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What is wrong with RSS?

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The secular forces find everything about the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) abhorrent. Its working, its philosophy, its reach and work for the society, its strong commitment to the nation — everything is questionable for the established opinion makers, social media influencers and politicians. Our nation is changing in a decisive manner, our narrative is changing in a manner that the established Left-secular lobbies do not like. It is a journey from an idea of a rootless new nation supposedly created by the British and nurtured by Jawaharlal Nehru to an India that is going back to its roots, finally, recognising its ancient genius.

This is the root cause of current disturbances being whipped up by vested interests who fear losing their privileged status. RSS is seen as the prime mover of this change with its 95 years of penance to establish cultural Hindu roots as the foundation of this nation, called Bharat since eons. Many people believe that the RSS is controlling the political discourse of India now and wishes to establish Hindu Rashtra, a theocratic state. They believe that RSS wishes to control all apparatus of policy making. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Hindu Rashtra is not a religious construct but a Dharmic construct that means governance based on rule of law, ethics and morality, with each individual following his/her dharma, that is duty. Dharma is not religion.

Even when the RSS and its affiliates were not so big, the Congress feared its growth and tried to suppress it immediately after India’s Independence because of its rising popularity. Popularity earned due to its sacrifices and selfless work of saving Hindu-Sikh brethren from the violent Muslim hordes in newly-created Pakistan; and efforts to rehabilitate them. For a party habituated to hogging the limelight, it was not just disturbing but this popularity was also perceived as a threat to its political monopoly. BBC, during those days, noted that if there was one person who could sway the masses besides Nehru, it was Shri Guruji. Thus, began the games of somehow stopping its growth.

Resolutions were passed in by Congress committees of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh to crush RSS, followed by a resolution in AICC to stop RSS work in 1947 itself. A huge proposed state-level camp of RSS in November 1947 was cancelled at the last moment, where Sardar Patel and Shri Guruji were scheduled to come. All this happened despite Guruji’s clear statements including his speech during Vijayadashami of 1947 that RSS had no interest in joining politics. What a reward for an organisation that during Partition was the sword arm of Hindu-Sikhs as The Tribune put it.

The assassination of Gandhiji was a heaven-sent opportunity to crush RSS. Nehruji had declared about a week before this unfortunate tragedy in Amritsar that he would crush RSS. Therefore, inspite of a CID report within a month of this assassination that the RSS had no role to play in either the assassination or any incidents after it, the central government chose to bury the report and the charade to tar the RSS continued.

After the ban was lifted unconditionally, the RSS leadership chose not to counter accusations and concentrated on rebuilding the organisation from scratch. The RSS chief said, “One doesn’t break one’s teeth if they bite our tongue” and asked swayamsevaks to forget and forgive. In this one sided narrative, the Congress and its Left cohorts had a field day blackening and abusing it. Ultimately, the work of RSS spoke and people began respecting and appreciating its positive work for the society and the nation.

After all, what does the RSS want? The RSS wants to organise a united Hindu society that reforms itself of its ills, raise selfless people of high character who take pride in its glorious history; and are ready to work for a prosperous India. This is to be done by sacrificing one’s own ‘tan, man, dhan’ — physical, intellectual and material resources. Physical exercises are to discipline mind and body. Its constitution clearly says that violence has no place and any person found to indulge in any violent act shall be thrown out of the organisation immediately.

For the RSS, any person born and brought up in India who believes that all Indians have common forefathers and loves this country is a Hindu. The RSS is clear that politics is only a part of the social domain. It cannot take care of all the issues of the society. A nation can progress only if society is led by men of character in all fields. RSS wishes to create such men and women. Dr Hedgewar, in answer to a question, had said, “RSS will do nothing. However, the swayamsevaks will do everything.” This is why you see RSS people in every arena of social life, not to control it, but to serve the society in whatever capacity it is possible.

Doctorji used to say, we are not here to celebrate anniversaries of Sangh. He said, we must complete this duty of freeing our nation at the earliest. Even now, RSS leaders say, “We do not wish to celebrate 100 years of Sangh. Our goal is that entire society be awakened and unified.” Dr Hedgewar was clear that RSS would be an organisation of the society, and not an organisation in the society. He would say that the day objectives of Sangh are met, it will merge with the society i.e. it will be ‘Sanghamay samaaj’ i.e. society imbued with Sangh ideals. He wished no name or fame for the organisation.

