IS KYASANUR FOREST DISEASE THE NEXT H1N1?

Kyasanur forest disease or monkey fever is a zoonotic infection commonly seen along the western Ghat region of India , with mortality rate ranging from 4 to 15 % . Though the virus was isolated in 1957 , it was post the wayanad outbreak in 2013 that widespread human causalities were reported . As of April 2015 cases have been reported in Kerala , Karnataka and Goa with higher mortality rates than previously assumed . The rapid spread of the disease over the last two years must have raised alarm among the higher echelons of power , but sadly it is rarely given the due importance . If not addressed immediately it could be the Indian Ebola in the making , as the virus could mutate and start causing human to human transmission .

TRANSMISSION

– monkeys and small mammals like rodents are the main hosts of the disease , and the disease is transmitted through ticks(insect) or when humans come in contact with infected animals.

– infections commonly occur during the clearing of forests for cultivation , when the tick fauna changes dramatically and become infectious . hence it is the forest dwellers and farmers who are the first to get infected.

– Human to Human transmission is rare ( but chances of mutant strains could not be ruled out).

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

– fever, headache, severe muscle pain,cough, dehydration, gastrointestinal symptoms and bleeding problems.

– The second wave of symptoms at the beginning of the third week include fever and signs of encephalitis.

TREATMENT

There are no specific treatment for the disease , the available treatment is supportive in nature.

PREVENTION

prevention methods include use of insect repellents and protective clothing . No specific vaccination is available.

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THE HINDU AND ITS POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER aka DENIAL

This blog have always been critical of the recent far leftist turn of the only “true” national news paper – THE HINDU . Since the last article almost a year back ,  the newspaper is still on the path of self destruction , to make the matter worse it has now started publishing pure speculations and false stories as front page news . Here are some of the picks from the last 3 months –

1 . YES WE DID LIE.

This was the most embarrassing moment for the paper in years , when it misconstrued the front page news to favor its leftist agenda.

2 SARASWATI AND THE OSTRICH

Here are two articles questioning the existence of the river saraswati , one of them by a leading leftist historian.

Here is what new age historians have to say in their books on the issue ( Prof Upinder Singh)

Here is another contradictory evidence , this time from the UPSC , where it called Harrapan civilization , the Indus Saraswati civilization . This question paper is from the 2013 mains exam ( when UPA was in power , hence no question of  saffronisation )

3 . THE FANATICS ATTACK TV STATION

The attack on a news channel by fringe elements in Tamil Nadu made it to the front page . This is a channel that was never heard before and its viewership base hardly existed . Paranoia best describes this article.

4 CHINA IS THE BEST

It is OK for china to spread its culture , but the moment we plan such an endeavor , its Hindu nationalism.

5 THE LAND WITHOUT BEEF 

This could be true , but the source mentioned is irrelevant ( BJP cow protection cell??) , hence a big front page headline is sensationalistic at the best . This is the same newspaper which once mocked Times Of India for its journalistic policies with some quirky ads on YouTube.

6 THE LAND ORDINANCE FLIP FLOPS

This ran for weeks with “sources” giving “exclusive” bytes , with some even going to the extent that the newspaper reported once that the government was planning to let the ordinance lapse.

7 THE MODI GOVERNMENT IS CASH STRAPPED

This article sourced from Reuters have many loopholes , which the newspaper never double checked . Here the Hindu lost its credibility to appease its leftist leanings.

 8 BENGAL CIVIC POLLS – BJP COULD WAS PATHETIC AS IT JUST INCREASE ITS TALLY FROM 3 TO 7 (+233%), BUT LEFT MARGINALLY LOST FROM 25 TO 5 (-80%)

 

The newspaper seems to have never come to terms with the results of the last general elections . Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is common after great tragedies , and denial is one of its symptoms . But one year is a long time especially for a newspaper of its stature.

