Dr Anchal Gupta has a clear vision for India

By Nikita Sawant for Femina

Dr Anchal Gupta has a clear vision for India

Dr Anchal Gupta

(Photo/Credit: http://www.femina.in)

As a child, Anchal Gupta’s favourite games included playing doctor and giving injections and medicines to her many imaginary patients. She grew up watching her father, an orthopaedic surgeon, often treating villagers for free, and her mother, a teacher, teaching children of labourers. Thus, for Gupta, helping others was a part and parcel of her life. Admittedly a very sincere girl, becoming a doctor wasn’t just a dream, but a goal she cherished and knew she would reach. At 26, Gupta got her MS degree in ophthalmology. By 28, she had finished her super specialisation in cornea and refractive surgery.

Dr Anchal Gupta

(Photo/Credit: http://www.femina.in)

But how did Gupta decide that she wanted to be an ophthalmologist? She recalls, “As a child, I used to wear glasses of a very high power. On visits to my ophthalmologist, I used to see people brought in supported by others because they couldn’t see, and I would think for hours about how incomplete life might be without being able to see. Even worse was the fact that there were treatments for certain conditions but people couldn’t afford them. All I wanted was to grow up and help these people.”

[…]

Read the full article at https://www.femina.in/achievers/dr-anchal-gupta-has-a-clear-vision-for-india-89198-1.html

Source: www.femina.in

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Muslim composers who enriched classical music

By V. Sriram for The Hindu

Written with a knowledge of grammar and aesthetics, their songs are immortal

The Hazarath Gunangudi Masthan Sahib Dargah (Kunangudi Mastan Sahib Dargah) at Royapuram in Chennai
The Hazarath Gunangudi Masthan Sahib Dargah at Royapuram in Chennai (Photo/Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam)

If you think of the Muslim link to Carnatic classical music, Sheikh Chinna Moula and his descendants and disciples are the first that come to mind. In the 1970s, T.M. Abdul Azeez was a violin accompanist on the Carnatic platform. He is now settled in Kerala, where he teaches music. Abraham Pandithar’s Karunamirtha Sagaram (1917) lists a few Mohammedan names as performing artistes though it is difficult to fathom now if they were performing in the Hindustani or Carnatic styles.

Gulab Mantil is one — he claimed to be a descendant of Mian Tansen of Akbar’s Court and was under the patronage of the Sivaganga rulers. He was adept at various instruments. On Chottu Mian there is no information other than the fact that he was a good singer of Hindustani Music. Nannu Mian and Mirali are listed as brothers, who were noted for their skill on the dholak. Closer home, at Tondiarpet we have the dargah of Kunangudi Mastan Sahib who is propitiated with music of the Sufi variety.

Given this background, it was a revelation when PAK Mohammad Sulaiman walked in with PS Ilyas of Kayalpattinam into the Music Academy a month or so ago. The latter had with him a precious possession — a fragile copy of a book published in 1909. Titled Kirtanaranjitham, it was a compilation of songs composed by his grandfather and Mohammad Sulaiman’s great grandfather, PS Muhammad Abdullah Labbai. It was printed at the Kalarathnakara Press, Madras.

Read the full article at www.thehindu.com/society/faith/muslim-composers-who-enriched-classical-music/article24161991.ece

Source: www.thehindu.com

Colin Grant: five books about the Windrush generation

By Colin Grant for The Guardian

Colin Grant is writing a book about Caribbean migration to Britain to be published in 2019.

Sam Selvon’s daring use of dialect, VS Naipaul’s ‘shipwrecked men’, and the imagined voices of passengers aboard boats bound for England

Empire Windrush arrival Tilbury 22 June 1948.

