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Meet The First ‘Indian’ – Sneha Parthibaraja

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Meet The First 'Indian' - Sneha Parthibaraja

Whenever, wherever you move in India, a frequently asked question, what is your caste? Even in any application form whether it belongs to services or a school form, they ask for your rank. We all somewhere down the line criticise it whenever we have to face it. However, the hypocrite in us never speaks out against it because who will spoil and kill their precious time for so-called social issues. It might be because somewhere we all are right as this social issue thing is a pothole which is very deep with infinite depth.

The beauty of this world is that we appreciate the people and forget about them after two weeks. We discuss the issues and forget as soon as we exit the place. But among all of us where we all are busy in criticising and abusing others just for the sake of soothing ourselves, some people in our country are working on these social issues and standing against all these social barriers. Among these people, one of them is Sneha Parthibaraja, a 35 years old lawyer in Tamil Nadu. She crossed all the boundaries by becoming the first woman in the country to acquire an official certificate of ‘no caste, no religion.’

Who Is Sneha, the LAWYER?

The caste system which has been abolished in 1950, is still there in India. Here we still have to fill the column in ‘caste’ and ‘religion’, and sometimes you won’t get the option to keep it empty. A lawyer from Tamil Nadu, got her wings fly as she can now choose not to answer these in any forms as she officially has ‘no caste, no religion.’ For Sneha, the refusal of religion and caste values was inherited from her parents. Her father was born in a family of Marxists, and her mother grew up in a traditional family. The couple decided to raise their child in a different culture where no caste or no religion will spread or overcome her life with any hatred.

On February 5th, Sneha Parthibaraja, a 35-year-old lawyer, won her nine years old battle against this caste and religion form by getting the certificate of ‘No caste, No religion.’ She was brought up in a family who did not believe in any caste or religion or cultural perspectives. All her certificates and documents, including birth and school certificates, have blank against the “caste” and “religion” columns and mention herself always as Indian.

Battle Against Government

“So, this is my lifestyle from the beginning. If this is how we live, then why shouldn’t we get a ‘no caste, no religion’ certificate in place of a community certificate,” Sneha stated in one of her interviews after winning this battle.

A community certificate defines that a person belongs to what minority community like Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, and Other Backward Classes. Community certificate is issued by the State Governments concerned, and it is also known as caste certificate.

It took her nine years to acquire this ‘no caste, no religion’ certificate. She has been writing letters to the Tehsildar, requesting a no-community certificate in the beginning. However, not only she had to face rejection, they were barely interested. After multiple attempts, she applied by employing a procedure they adopted for a community certificate in 2017. The officials didn’t have a choice, but to answer the letter as it was numbered. They initially told her that there was no precedent for it, and raised questions like, ‘what is the use of this certificate’ and ‘we cannot agree to give you one without any particular reason’,”

Fighting the long process and dominant authority, she was able to convince the authorities that she wasn’t going to utilise this certificate for any advantageous purposes, she will neither misuse it nor misguide anyone via the No caste certificate. “By this certificate, I wasn’t going to steal or take away any benefits from anyone else. It is my identity and an acknowledgement of my life,” she says. This explanation convinced the Sub-Collector and Tehsildar of her intentions to get this certificate.

“She wanted to be certified as no caste and no religion. We had to check if her assertions were true. We verified all her school and college documents and found the two columns blank. So, though we found no precedent, we decided to go ahead and certify her as it will not affect anybody or take away another person’s opportunity,” said B. PriyankaPankajam, Sub-Collector of Tirupattur, Tamil Nadu.

No one can win anything alone; the support of the dear ones is always the strength of pillar required to any individual. In her pursuit of this certificate, her strength was her husband K. Parthiba Raja, a Tamil professor, who helped her and supported her a lot.

Can other citizen avail this certificate?

Her records have always reflected with no caste or religion. Those who haven’t had a caste or community stated in any of their certificates and documents can follow the procedure. But with those who have the cast suggesting they need to find a different way through the judicial system. Officials like the Sub Collector and Tehsildar don’t have the authority to revoke the certificates they have already given out. They also need the legal procedure for it, as explained by Sneha.

Through the writ, Sneha seeks a judicial or government order. She believes that this will hopefully layout a procedure whereby people who are willing to get a ‘no caste, no religion’ certificate can acquire one. Not everyone can get this certificate. The authorities whom she applied to used their discretionary powers. Not every Tehsildar and Sub Collector will encourage this sort of application.

No doubt caste and religion and this diversity factor is the strongest pillar of our Incredible India, but what if the pillars get rusted? Either you have the option to rebuild them or remove away the disparity. ‘Ways Are Always Two, but Choice is Always for One.’ So you decide either to go this way or that way.

Might be her fight is over but the social battle isn’t over. There is yet a lot to be done, and a lot to be thought and work upon. So decide before the rust eats up the whole pillar.