PERUMAL MURUGAN IS A COWARD

Perumal Murugan, the writer is dead. As he is no God, he is not going to resurrect himself. He also has no faith in rebirth. An ordinary teacher, he will live as P. Murugan. Leave him alone,

since January 13th 2015 this Facebook post has generated considerable debate in the Indian media , The controversy over his novel Madhorubhagan, first published in December 2010 ,and his subsequent decision to quit writing is often portrayed as the brutal attack on freedom of speech guaranteed by our constitution by right wing groups . In the intellectual circles he is often equated with the victims of Charlie Hebdo massacre that took place in Paris on January 7th 2015 . .Comparing him with those brave souls who stood by their views till the end is nothing short of a crime , The magazine have stood by the cartoon of prophet Mohammed it published in 2006 and 2012 in face of all opposition including the attacks of 2011 . Though most of its editorial board were killed in the 2015 attack , it still fights the intolerant society that finds it hard to interpret its message . Perumal Murugan on the other hand quit writing at the slightest of provocations . According to him “a writer cannot function under threat or fear ”  and that was the reason of him writing his own obituary as a writer . This is nothing short of cowardice , as we are entitled to freedom of speech , so is our moral responsibility stand by it .He should have shown the courage to fight the communal forces conspiring against him and must have taken up the issue at the national stage . The biggest mistake he did was to attend the “peace meeting ” on the 12th of January with his caste and religious groups , rather than boycotting it .His unconditional apology thereafter was the greatest shame to the Indian constitution than what he is blaming others for . Post Independence , the constituent assembly was a battle field , the Hindu right opposed the Hindu Code Bill with all its strength both inside and outside the house , but our founding fathers never gave in , which in turn brought the religion out of its coffin.

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Humanity has a general tendency to oppose dissenting voices as soon as they here them , it will take time for them to debate and finally to understand . A true writer is one who not only creates works like  Madhorubhagam but also stands by it .We would find it hard to understand the practices prevalent in the past like the one at  Sri Arthanareeshwarar Temple , Tiruchengode , but it is for people like Perumal Murugan to present it to us . For example , the new generation among  Nair caste of Kerala are often ignorant about the practice of sambadham which was prevalent till a few decades back. If told about the polyandrous nature of their women in the past ,the first reaction would be the similar to what Mr Murugan received .But it will never alter the reality . A writer must be the brave conscience of the society , that is why Mr Perumal Murugan’s following affidavit at the Madras high court shows his cowardice.

I published my own obituary in my Facebook account. Whether others believe in the death of Perumal Murugan as a writer or not, I believe in it. A writer cannot function under threat or fear,

LAND ACQUISITION ACT

Today (17/3/2015) as i write this article (5:50 PM)  , the joint opposition led by Mrs Sonia Gandhi is making its way to the parliament house from Raisina hill  . This rare show of opposition unity is a part of the ongoing campaign against the amendments to The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 ,made by the NDA government through an ordinance in December 2014. To understand the issue  , let us analyze the various land acquisition bills so far.

1.Land Acquisition Act, 1894

The Land Acquisition Act of 1894 came into effect on March 1st 1894 . After independence the law was extended to the rest of India excluding the state of Jammu And Kashmir .The highlights of the bill are:

  • The act is divided into 8 parts , each relating to various procedures involved .
  • Part 2 deals with acquisition which include  preliminary notification in the official gazette by the district Collector , Hearing of objection , Declaration of land for public purposes (after objections are taken into account) , marking out and measuring of land and the final allocation of land .
  • In cases of urgency the collector can acquire the land without any of the following procedures after just 15 days of notification . In case of unforeseen emergency the period can be as short as 48 hours. The quantum of compensation in these cases would be determined by the collector himself.
  • Part 3 explains the reference to the court if compensation was found in adequate .
  • The quantum of compensation depends on – market value and the damage sustained by the owner. But these are to be neglected in urgency .
  • part 5 deals with the payment of compensation.
  • part 7 deals with acquisition of land for companies , which must be public sector enterprises or co operative bodies where the government holding is over 51% of share.

