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Window Seat: Gandhi Jayanti

26/09/2021 at 5:35 AM

We are celebrating Gandhi Jayanti at a time, when the world is reeling under violence creating humanitarian crisis hot spots.  The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has released its 2021 Emergency Watchlist, a global list of humanitarian crises that are expected to deteriorate the most over the coming year. The triple threat of conflict, climate change and COVID-19 is driving the crises in nearly all Emergency Watch list countries, threatening famine in several in 2021.

There are several countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America which are facing grave humanitarian crisis. Hundreds of thousands are starving. Many are being subjected to brutal oppression. Many are migrating to other countries leaving their home and hearth.

Violence has a stiff cost. Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) estimates the economic impact of violence and conflict on the global economy. In 2019, it was estimated to be $14.4 trillion. This is equivalent to 10.5 % of the global gross domestic product (GDP) or $1,895 (Rs 1. 38 lakh) per person.

Violence not only has a direct impact on the economy, but it also reduces the positive benefits that peacefulness has on the macroeconomic performance of countries.

Social cost of violence includes stunted social growth, lack of happiness, rise of anxiety and animosity, leading to further violence.

Globally, the numbers of those forced to leave their homes due to war, persecution or natural disaster have reached staggering heights: at the end of 2014, United Nations estimated 19.5 million of these are people who have fled their country as refugees and half of them are children.

More than 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by violent conflict, and the gap between those countries enjoying relative peace and those afflicted by conflict is growing.

Violence has a civizinational cost too. The social, cultural and spiritual growth halts. The society regresses.

We must have peace in the world. It is our only hope for survival. We must remember Gandhi’s teachings and work on that, for he had given us the roadmap to have peace in the world.

Bhagat Singh

The nation pays homage to Bhagat Singh on his birth anniversary on 28 September. The revolutionary freedom fighter Bhagat Singh lived for just 23 years. Born on 1907 at the village Banga in Lyallpur district in Punjab (in present day Pakistan) he was hanged on conspiracy charges on 23 March 1931 at Lahore jail.

He ignited the fire of freedom and liberty in the hearts of millions of India across the country. His life has been well documented. Several commercial films have been made on his short but dramatic life, Shaheed-e-Azad Bhagat Singh being the first. It was made in 1954- after 23 years of his death. Mohammed Rafi’s ‘Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna Ab Hamaare Dil Mein Hai’ from the film went on to become an all-time hit.  

However, not many people know that Bhagat Singh also worked as a journalist. Bhagat Singh worked as a journalist first in Pratap in Kanpur and later with Kirti journal in Punjab”. Kirti was the journal of the Kirti Kisan Party (“Workers and Peasants Party”, which worked within the Indian National Congress). Bhagat Singh also worked briefly for the Veer Arjun newspaper in Delhi.

Bhagat Singh and his colleagues wrote mainly for newspapers and journals including PratapBande MataramKirti (Punjabi) and Matwale. To escape detection, he used several pen names including Balwant Singh, Vidrohi and B.S. Sindhu.

One of Bhagat Singh’s colleagues, Bhagwati Charan Vohra, was also an accomplished writer. His wife, Durga Devi, and her sister, Susheela, were also freedom fighters. In some writings under pen names, it is not clear who was the main author, or whether it was a joint effort of several close colleagues.

Besides journalistic writings, Bhagat Singh wrote books and articles in pamphlets. The most well-known of his books- Why I am an Atheist was written when he was serving his jail time. The book is an essay by him that he wrote in 1930 when he was in Lahore Central Jail. It was published in 1931 after his death. The full text of the essay is available online. Interested readers may peruse.

Manorama Mahapatra

Eminent litterateur, social worker and former editor of one of most respected Odia newspapers ‘The Samaja’ Manorama Mohapatra passed away on 18 September, Saturday. She was 87 and survived by two daughters and two sons.  

Born on June 10, 1934, Mohapatra worked as a lecturer in Economics in Ravenshaw College. I first met her in early 1980s when she was a senior faculty and an established poet and I was a post-graduate student in English literature just trying my hand in writing fiction. She used to ask us to listen to her poetry, which we dutifully did, for it used to fetch us steaming cups of tea.

She inherited the mantle of editorship of Samaja from her illustrious father Dr Radhanath Rath in 1998. Prior to that, she used to write in Samaja as a columnist.

Mohapatra has more than 40 books and novels to her credit. Her first book ‘Juar Jeiunthi Uthe’(Where the sea rises), a collection of revolutionary poems on women empowerment, was published in 1960. Her literary works include ‘Ardhanareeswara’, ‘Baidehi Visarjita’, ‘Sanghatir Samhita’, ‘Shakti Rupena Sansthita’, ‘Roopam Roopam Pratirupam’, ‘Smruti Chandan’, ‘Samay Purusha’, ‘Smritir Naimisharanya’, ‘Arup Aalo’ in Bengali, ‘Ye Prithvi Sarsajjya’, and ‘Uttara Niruttara’.

She was honoured with Sahitya Akademi Award in 1984, Soviet Nehru Award (1988), Critic Circle of India Award (1990), Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar Samman (1991) and many other awards during her illustrious career.

She was the President of Odisha Sahitya Akademi in 1991, the first woman to hold this post, till 1994.

Tailpiece: Mayajaal of Webinar

If anyone keeps talking into the thin air thinking there are 100 people around listening to him- we used to call it delusion. Now it is called webinar.

About the Author:

Journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, Odisha. He also writes fiction and plays.


This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write up have nothing to do with the www.prameyanews.com

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