If you had to describe the world around you using one word, what would you say? Fast? Interconnected? Advanced? Chaotic, maybe? Anxious even? Well, anxiety has become widespread in today’s world. And it is even more visible as the awareness about mental health is increasing. Although we don’t talk about it as much, mental health disorders are responsible for a large number of deaths worldwide. According to the World Health Organisation, China is the most depressed country in the world, followed by India.
Category: Society & Culture Page 1 of 13
How often do we hear or say, “Oh God where did the week go?” or “What? It has been a year already”. Perhaps, all of this is not because time is moving faster but because we are. The present times are defined by speed. The age-old adage of slow and steady winning the race no longer holds true in today’s world. With a low attention span and an even lower level of patience, ours is a generation that loves speed. Society has been sped up exponentially and it is becoming harder and harder to slow down. Moments pass by in the blink of an eye and we don’t even give a thought to whether things are moving in the right direction.
Textiles and embroidery have been a part of Indian culture for centuries. Different types of these have written references from more than 1,000 years ago. In this article, we will be focusing on Phulkari in particular. It is a folk embroidery prevalent in the state of Punjab and an intricate part of their culture both in India and Pakistan. Phulkari refers to Phul (flower) + Akari (work). For a long time, it was never intended to be fabricated for sale and was therefore used for fulfilling domestic requirements. Every embroidery was a reflection of the rural lives of women and was unique.
When one hears the word ‘khadi’, the first thing that springs up to mind is Mahatma Gandhi and the Swadeshi movement that he led. The fabric is a symbol of Indian textile heritage that embodies a worldview of the past as well as of the future. Khadi has been linked for a long time with India’s freedom struggle and politics. Although a hand-woven fabric, it has a legendary meaning and relationship to India’s freedom struggle. It has a long winding history and the evidence of its presence came from Mohenjodaro and the Indus Valley Civilization. However, Khadi came in limelight as a pure hand-woven native fabric during the Swadeshi movement led by Mahatma Gandhi.
The Indian Army, the armed forces, have a rich history and a glorious past, dating back to even more than a century. It had participated in a number of battles around the world and earned honors, both before and after Independence. Within the organization the culture that prevails, offers very less opportunity to raise voice or oppose things. But from outside the picture looks rosy and the culture is ideal. Even a minor improvement will pay rich dividends to the society and the nation. After so many years of independence, we must analyze these problems.
Prolific and diverse, the Indian film industry produces more movies than any other country – about 1500 or more annually, which is more than twice as many as Hollywood does. Popular Hindi cinema has always played a key role in defining and designing people’s minds towards the nation. The Bombay film industry, now called Bollywood, seems to be officially ignited by a passion: nation-building through cinema. Yeah, the josh is high.
So what is actually “nation-building cinema” – a tad different from nationalistic cinema, in which we’ve been drowning in the last few years. Is current nation-building about highlighting government policies and ‘achievements’ like Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, Sui Dhaga, and Padman—the three films that have clearly been the inspiration for the PM’s initiative? Are we moving towards a “Modi-an” Indian cinema? Will more such films be consciously churned out? Will the government fund or tax-exempt them as it did Toilet and Padman? This turns out to be actually a win-win deal for both a government seeking publicity as well as Bollywood—which is why perhaps the latter is enthused by the prospect of doing Films Division newsreels in feature film form.
Americans owe about $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. That’s about twice the current budget for the Defense Department and around 22 times the budget for the Education Department. The prime question is – why is college so expensive? In 1965, the US government passed the Higher Education Act, which was supposed to encourage the students to go to college. The US Government told the universities that they would personally guarantee student loans. When the colleges heard this, they got assured that they would be paid, no matter the cost, thus they raised their prices. After all, the government isn’t a money-making entity and so they are just managing their finances by playing with the citizens’ money.
In 2020, President Emmanuel Macron’s reaction to the terror attack outside Charlie Hebdo’s old office received sharp criticism from the Islamic world and the American-Anglo media. What his words and the French republic’s reaction did is open up a debate on liberal and radical secularism in western society. Since India’s independence in 1947, we have been grappling with the idea of secularism and its practices. Whether it’s the implementation of the Uniform Civil Code, the demand for states based on religious lines such as Kashmir or Khalistan, or the Babri Masjid demolition of 1992 – what we clearly know by now is that the Indian state does not know how to deal with religion and secularism. Let’s delve deeper to understand why.
Liberal secularism is the belief in separating religion from political discourse. It believes that religion is personal and as a cultural aspect, it must be accepted as an individual choice of how one wishes to follow it. In other words, it is democratic and free. In a democracy, it is very important for individuals to retain personal freedom in how they identify themselves and if that identity is based on religion, they should have the freedom to follow it. Radical secularism is the complete opposite – it is undemocratic and believes in removing religion completely from the public sphere. To many, especially in the case of France, radical secularism should not be practiced since it prevents minorities from having their separate identity in a multi-cultural society.