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2 .The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013

This act which came into effect on January 1 , 2014 , was aimed at giving a humane , participative , informed and transparent face to the procedure of land acquisition. The highlights are:

    • It applies to public sector undertakings , infrastructure projects ,public private partnerships and private companies under taking public projects  .
    • For private companies consent of 80% of the affected families is required for acquisition while public private partnerships requires consent of at least 70% of the families.
    • The act is divided into 13 chapters,
    • chapter 2 explains the determination of social impact and public purpose . A social impact assessment study is to be undertaken in consultation with the local government ( panchayats and municipalities ) , which must be made available to the public . The authority responsible for the social impact assessment study must also prepare a social impact management plan to address the impact of the project.
    • The social impact assessment report will be evaluated by an independent multidisciplinary expert group , whose recommendations will be made available to the public.
    • chapter 3 restricts the acquisition of irrigated multi cropped land to safeguard food security.
    • chapter 4 speaks about the notification and acquisition along with the preparation of rehabilitation and resettlement scheme . It also explains the determination of the quantum of compensation along with the guidelines to adjust it to the market value.
    • chapter 5 deals with the rehabilitation and resettlement awards for the affected families , including mandatory employment to the members of such families.special provisions are provided for the SCs and STs .
    • In cases of urgency the collector can acquire the land without any of the following procedures after just 30days of notification . In case of unforeseen emergency the period can be as short as 48 hours.
    • chapter 6 explains the manner and procedure of rehabilitation and resettlement under a commissioner for the purpose.
    • chapter 7 says about the constitution of Monitoring Committees For Rehabilitation and Resettlement at the state and national level.
    • chapter 8 deals with the setting up Land Acquisition , Rehabilitation and Resettlement Authority.
    • chapter 10 explains the payment procedure.
    • If the land acquired remains unutilised for 5 years it would be returned back to the family or to the land bank of appropriate government.
    • The provisions of this Bill shall not apply to acquisitions under 13 existing legislations including the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, the Railways Act, 1989, etc.

3 The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition,Rehabilitation and Resettlement(Amendment) Ordinance, 2014.

  • The provisions of the Bill was extended to apply to acquisitions under 13 existing legislations including the Special Economic Zones Act, 2005, the Atomic Energy Act, 1962, the Railways Act, 1989, etc.
  • Exemption from social impact assessment , consent and food security provisions for the process of land acquisition for strategic and development activities such as national security or defence of India including preparation for defence and defence production; rural infrastructure including electrification; affordable housing and housing for poor; industrial corridors; infrastructure
    and social infrastructure projects including projects under public private partnership where the ownership of the land continues to vest with the Government .
  • In order to ensure better health and educational facilities in the country, it is proposed to include private hospitals and private educational institutions in the definition of ‘public purpose’.

The amendment is being criticized for taking away the social impact assessment , consent and food security provisions . But the government stands by its decision as it believes these provisions would make the acquisition process faster , without loosing its pro poor appeal. The 2013 act is one of the finest pieces of legislation ever made in the field of land acquisition anywhere in the world , hence it is up to the current government to keep the true essence of that legislation in whatever decision it takes

INDIA’S OCEAN

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the two Indian ocean island nations of Seychelles and Mauritius may not have got the media buzzing . But strategically speaking , they are by far the most important ones he have undertaken . As our aspirations are expected to grow over the years , a better relation with our Indian ocean neighbors could prove a game changer in the long run . We are the only country in the world to have an ocean named after us , though the nomenclature may be accidental , geography has it that there is not a single landmass of notable size south of kanyakumari , making us the prime care taker and possibly the potential benefactor of its resources . With the rising east , the trade through this route is only set to increase , making us not just a global power but a significant player in the future multipolar world.