Hence, after he began RSS work in 1925, he went to jail in the 1930 satyagraha after resigning as the office-bearer of RSS. The same principle was followed when RSS people took part in the 1942 movement and liberation

struggle of Dadra, Daman Diu, Nagar Haveli and Goa. After its sterling role in fighting dictatorship in 1975 that saw thousands of its workers suffer imprisonment and persecution, RSS chief Balasaheb Deoras exhorted people to forget and forgive. Nation comes first.

RSS avoids publicity not because it is secretive but because it believes that propaganda can lead to laxity and may affect work. Propaganda without work can lead to failure of work itself. This cautious approach to media is based on the thinking that we must disseminate the good work not just of RSS but of all well-meaning people, but never go overboard in self-promotion or hyped marketing.

With nearly 36 national organisations inspired by or affiliated with RSS, nearly 1,30,000 seva projects across Bharat and millions of selfless members/swayamsevaks dedicating time and resources for the betterment of the nation, it is but natural that RSS is seen everywhere. But, all this is with a spirit of service with self-sacrifice not for any political gain. There is nothing wrong with RSS, it is the way its detractors look at RSS that is wrong.

Fear of RSS trying to dominate others is a deliberate misrepresentation by vested interests. Preconceived prejudice and scepticism of people who have profited from state patronage makes them suspect this organisation. Once people take off their political glasses and interact with RSS work closely, they will understand that RSS is there to serve, not to dominate or control society.

(Ratan Sharda is an author, columnist, editor and well known TV panelist. He has written four books on the RSS. The views expressed are personal)

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9-minute lights off for solidarity: Indians come together

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Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP - Getty Images

New Delhi, April 5 (IANSlife) As a gesture and acknowledgement to all those who are on the frontlines in the battle against the COVID-19 outbreak, Indians came together for a nine-minute show of solidarity at 9 pm on Sunday.

On the request of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, people across the country switched their lights off, coming out on their rooftops or balconies to light a candle for nine minutes as a salutation for those risking their lives while fighting coronavirus,

The Prime Minister had requested Indians to pay their respects in a video message stating, “We have stood together and fought the coronavirus pandemic togethere We have set an example to the world. In the time of lockdown, we displayed the same unity. Crores of people are in their homes. We might be alone in our homes, but we are not alone in this fight. The Indian society is fighting this together. This Sunday, April 5, we must come together to dissolve the darkness of COVID-19 and bring in light. On April 5, 9pm, I need your nine minutes. Turn off all lights in your home and light lamps, mobile flash lights and torches. We are not alone in this fight. Nobody is alone. But, please do this activity within the confines of your home. Do not violate social distancing.”

India is currently under a 21-day lockdown, imposed by the government, which is one of the strictest steps taken in the fight against the novel coronavirus compared to any other nation in the world.

Many celebrities took to their social media accounts to post pictures in support of what is being called the e#9Baje9Minute’ or e#9pm9minutes’ across online platforms.

Actor Akshay Kumar posted a picture of himself holding a candle at his window commenting, “Together we stand and together we will come out of this dark phase. Till then stay strong, stay safe #9Baje9Minute.” Actors Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh also shared a picture during this time of self-isolation.

Power couple, cricketer Virat Kohli and actress Anushka Sharma also posted a pictue lighting traditional diyas (candles). Virat commented, “A prayer in unity does make a difference. Pray for every being and stand together,” while Anushka wrote, “I light a diya everyday for many years now. And as I light the diya I seek guidance, asking for the darkness in me to be dispelled. For many days since the turn of the recent events across the world, I have prayed to God to end the suffering of so many who are losing their lives without their families beside them, for the less-fortunate and the needy whose lives have turned upside down completely, for all the healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly & bravely to protect the lives of other beings, for those who are uncertain about their jobs and future. So tonight, I prayed extra for everyone and I lit diyas with the whole of India and we all prayed for each other. Prayers never go in vain,” on their respective Instagram posts.

During this time India has seen the cleanest air levels in almost 3 decades as businesses, industries and transport have come to a standstill. However, while most choose to support the activity, many Indians especially in affluent localities or over crowded societies saw this as an opportunity to light fire crackers, creating both noise pollution and air pollution, which was neither the request nor the motive behind the event.