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Watch: Rajasthan Teachers Travel By Camel To Reach Kids Without Mobile, Internet

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Rajasthan Teacher COVID Teaching | News Aur Chai

Smartphones and internet connections may have become a necessity in metro cities, but they still remain a thing of luxury for many living in rural India. The pandemic has made us more reliant on technology. Though many are privileged to attend offices and classes in the comfort of their homes, there are people who don’t have access to these basic facilities in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To overcome such a challenge, teachers in Rajasthan’s Barmer district have been travelling 10-12 kilometres, on camels, to reach the homes of their students.

In Rajasthan’s western-most district, there are many hamlets, where children have limited access to mobile phones and networks.

“Out of 75 lakh students, many do not have mobile phones. So the state government has decided that teachers will go to their homes once a week for class 1-8, and twice a week for class 9-12,” said Saurav Swami, Director of Rajasthan Education Department.

To bridge the digital divide, the Rajasthan Education Department has launched a unique initiative – ‘Aao Ghar Se Seekhein (come, let’s learn from home)’.

Under this programme, the teachers are going to the homes of the children located in small hamlets and holding the classes on the ground. The sandy terrain makes it extremely difficult for the teachers to reach the students via roadways. Hence, they are using camels to crossover the sand dunes.

A study showed that nearly 13 lakh children in Rajasthan have missed schooling in the one-and-a-half years of the pandemic. These are kids who have no access to mobile phones, so they can’t attend online classes, which are advised due to the highly transmissible nature of the COVID-19 virus.

They are also children from remote villages and hamlets where they are unable to join learning through TV and radio.

Education has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. While a learning crisis had already existed in the country, the COVID-19 has further worsened the state of the educational system.

Amid such testing times, the programme is being appreciated by the beneficiaries.

“I salute and thank this team of teachers. This should be continued further,” said. Roop Singh Jhakad, Principal, Government Higher Senior School, Bhimthal.


(With Inputs From Agency)

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Corona

“Not All Heroes Have BatMobiles, Some Of Them Have AutoRickshaws”: Autos Convert To Ambulances

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Auto Rickshaw Turns Into Ambulance II News Aur Chai

As the second wave of the virus spreads through India, thousands are getting infected and admitted into various medical facilities all over the country. With the second wave, many families have broken beyond repair. The loss of life has been saddening and daunting for India as it continues to fight the virus.

While the Government believes that the situation is “under control”, the health infrastructure has reached its breaking point while tending to every patient. The local superheroes have taken on themselves to enter the battlefield and save as many lives as possible. These superheroes are none other than our beloved Auto Rickshaw drivers.

India has always been a country where most of the population depends on local transportation for their various commutes within the cities, from Mumbai Local Trains to buses and Auto Rickshaws. They are the bloodline of cities that makes the city up and going for work all day for years now.

All of us have an abundance of attachment towards the Mumbai Local trains. It’s an experience that everyone tends to have when in Mumbai. The feeling of happiness you get when your Ola Auto driver doesn’t cancel your ride after an exhausting day at college or work is just inexpressible.

Due to the pandemic, Local transportation is another victim facing the brunt of the virus. Many lives have been affected in the sector, resulting in unemployment for several workers. Yet, our brave Auto Drivers have taken matters into their hands and decided to help people in their city in their unique way.

Reportedly, Auto drivers across the country have converted their Auto Rickshaws into oxygenated ambulances. They provide their services to households facing an issue to get immediate medical help or transportation from the hospitals due to the rush in the Emergency wards.

These oxygenated ambulances have support facilities that can last 6-7 hours and have equipped their ambulances with a PPE kit along with a plastic shield that separates the driver and the patient for safety precautions. The emergency kit includes an oxygen cylinder, oximeter, and sanitiser to provide immediate relief to the patient. Most of these drivers aren’t affiliated with any Non-Governmental Organisations or any other Covid relief groups. They have formed a community to cover localities in the city to reach maximum patients and help save lives.

The Auto-Drivers have been kind enough to provide these services for free. One such example is Javed Mohammed Khan, a citizen of Bhopal Madhya Pradesh. He recently told Quartz India that he believes that money can be managed later. At this point, saving lives is more important. He was motivated to convert his auto into an ambulance by the number of posts and messages he witnessed on his Facebook and WhatsApp regarding the increasing emergency cases and the unavailability of oxygen beds in the city. His act of kindness saved the lives of many people even though it cost him his livelihood.

Similar cases have been reported in Pune, where the auto drivers have initiated a community group called “Jugaad Ambulances,” where drivers provide three oxygen cylinders in their ambulance. They help patients reach a hospital with available oxygen beds for further medical attention. In Pune, 100 such auto drivers are similarly equipped to help the patients safely transfer them to the hospitals. The charges for these services are minimal and free of cost for the poor, reported ANI.

The idea of Auto Ambulances progressed during the second wave. Some auto drivers had been offering these services since the lockdown in March last year. Jitendra Shinde, an auto driver from Kolhapur, Maharashtra, has been helping people with his ambulance since the previous year. He has ferried almost 1000 Covid patients to the hospital.

