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Onam festivities washed away by Kerala floods



Kerala Floods

Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 24: With the state government cancelling the Onam celebrations, it is unlikely that Kerala households within the country or overseas will witness any festivities this year ignoring the huge loss of life and property in the devastating floods.

The Kerala government has already diverted the Rs 30 crore earmarked for state-sponsored celebrations to extend relief to the survivors of the worst floods in the state in nearly a century.

Similarly, reports of cancellation of the Onam celebrations by Kerala expatriates have come from the Middle East and even Canada.

Around 370 persons have lost their lives since the monsoon rains began on May 29, with widespread destruction to public and private property, which the state has pegged at more than Rs 20,000 crore. More than one million people have taken shelter in relief camps in Kerala.

Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, who was overseeing the Onam festivities, said that he too failed to recollect any instance when the celebrations were called off.

“This tragedy has damaged our state immensely as lakhs of people continue to suffer. Many people have lost their life-long savings… thus, the celebration of Onam by the state is out of the question.”

Cardinal Moran Mar Baselios Cleemis Catholicos, head of the city-headquartered Syro Malankara Catholic Church, told IANS that this could be the first Onam with no festivities in the state.

“Onam provides a sense of unity as everyone celebrates the festival. However, this time too there is ‘unity’ but it is about people coming out in huge numbers to help those affected by floods,” he remarked.

Celebrations of Onam start on ‘Atham’ day, 10 days before ‘Thiruvonam’ (which falls on August 25). However, on that day, the state was grappling with torrential rains and their aftermath as a red alert was issued in several areas after dams overflowed and rivers were swollen.

Onam, the harvest festival, is marked by three important days — First Onam that falls on Friday (today), followed by Thiruonam on Saturday, and third Onam on Sunday.

According to a legend, the state witnessed its golden period during the reign of King Mahabali. Onam is celebrated to mark King Mahabali’s annual visit to see his subjects.

A traditional 26-dish ‘Onam Sadya’, often dubbed the ‘mother of all vegetarian meals’, is served in every household on the three Onam days.

Onam falls in the month of ‘Chingam’, the first month according to the Malayalee calendar. On that day (August 17), thousands of Kerala residents in several districts were fleeing their homes to find shelter in relief camps.

As many as 12 of the 14 districts in the state have been devastated by floods, with Kasargode and Thiruvananthapuram the exception on this count.

“I am 93… I cannot recall any year when the Onam festivities were called off. I also cannot recall any tragedy of this magnitude ever hitting Kerala in my lifetime,” a retired teacher told IANS.

However, a few old-timers recall the Vypeen hooch tragedy in 1982, in which 77 persons were killed near Kochi on Onam day. The victims were mostly fisherfolk and labourers.

Sarala Devi, a retired government official residing near Thiruvalla, which was badly affected, also sounded gloomy over Onam celebrations this year.

“I don’t think anyone will be able to savour a sumptuous Onam Sadya, as one or the other you know has been affected by floods. Besides, one has been witnessing on TV channels the huge loss of lives and destruction caused by floods. I doubt if anyone will be able to enjoy the Onam lunch after all this,” she said.

The business of sellers of flowers in various places on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, has been clearly affected. “Even in the state capital, which has not been much affected by floods, people are not coming out to buy flowers,” a retailer in the city pointed out.

However, amid the gloom, there are many trying to cheer up the survivors. Those managing the relief camps plan to serve at least a decent Onam lunch to nearly a million persons still lodged in relief camps.



Mosque turns venue for Hindu wedding




Hindu wedding in Masjid

New Delhi, Jan 20 : An unusual story of a wedding is doing the rounds on internet in which a couple tied the knot at a mosque in Alappuzha district in Kerala on Sunday as per Hindu rituals.

The news came out after the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took to Twitter to congratulate and appreciate the couple for upholding such a beautiful example of religious harmony.

