaders for their own gain, they show that the spirit of our constitution still burns brightly,” he added.

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Shaheen Baghs spring up in UP districts

Initially, the protests began with Muslim women but now Sikh men and women have joined in a big way. Hindu women are not only participating in the dharna but are also arranging for food and blankets for the other protestors.

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Shaheen Bagh

Lucknow, Jan 23 : It began with the Clock Tower in Lucknow and has now found an echo in Prayagraj, Varanasi, Etawah and Rampur.

The sit-in protests against the citizenship laws which began in Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, have caught on in a big way in Uttar Pradesh.

Last Friday, a group of about 15 women arrived at the Clock Tower with placards against CAA and NRC, hidden under their burqas, and began the protest. As soon as they took out the placards, traffic on the main road slowed down and within three hours, more than a hundred women had collected at the site.

The police took away their blankets and food packets, doused bonfires with water in a bid to deter their efforts. However, the women did not budge.

The number has been swelling with each passing day and the seven-day-old dharna shows no signs of ending.

After Clock Tower in Lucknow, it was the Mansoor Ali Khan Park in Prayagraj where women started a sit-in protest

What initially seemed to be a one-day protest has been continuing for five days now. More than 5,000 women, men and children are camping at the park, braving the freezing temperatures.

“Yes we have been inspired by Shaheen Bagh. If our sisters can protest there, we can do it here too,” said Renu Varma, a mother of three. Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh entered Day 39 on Thursday.

At the Mansoor Ali Khan Park, women can be seen listening to speeches made by student organizations from the Left and the Samajwadi Party while others are recording the events on their cell phones.

“I just want to say that we will be here for as long as required, till someone from the government speaks to us,” said Fatima, an octogenarian who has joined the protest.

The Jama Masjid in Rampur has also turned into a protest site with women assembling in large numbers.

In Etawah, on Wednesday, the cop chased and caned women who had started collecting in the Pachraha area to start a sit-in against the citizenship laws.

“The police did not let us protest yesterday but we will be planning and will do it again. Let us see how long they shoo us away,” said Arushi Yadav who is now painting anti-CAA posters.

Varanasi, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, faced fresh trouble on Thursday when scores of women tried to stage a protest at the Benia Bagh ground.

As soon as they spread a ‘durrie’ on the ground, the cops arrived on the scene and tried to dissuade the women from staging dharna. The women were unrelenting and as soon as the police tried to arrest the protesters, a mob standing close by started pelting stones at the cops.

Additional forces have been deployed in the area to prevent the protestors from returning.

The protests against the citizenship laws are now spreading to the rural areas as well. Ujariyagaon, a village on the outskirts of Lucknow, is also witnessing a protest, albeit smaller in size.

What is common in all these protest is that the women are inspired by the Shaheen Bagh protest.

Initially, the protests began with Muslim women but now Sikh men and women have joined in a big way. Hindu women are not only participating in the dharna but are also arranging for food and blankets for the other protestors.

At the Clock Tower, Sikh men have even set up a community kitchen for women and children.

While majority of the protesters may not understand the provisions of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), they insist that it will ruin the future of their children.

“If women are protesting in 32 cities, braving the freezing temperatures, there has to be a reason. Even if you want to believe that we are illiterate and are being misled, how do you explain that educated children form universities, IITs and IIMs are also staging protests?” asked Roshanara, a protester at Clock Tower in Lucknow, who has had much of a formal education.

The women are all the more determined to continue their protest after the ruling BJP alleged that they were being paid money to protest.

“Fine, we are being paid — so let us make some good money and continue with our protest. If these leaders also want money, they can send their women to protest with us,” said Ruchi Sahni, a young protestor at Clock Tower.

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Festivities at Rajasthan’s Cattle Fair

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Pushkar Camel Fair

Dotted with majestic forts and palaces, deserts and colourful people, Rajasthan is famous for a great many fascinating and interesting festivals. Each festival has its own significance and legends – tales that can keep you entertained forever!

Coming up at the end of this month is Rajasthan’s 2nd largest Cattle Fair at Nagaur. Celebrated with great enthusiasm and full of exciting events, the Fair attracts tourists from all over the world. Visitors have often said that the festivals of Rajasthan are so full of cultural beauty, colour and vigour, that given the chance, they would love to return every year.

The Nagaur Cattle Fair is an annual festival celebrates the coming together of animals including horses, cows, bullocks, oxen and camels, adding up to more than two and half lakhs! Held in the historic town of Nagaur located between Bikaner and Jodhpur, every year traders and buyers, collect here to trade more than 75,000 camels, horses and bullocks. The Festival is spread over 4 days and offers a vast number of events to keep everyone entertained.

In the mornings there are bullock races, cock fights, tug of war, while the evening offers visitors enjoy vibrant folk music and dance performances. Meals seated around bonfires with groups of folk singers and dancers are among the most unforgettable experiences that everyone takes home. There are many competitors for contests. Among the most sought after competitions are for turban tying, for the longest and best mustache, gymnastic stunts, jugglers, puppet shows and storytelling.

The Nagaur Cattle Fair is also known as the Ramdeoji Cattle Fair, started 56 years ago when Maharaja Umed Singh invited Sufi saint Shri Ramdeoji to Nagaur to demonstrate his powers. People from around the town gathered at Nagaur to watch him and it is said that they were convinced about his supreme powers and insisted that he should stay in Nagaur. A Fort was built with massive walls around the existing dwellings and named – the Fort of the Hooded Cobra. Thereafter it became customary for them to visit him once a year, to pay their respects. Till today the day of the Fair coincides with the day Ramdeoji was born.