Hope and anxiety … the Empire Windrush on arrival at the Port of Tilbury on the Thames on 22 June 1948. (Credit/Photo: Alamy Stock Photo)

Caribbean writing took a giant leap forward in 1948. The passengers disembarking from the Empire Windrush that year, recorded by British Pathé newsreel, signalled their metropolitan ambitions in stylish zoot suits with double-breasted jackets and fedora hats, rarely worn in Jamaica or Trinidad. Some of those pioneering émigrés found their way to the BBC World Service. There were few outlets for creative writing in the colonial West Indies; and the far-sighted BBC radio programme Caribbean Voices provided a platform, financial reward and critical appraisal for poems and short stories set in the region, boosting the fledgling careers of writers including George Lamming, VS Naipaul and Sam Selvon.

In between “swabbing out the shithouse” of various private clubs, Selvon penned The Lonely Londoners, a gold standard of wry, empathetic writing. His characters navigate the forbidding landscape of penury, piecemeal work and estrangement with mordant wit and comic pragmatism. The Lonely Londoners is one of the first Caribbean novels to consistently use dialect. Selvon’s daring is evident throughout, but never more so than when an impoverished migrant kidnaps a gull from Trafalgar Square and prepares it for his cooking pot.

Selvon’s Trinidad-born compatriot Naipaul also possessed rich comic writing potential but in A Way in the World – an autobiographical work with composite characters – he sneers at these Caribbean voyagers who he imagines are pitiful “shipwrecked men”. Naipaul’s proxy narrator strikes an unsettling chord as he recalls the black men on the streets of 50s London “in pin-stripe suits and bowler hats, with absurd accents”.

There’s a tendency as we age to tidy up anecdotes and cloak ourselves in a veil of respectability. But Wallace Collins’s Jamaican Migrant is the raw, unvarnished testimony of a West Indian abroad. At times Collins appears to step from the pages of Lonely Londoners in his depiction of postwar squalor – a world of fetid fumes from paraffin heaters, crammed tenements and basement shebeens. Ultimately he celebrates West Indians whose vitality is a threat to the host population – to starched lives yet to recover from the indignities of rationing.

[…]

Read more at www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/25/colin-grant-books-windrush-generation

Source: www.theguardian.com

India among nations sans paid paternity leave: UNICEF

By the Press Trust of India for the Deccan Herald

India and Nigeria, which have high infant populations, are among the 92 countries do not have national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies. (File photo)

India and Nigeria, which have high infant populations, are among the 92 countries that do not have national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies (Photo/Credit: http://www.deccanherald.com)

India is among almost 90 countries in the world without national policies in place that ensure new fathers get adequate paid time off with their newborn babies, according to a new UNICEF analysis.

Almost two-thirds of the world’s children under one-year-old – nearly 90 million – live in countries where their fathers are not entitled by law to a single day of paid paternity leave, the UNICEF analysis said.

The UN agency noted that around the world, momentum for family-friendly policies was growing. It cited the example of India, where officials are proposing a Paternity Benefit Bill for consideration in the next session of Parliament which would allow fathers up to three months of paid paternity leave.

[…]

Read more: https://www.deccanherald.com/international/india-among-over-90-nations-without-paid-paternity-leave-new-dads-unicef-674851.html

Source: www.deccanherald.com

Captain Cook and the ‘Friendly Islands’?

By Margaret Makepeace for the Untold lives blog

Captain Cook and the ‘Friendly Islands’?

Captain Cook first landed in the Tongan islands on 2 October 1773, during his second Pacific voyage. In 1774 he returned for four days and received such a warm welcome that he named Tonga the “Friendly Islands”. However, it is now widely thought that the Tongan chiefs had planned to attack Cook and his crew and seize the Resolution and Adventure.

Cook Add MS 15513 (f.8)
‘Entertainments at Lifuka on the reception of Captain Cook’ by John Webber 1777 British Library Add MS 15513 (f.8) (Credit: http://www.bl.uk)

The first account of the supposed plot against the Resolution was given by William Mariner, a young man serving on the British privateer Port au Prince when it was attacked in Lifuka in 1806. Twenty-six of the crew survived. Mariner was adopted by the chief Finau ‘Ulukalala-‘i-Ma‘ofanga and lived in Tonga for four years. Finau told Mariner that the “Feenow” Cook had known was his father, who had been instrumental in planning an attack on Cook. The plan was called off when the chiefs disagreed about whether to attack under cover of darkness or during the day.