Vijayan wrote: “An example of unity from Kerala. The Cheravally Muslim Jamat Mosque hosted a Hindu wedding of Asha & Sharath. The Mosque came to their help after Asha’s mother sought help from them. Congratulations to the newlyweds, families, Mosque authorities & the people of Cheravally.”

The tweet went viral and netizens reacted to the post with heartwarming gestures and blessings.

A user tweeted: “I am glad that Kerala has such amity with vegetables and flowers not beef eating tourism promoted by the Government. God bless the couple.”

“Kerala sets the vision of future India,” wrote another user.

A post read, “Keep it up Keralians. Now we know that Kerala is not only the most literate state but also the most educated state.”

A Tweeple remarked, “After learning of such a beautiful tale of Hindu-Muslim unity, Hindutva thugs of @RSSorg and @BJP4India won’t be able to sleep tonight.”

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Consumer confidence plunges 7.3% in Jan 2020: Report




National debt under Modi govt surges

New Delhi, Jan 20 : Consumer sentiment has nosedived by 7.3 percentage points in January 2020, according to the latest India Primary Consumer Sentiment Index (PCSI), as measured by Thomson Reuters, in partnership with Ipsos.

The major cause for this pessimism is the depleting confidence around personal spends and investments. Even confidence about the economy is low, though confidence around jobs has slightly moved up.

“Inflation and prices of essential commodities have been going up due to the US-Iran standoff and uncertainty around the US-China trade war. It has jacked up oil prices and the cost of living. Also around this time, IT planning is a strain on incomes. Additionally, global slowdown has impacted India’s economic growth as well, as economies are becoming increasingly interdependent,” says Amit Adarkar, India CEO & APAC Operations Director, Ipsos.

The monthly PCSI, which is driven by the aggregation of the four weighted sub-indices, has plummeted for at least 3 of the 4 sub indices. The four sub-indices are: Current Conditions Index; Expectations Index; Investment Index; and Jobs Index.

While the PCSI Employment Confidence (“Jobs”) Sub-Index has slightly moved upwards by 0.5 percentage points, the PCSI Economic Expectations (“Expectations”) Sub Index, has significantly declined by 5.1 percentage points. The PCSI Investment Climate (“Investment”) Sub-Index has plunged by 12.9 percentage points; and the PCSI Current Personal Financial Conditions (“Current Conditions”) Sub-Index has also majorly dropped by 12.5 percentage points, over the last month.

The findings have come out from an Ipsos online poll conducted between December 20, 2019-January 3, 2020. For this survey, a sample of 500 adults from Ipsos’ India online panel aged 16-64 was interviewed online.

The Thomson Reuters/Ipsos India Primary Consumer Sentiment Index (PCSI), ongoing since 2010, is a monthly national survey of consumer attitudes on the current and future state of local economies, personal finance situations, savings and confidence to make large investments.

Ipsos Public Affairs is a non-partisan, objective, survey-based research practice made up of seasoned professionals. It conducts strategic research initiatives for a diverse number of American and international organisations, based not only on public opinion research, but elite stakeholder, corporate and media opinion research.

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Peace party will file curative petition on Tuesday against Ayodhya verdict



Supreme Court

New Delhi, Jan 20: The Peace Party of India will file a curative petition in the Supreme Court on Tuesday against the top court’s verdict in the Ayodhya case.

Earlier also the Supreme Court has already dismissed 18 review petition in this case.
Peace party president Dr. Ayub will file curative petition in Supreme court on Tuesday.

All review petitions filed against the Supreme Court’s decision in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case of Ayodhya were dismissed on 12 December.

In its Ayodhya verdict on November 9 last year, the Supreme Court had paved the way for construction of Ram temple.

A bench of five judges of the Supreme Court said that there is no merit in the petitions.
The Apex court had decided to give the disputed land to Ramlala to build the Ram temple.

A total of 18 petitions were filed for review of the November 9 decision of a special bench of five judges of the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya case.

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