The reason behind his involvement is that he lost his parents at a young age. He understands the pain of losing family and thus wanted to help prevent loss of life in his city and started to help by using his Auto Rickshaw to ferry the patients back and forth from the hospitals. This act of kindness cost him a 2lakh rupee, but he believes in saving people rather than worrying about the finances.

These local superheroes are putting in extra effort to train themselves on how to read the oximeter and help patients use the oxygen mask even—other essential steps are being followed up in this training. Hence, they help the severe patients with utmost safety until they reach the hospital.

In Maharashtra, these activities are self-initiated. Whereas, In New Delhi, the state government launched a similar service. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member Sanjay Singh started with ten auto-ambulances and collaborated with a Delhi-based NGO called the TYCIA Foundation (Turn Your Concern Into Action Foundation). These auto-ambulances can carry mild-symptomatic patients with oxygen saturation levels between 85 and 90. These auto-ambulances have circulated their mobile numbers in various WhatsApp groups and Facebook pages for immediate help or transfer to the hospital.

 

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Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti: Peek Into Kabiguru’s Life

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Rabindranath Tagore II News Aur Chai

Rabindranath Tagore, popularly known as “Kabiguru”, was born on May 7, 1861, in Kolkata at Tagore Lahne, Jorashanko Thakur Bari. His father was Debendranath Tagore, and his mother was Sharada Devi. Tagore was a Bengali Brahman and was fondly called by his nickname was “Rab”, or “Rabi”. His name is also written as Rabindranath Thakur in many languages of India. He was an artist, philosopher and poet. He wrote numerous stories, novels, poems and dramas and is also known for composing music. His writings mainly influenced the Bengali culture during the 19th and 20th century. His pen name was Bhanu Singha Thakur (Bhonita). He was the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.

He wrote his first poem at the age of eight. In 1877, Tagore published his first extensive poetry collection and wrote his first short story and drama at the age of sixteen. Tagore also composed many literary works. He also wrote a long poem in Maithili (the language spoken by the people of Mithila, India).

Tagore went to London and enrolled at a public school in Brighton, England, in the year 1878. Tagore wanted to become a barrister, but in 1880, he did not do well in school, and his father called him back from London. On December 9, 1883, Tagore got married to a girl of ten years, Mrinalini Devi. They had five children together, but two of them died in their childhood. During 1878 and 1932, Tagore visited thirty countries across five continents. Tagore wrote around 2,230 songs. His songs and music cover aspects of human emotion, devotional hymns and love songs. “Gitanjali” and “Jeevan Smriti”  by Tagore are still cherished today. Tagore was also known as “Gurudev” and “Bard of Bengal”.

Here are a few things that you need to about him-

  • He is the only person who has written anthems for three countries:
  1. Jana Gana Mana, the National anthem of India.
  2. Amar Shonar Bangla, the National anthem of Bangladesh.
  3. Sri Lanka Matha, the National anthem of Sri Lanka.

 

  • Rabindranath Tagore was not only the first Asian to win a Noble prize but also the first non-European to mark his prominence in literature.
  • He invested his Noble prize money in constructing the school “VisvaBharati” in Shantiniketan.

 

  • In his last years, Tagore took up drawing and painting, and his works were successfully exhibited throughout Europe.

 

  • He was knighted in 1915 by the King George V of England, for his extraordinary contributions to literature. But after the tragic massacre of Jallianwala Bagh in 1919, Tagore renounced his title.
  • Tagore’s Literary Works Find Global Recognition

 

  • The literary works of Tagore are translated into many other languages, and it also found acceptance in the West. Tagore’s poetries, philosophy and political beliefs are studied all over the world, even today.

 

  • Rabindranath Tagore has inspired many generations through his writings, poetry and thoughts. ‘Gitanjali’ by Rabindranath Tagore was published in 1910; it was translated and published into English in 1912. Some of his timeless poems continue to resonate with his creative charm and are still relevant.

Literature II Rabindranath Tagore II News Aur Chai

LATER YEARS AND DEATH

Tagore wrote a hundred-line poem about poverty in Kolkata.  Tagore wrote fifteen volumes of prose poems.  Tagore took an interest in science and essays in his later years. The health of Tagore in his last four years was deplorable. In late 1937, he lost consciousness. He was in a coma for a long time. Eventually, he woke up, but after three years, he went back into a coma. During these years, whenever he was conscious, he wrote poems. He wrote poems about how he came close to death. On August 7, 1941, at the age of 80, Rabindranath Tagore died in his childhood home in Kolkata.

Poem II Rabindranath Tagore

RABINDRANATH TAGORE JAYANTI AMIDST THE PANDEMIC

A senior official said that due to the ongoing lockdown to fight with COVID-19, the West Bengal government has decided to celebrate the birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore less colourfully.  The state government will observe the occasion of Rabindra Jayanti at 4 PM on May 8. The honourable chief minister will remain present at the programme. A big celebration like other years, social gatherings will not be allowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The chief minister will garland the statue of Tagore, and the stage for singing will not be there, the official said.

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