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The primary objective  of any nation is self preservation , with hostile neighbors to the north and west , India cannot have its coastline left undefended . unlike the pacific or the atlantic oceans , the level of militarization of the Indian ocean is still low , Though this could facilitate uninterrupted  free trade but in the longer run it could have fatal as seen with the rising piracy over the horn of Africa .T The united states and Britain do have a military base at Diego garcia in the Indian ocean , but the assertion of power over the entire region was limited, china was the first to initiate a long term military cum trade agenda for the region through the “string of pearls ” initiative . India had never shied away from showing its unease at the opening of a potential hostile front in the south , with the conflict over the control  of the south china sea now heating up ,  India  is compelled to assert itself in the region through its own security initiative. The SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) initiative , aimed at greater engagement with the Indian ocean region was initiated by The Prime Minister , under which the Indian government have signed MoUs for the development of assumption island( Seychelles) and agalela island  (Mauritius)  as trade and defense outposts . The Prime Minister’s visit also coincided with Seychelles and India launching a Coastal Surveillance Radar Project and commissioning of Barracuda into the service of the Coast Guard of Mauritius ,  our first steps to ensure maritime security in the region.

Indian ocean could indeed be India’s ocean if we could use its abundant resources to fulfill our growing demands , The blue economy project aimed at harnessing these resources was extended to these countries , so that our interests are met without harming the nations over the ocean’s rim nor the ocean’s ecology. our passive demeanor over the race for arctic resources has already put us in the back foot . A similar situation in the Indian ocean will be unacceptable , hence pioneering the blue economy initiative to explore the bounties of the ocean is the right step towards India’s resource self sufficiency.

The prime minister’s previous foreign visits were more hyped than the one discussed above , yet his subtle initiatives this time are going to reap huge dividends in the future for India as a nation.

SOCIAL MEDIA REVOLUTIONS – WHY DO THEY FAIL ?

If you are familiar with my blog , it would not be a surprise to know the fact that I am not a huge fan of social networking .For me it is a world far away from reality where everyone assume fake identities to fulfill their perversions . It is like a village assembly in a universe of masked men  , where these men shout their throat out for no reason , as nothing could be tracked back to any particular person , Sadly , the proponents of social media are quiet vocal about the democratization their medium have brought about in the society. This platform they say ,have given voices to millions of grievances , resulting in political upheavals against oppressive regimes and autocratic rulers.  What they fail to recognize is the fact that a crowd of masked men without a convergent ideology is nothing short of a herd of wild animals , which when allowed to roam free will first kill others and then start fighting one another resulting in unending strife.

These social media revolutions start with a sane voice (masked though) , who meticulously analyze a situation and raises her voice against what is the root cause of degradation . initially the analysis is shared among the like minded anonymous members  , Later it is picked up by one or many propaganda machines who adapt it to their whims and fancies , hence growing into a movement  , With every additional member the initial idea gets distorted and when the simmering explodes , sane voices are drowned by a roar , one which makes no sense .Though started in Tunisia in 2011 , it was Egypt that took it to the next level with the power of social media being celebrated at the tahrir square , Millions of Egyptians who took to the streets demanding better economic conditions , soon turned into an anti regime protest , culminating with the resignation of  President Hosni Mubarak . The new Muslim Brotherhood government divided the movement right in the middle turning it into two camps – the brotherhood and the secular . Coptic Christians were the first targets , then the Sunnis started turning on themselves , killing each other in the most barbarous of ways . These fissured lines were used by the people at helm of the previous regime ( The Army) to return to power . Though a full blown civil war was averted , nothing special was gained , Syria was not as lucky . President Bashar Al Assad is no Hosni Mubarak , and like his father he is ready for a long drawn conflict .

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Due to the so called “mass involvement” these social media revolutions  tends to get undue coverage in the real media  . It may also be due to the fact that the mainstream media these days finds sanity irrelevant in front of eye balls .Indian elections last year were the most celebrated in the history , with it Facebook and twitter broke new grounds . Live tweets filled with abuses scrolled our tv screens for over 6 months.  If they were to be believed the Indians would have voted NOTA as our Prime Minister , but at the polling stations masks came off and the country elected a government with a clear mandate for the first time in 30 years . India Against Corruption and its leaders fizzled out at  jantar mantar sittings itself leaving behind the AAP . Though started as a platform on social media aam admi party seems have learnt the lessons of responsible governance leaving behind the utopian society it once preached . Today , Mr Kejriwal , according to me is on the right path as he restructures the AAP  into a political party with himself at the helm .