When Mariner returned to London, he was contacted by John Martin, an ethnographically-minded doctor. Together they authored An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands (1817), one of the most accurate accounts of Tongan life in the early 19th century. In the opinion of most scholars, Mariner’s account is accurate. So was the plot to kill Cook in Tonga real, and was Cook so naïve as to be oblivious to the danger? There are some factors to take into account.

When the Port au Prince was attacked in 1806, Tonga had been in the grip of civil war for seven years. The prosperous and scattered people Cook had observed were corralled inside guarded fortresses and slowly starving as harvest after harvest was destroyed by neglect and attacking armies. The different island groups were controlled by warring chiefs, each aware of the advantage which possession of European firearms and iron goods would afford them in their political and economic struggles.

[…]

Read the full blog and cast a glance at the further reading list at http://blogs.bl.uk/untoldlives/2018/06/captain-cook-and-the-friendly-islands.html

Source: blogs.bl.uk

Linton Kwesi Johnson: ‘It was a myth that immigrants didn’t want to fit into British society. We weren’t allowed’

By Decca Aitkenhead for The Guardian

As the Jamaican-born dub poet reflects on decades of race relations in the UK, from the Brixton riots to Windrush, he says young black men carry knives out of fear, and questions how much progress we have made since his time as a teenage Black Panther

‘If the government doesn’t sort out the Windrush situation, they’ll have a fight on their hands’ … Linton Kwesi Johnson.

‘If the government doesn’t sort out the Windrush situation, they’ll have a fight on their hands’ … Linton Kwesi Johnson. (Credit/Photo: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian)

When Linton Kwesi Johnson was a boy, he wanted to grow up to be an accountant. “If I was an accountant,” he chuckles softly, sitting surrounded by piles of books and CDs in his modest south-London terrace house: “I would probably be a multimillionaire by now.” The world, on the other hand, would be considerably poorer.

It is 40 years since the Jamaican-born poet made his debut as a recording artist. The release of Dread Beat an’ Blood – an album of radical political poetry spoken in Jamaican patois, set to a reggae beat – created a new literary genre known as dub poetry, and introduced Johnson, now 65, as the voice of the Windrush generation. Neither he nor his work was universally welcomed. The Spectator memorably accused him of helping “to create a generation of rioters and illiterates” (the magazine was appalled by his phonetic spelling – as in “massakaha” for massacre, say) and he remembers how the police arrested and beat him up. Yet he became only the second living poet to have his work published by Penguin Modern Classics, and was the 2012 winner of the Golden PEN award for his “distinguished service to literature”. Next month, his contribution to the country’s cultural life will be honoured at the Southbank Centre in London – an occasion whose significance has been intensified by events of recent weeks.

Johnson describes himself as a reluctant interviewee. “I’ve got interview fatigue,” he smiles before we have even sat down, and it is true that he can be quite diffident and reserved. But rereading all the interviews he has given over the years, I was struck by how comprehensively they chart each turn in the evolving history of British race relations. From the Black Panther movement to the New Cross fire and Brixton riots of 1981, through the Metropolitan police’s notorious Special Patrol Group, the Stephen Lawrence murder and the Macpherson report, right up to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, Johnson has provided the social commentary absent from so much of the public narrative. Sometimes, he has sounded full of rage – and at other times, more hopeful. I’m curious, therefore, to hear how he would characterise the present moment.

“In terms of our country, it would be foolish to say that we haven’t made some progress. Because we have.” He cites the contrast between the “almost complete and utter indifference to the New Cross fire from mainstream media” with the “huge outpouring of sympathy for people affected by the Grenfell tragedy” and reflects: “I think it’s a measure of how much progress we’ve made; how integrated we are.” Then he pauses. […]

Read the full article at www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/27/linton-kwesi-johnson-brixton-windrush-myth-immigrants-didnt-want-fit-british-society-we-werent-allowed

Source: www.theguardian.com