This year the Fair is scheduled from January 30th till February 2nd, 2020. However, the fair can last even for 10 days. Visitors can expect the fair to open with sellers showing off their cattle. Each dealer is given a shed of his own and buyers walk around looking for the best buy. There will be stalls selling the vast variety of artifacts made in Rajasthan. Games and competitions of all kinds can be expected.

By sunset most of the buyers would have left the fairground and the sellers stay on to guard their animals. The cultural programmes begin after sunset and music fills the air. Among the main attractions at the Fair is the Mirchi Bazaar, This is considered to be the largest chilli market of Asia. Contest for looks as well as attire among the animals, is the most popularly photographed activity. The handicraft exhibition is spread in stores around the fairground. Among the most popular items are camel leather accessories, wooden items, crafts made of iron and others.

Visitors are welcome to stay back and enjoy themselves after the fair closes which is when the locals gather together to dance and sing. There are games to play and the stores are kept open for selling. It is also the right time to taste the local cuisine at the shops, including the rather rare camel milk delicacies! The finale every night is a spectacular burst of fireworks!

(Shona Adhikari is a lifestyle and travel columnist)

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Cancer’s Big Five

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Cancer is one of the most dreaded ailments, and from amongst the very many types of cancer, there are a few that Indian women are predisposed to.

47.2 percent of cancer in women is accounted for amongst the five types. The surprising fact is that these cancers can be prevented by early screening. Early detection and treatment reduces not only the death rate but the quality of life post cancer treatment. Dr Neena Singh, Associate Director, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Fortis La Femme, Delhi sheds some light on this.

She reveals the following are the top five types of cancer in women in India:

  • Breast Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Uterine Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Colorectal cancer

BREAST CANCER :

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in India and accounts for 27 percent of all cases of cancer in women. It is more common in urban areas than rural areas.

High risk factors:

  • Family history of breast cancer
  • Long period of OCP (Oral contraceptive pills)

Screening test for breast cancer:

Self-examination of the breasts. If any abnormality found like lump, pain or change in shape, consult a doctor who would examine clinically if it is cancer.

  • Mammography is done which can detect small lesions.
  • MRI Breast is done for staging the disease.
  • Treatment at early stages carries good prognosis.

CERVICAL CANCER

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in India in women accounting 22.86 percent of all cancer cases in women. It is more common in rural women than urban women.

Risk Factors:

  • Young age at first intercourse (less than 16 years)
  • Multiple Sexual partners
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Human papillomavirus infection (HPV)
  • Immunosuppression

Screening test for cervical cancer:

Any abnormal symptoms like abnormal vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge and contact bleeding (bleeding after intercourse) report to a gynecologist who would do a clinical examination and do some test on cervix.

  • Visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA)
  • Visual inspection with legal Iodine (VILI)
  • Magnified VI! Under colposcopy
  • Exfoliative cytology (Pap smear)-is gold standard for screening.
  • HPV-DNA testing

Do Cervical biopsy for confirmation. Early detection and treatment have very good prognosis.

Prevention by prophylactic vaccinations in childhood.

UTERINE CANCER (CANCER OF UTERUS)

Uterine cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the uterus in its lining called the endometrium. Hence also named as endometrial carcinoma.

Risk Factors:

It is an estrogen dependent cancer. Persistent unopposed stimulation of endometrium with estrogen is the single most important factor for development of cancer endometrium:

Polycystic ovaries

  • Granulosa cell tumor of the ovary which secret estrogen
  • Hormone replacement therapy-unopposed estrogen therapy
  • Early onset of periods & late menopause (after the age of 50)
  • Age: – 75 percent women are post-menopausal

Nulliparity

  • Obesity, Hypertension & Diabetes (corpus cancer syndrome)
  • Tamoxifen therapy given in breast cancer
  • Endometrial hyperplasia especially atypical
  • Following radiation exposure to the pelvis
  • Family history of cancer uterus breast, ovary & colon

Screening test for uterine cancer:

If any irregularity in menstrual cycle, post-menopausal bleeding, contact bleeding and unhealthy vaginal discharge report to a gynecologist who would do

  • Clinical examination
  • Transvaginal sonography (TVS) to know endometrial thickness or irregularity.
  • MRI pelvis can be done for more details
  • Fractional curettage of uterus for histopathology examination or Hysteroscopy & directed biopsy from suspicious area. Early diagnosis & treatment has very good prognosis.

OVARIAN CANCER

Ovarian cancer constitutes 15-20 percent of all genital cancers. 85-90 percent of all cancers are epithelial in origin. Germ cell constitutes 5-7 percent.

Risk Factors:

Unfortunately, ovarian cancer doesn’t produce any specific symptoms. By the time symptoms appear its already in advanced stages. However, if patients have pain in the abdomen, back ache, indigestion, bloating not responding to basic treatment and lasts for more than two weeks then consult a gynecologist.

Screening test for uterine cancer:

No specific screening method is available. Doctor would do a pelvic examination to feel for ovarian mass.

  • Transvaginal sonography (TVS) to confirm ovarian mass solid or cystic.
  • Blood test like CA125 which is found raised in ovarian cancer.
  • CT Scan /MRI to know spread of cancer

Treatment:

Early diagnosis and treatment carry good prognosis.

COLORECTAL Cancer

When a cancerous growth originates in the colon and then spreads to the rectum, it leads to colorectal cancer. The risk of colorectal cancer is higher after the age of fifty years.

Risk Factors:

  • Smoking
  • Fat rich diet
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Colitis
  • Family history of colorectal cancer or polyp
  • Non residual diet
  • Chronic constipation

Screening test for Colon Cancer:

  • Frank blood in stools
  • Fecal occult blood test is positive
  • Double contrast barium enema (DCBE)
  • CT Scan
  • Colonoscopy
  • Stool DNA test
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