A narrow , purpose driven revolt without an ideological backbone or a charismatic leader is a recipe for disaster , as is the case with Arab Spring . Many competing ideologies will survive under a single banner in the long run only with a leader of excellent caliber or a team of leaders with a shared vision . The social media makes each and every user a leader , who over time become a liability to the whole purpose in hand . They want change but never really comprehend what this actually means to them , frustrations of all sort are directed against those in power , the resulting anarchy leads to a power vacuum  which ultimately destroys itself.

READ MORE:

SEE GANDHI AS A MAN https://valluvanadtimes.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/the-man-behind-the-idol/

A REAL REVOLUTION https://valluvanadtimes.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/manjhis-bihar/

MANJHI’S BIHAR

It was ironical , watching all the major news channels cater to the suave , urban , Delhi based audience with paparazzi style commentary on an election to a half state half union territory at the expense of a political revolution taking place at the same time in a state with population larger than Germany . The Bihar fiasco deserved better coverage  for its symbolism , that is , The self assertion of the oppressed maha dalits in a state with one of the worst inter caste relationships . The political ramification of this incident holds more importance nationally  than the aam admi party vs BJP hoopla . Though JD(U) civil war was reported , a detailed analysis of the subject was missing beyond Nitish Kumar and Jitan Ram Manjhi.

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Caste is still as relevant to the Hindu society as it was at the time of independence , Though talked about in hush tones these days , it is still observed with great vigor  . Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are most often cited  as the most polarized on caste lines  , ironically other states are no better . Manjhi represents that section of the state which lies below the intermediate castes who had restricted the benefits of affirmative action from reaching those below them and now holds power once held by the upper castes . In the 1990s they started filling up the vacuum created by the flight of the upper castes to large cities by acquiring property left behind , turning them into mini zamindars. on the other hand the dalits , for whom the mechanism of affirmative action have been in place never really benefited . As Jatin Ram Manjhi said he could have remained silent like other Maha dalit leaders in the fear of being sidelined by the yadavs and paswans , as was the case in Bihar ,  But through the coup he pulled over Nitish Kumar , he has broken the stereotype .His assertion against the OBC strongmen , who have become the dominant force throughout the country , could be seen as the culmination of the 65 years of frustration against the system which have become redundant . This could be the beginning of a revolution similar to the awakening of the middle castes which started in Tamil Nadu in 50s , but ironically this time it will be against them. Though the first steps towards this confrontation began a few years back in Tamil Nadu itself , it precipitated itself in Bihar.

This brings us back to the primary question of finding a  more practical solution to the caste problem , Laws could  work only till a point , beyond that it is up to the society . But Indian society from time immemorial have been passive , unless struck by a shock , either from inside  or outside. So we have a society where the numerically strong OBCs hold disproportionate amount of power thanks tto the constitutional safeguards without sharing it with people above or below them in the caste hierarchy . Upper castes rarely show their dissent , may be feeling themselves secured in their apartment blocks or may be due to caste guilt ( Indian counterpart of white guilt ) . It is the Scs who suffer , pushed against the wall , they are slowly turning against the system , In kerala this is manifested by the rise  in RSS membership among the Dalits as the OBCs here are the Muslims and are seen as the oppressors .To avert another caste crisis , at present we don’t have a Buddha or Gandhi amongst us, As long as we aspire to move forward , caste will always be the stumbling block .To this my question is –  Why not abolish the caste system and re engineer our society on a more egalitarian terms ? , This may sound naive but i am speaking with a clear precedent in mind . Till 1951 no one dared to touch the sacred Hindu laws , but  Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr.B R Ambedkar turned the religion around with a set of sane laws in the form of Civil code we follow today . why can’t we start a revolution towards a similar end ? . If it ever happen this could be the first of its kind , where a society transforms itself by a mass effort with out a cult figure , yes , I know  it is far fetched edging on lunatic , but having no choice , it is high time that we reinvent ourselves.

READ MORE

MORE TOILETS https://valluvanadtimes.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/toilets-or-temples/

IF YOU HATE CRICKET https://valluvanadtimes.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/the-other-half/