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How important is speech in transmitting coronavirus

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New York: Normal speech by individuals who are asymptomatic but infected with coronavirus may produce enough aerosolized particles to transmit the infection, according to a new study.

Although it’s not yet known how important this is to the spread of COVID-19, it underscores the need for strict social distancing measures, according to the findings, published in the journal Aerosol Science and Technology.

“Aerosols are particles small enough to travel through the air. Ordinary speech creates significant quantities of aerosols from respiratory particles,” said study lead researcher William Ristenpart, Professor at the University of California, Davis in the US.

These respiratory particles are about one micron, or one micrometre, in diameter. That’s too small to see with the naked eye but large enough to carry viruses such as influenza or SARS-CoV-2.

Last year, Ristenpart, graduate student Sima Asadi and colleagues published a paper showing that the louder one speaks, the more particles are emitted and that some individuals are “superemitters” who give off up to 10 times as many particles as others.

The reasons for this are not yet clear.AIn a follow-up study published in January in PLOS One, they investigated which speech sounds are associated with the most particles.

Calculating just how easily a virus-like SARS-CoV-2 spreads through droplets requires expertise from different fields, the study said.

From virology, researchers need to know how many viruses are in lung fluids, how easily they form into droplets and how many viruses are needed to start an infection.

Aerosol scientists can study how far droplets travel once expelled, how they are affected by air motion in a room and how fast they settle out due to gravity.

“The aerosol science community needs to step up and tackle the current challenge presented by COVID-19, and also help better prepare us for inevitable future pandemics,” the researchers concluded.

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Can water treatment methods kill COVID-19 virus?

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New York, April 4 : As some coronavirus, including the deadly SARS-CoV-19 one responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, can remain infectious for days — or even longer in sewage and drinking water — researchers have called for more testing to determine whether water treatment methods are effective in killing coronavirus.

The virus can be transported in microscopic water droplets, or aerosols, which enter the air through evaporation or spray, the researchers wrote in an editorial for Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, a leading environmental journal.

The researchers — Haizhou Liu, Associate Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Riverside in the US; and Professor Vincenzo Naddeo, Director of the Sanitary Environmental Engineering Division at the University of Salerno in Italy — suggest governments of developed countries must support and finance water and sanitation systems wherever they are needed.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlights the urgent need for a careful evaluation of the fate and control of this contagious virus in the environment,” Liu said.

“Environmental engineers like us are well positioned to apply our expertise to address these needs with international collaborations to protect public health,” Liu said.

During a 2003 SARS outbreak in Hong Kong, a sewage leak caused a cluster of cases through aerosolisation.

Though no known cases of COVID-19 have been caused by sewage leaks, the novel coronavirus is closely related to the one that causes SARS, and infection via this route could be possible.

In fact, traces of the novel coronavirus have been found in some wastewater treatment plants in the Netherlands, according to reports.

Fortunately, most water treatment routines are thought to kill or remove coronaviruses effectively in both drinking and wastewater.

Oxidation with hypochlorous acid or peracetic acid, and inactivation by ultraviolet irradiation, as well as chlorine, are thought to kill coronaviruses.

In wastewater treatment plants that use membrane bioreactors, the synergistic effects of beneficial microorganisms and the physical separation of suspended solids filter out viruses concentrated in the sewage sludge.

Liu and Naddeo cautioned, however, that most of these methods have not been studied for effectiveness specifically on SARS-CoV-19 and other coronaviruses, and they have called for additional research.

They also suggested upgrading existing water and wastewater treatment infrastructure in outbreak hot spots, which possibly receive coronavirus from places such as hospitals, community clinics, and nursing homes.

For example, energy-efficient, light-emitting, diode-based, ultraviolet point-of-use systems could disinfect water before it enters the public treatment system.

Potable water-reuse systems, which purify wastewater back into tap water, also need thorough investigation for coronavirus removal, and possibly new regulatory standards for disinfection, the researchers wrote.

The extent to which viruses can colonise biofilms is also not yet known. Biofilms are thin, slimy bacterial growths that line the pipes of many ageing drinking water systems. Better monitoring of coronaviruses in biofilms might be necessary to prevent outbreaks.

If the novel coronavirus could colonise biofilms that line drinking water systems, showerheads might become a possible source of aerosolised transmission.

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