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Window Seat: Makar Sankranti

16/01/2022 at 7:44 AM

Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti, like several other festivals celebrated across the country show the ‘unity in diversity’ of India.  Makar Sankranti is basically a harvest festival, that celebrates the season of plenty and prosperity, and pays tributes to Sun and rivers, who make it happen. However, due to different crop yield patterns and ancestral lineages, in different regions and culture the celebration and rituals takes different forms.

Makar Sankranti marks the end of the cold winters and ushers in the spring season. The word ‘sankranti’ is derived from the word ‘Sankramana’, meaning a ‘change’. It is also called ‘Makara Sankranti’, as the Sun enters ‘Makara Rasi’ that day. It usually falls on 14th of January every year. The Sun starts its northward journey from the Tropic of Capricorn towards the Tropic of Cancer. This journey is called ‘Uttarayana’, meaning northward march. We, in India, are to the north of the equator. We rejoice on Sankranti Day, because the chilly cold winter comes to a close, and healthy sunny days are about to begin. So on this day Sun God is worshiped. And so are the rivers as they nourish and sustain the crops.

It is celebrated in different names across the country: Bihu in Assam, Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Sankranti in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka, Maghi in Punjab Makar Sankranti in Bengal, Odisha and several states of North India.

Food and festivity are essential parts of this festival. People indulge in activities flying kites to cock-fighting. Foods range from different kinds of sweets to rice-cake preparations.

Tintin

On 10 January, Tintin, the forever young reporter turned 93. Generations of young and young at heart men and women have had become co-travellers of Tintin in his adventurous journey across the world and beyond. From Russia to Congo to America to Tibet and many other places to outer space, he travelled with his dog Snowey and unraveled one mystery after the other.  Adventures of Tintin have been the source of a wide range of adaptations, in theatre, radio, television, cinema, and computer gaming for decades.

It was in 1929 when ‘Tintin in the Land of the Soviets’ began to be serialised in Le Petit Vingtieme,  the weekly youth supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle (“The Twentieth Century”) from 1928 to 1940.

The famed series by Belgian cartoonist Herge (Georges Prosper Remi, 1907-1983; Herge came from the French pronunciation of his initials) is considered to be one of the most popular comics of the 20th century.

It had given rise to many interesting theories and tales. It was construed as propaganda material. In 2017, Vincent Cespedes, a French philosopher, painter, pianist and composer made a claim that the beloved comic book character was in fact a girl, and ‘probably asexual’.

A piece of Good News

Amidst the gloom and scare of rising Corona cases across the country, comes a piece of good news- through from a different sector. Forest and tree cover in the country has increased. As per the recently released ‘India State of Forest Report 2021’, forest and tree cover in the country has increased. The report found that there had been a 1540 sq km increase in forest cover and 72 sq km increase in tree cover since the last report in 2019. Total mangrove cover in the country is 4,992 sq km, an increase of 17 sq Km from 2019. In terms of forest cover as percentage of total geographical area, the top five States are Mizoram (84.53%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.33%), Meghalaya (76.00%), Manipur (74.34%) and Nagaland (73.90%).

Odisha with 537 sq km increase is among the top three states in the country that recorded an increase. Andhra Pradesh with an increase of 647 sq km and Telangana with 632 sq km bag the top two positions.

Tailpiece: English and Hindi

English and Hindi always contradict. Just consider the sayings:

English : The sooner the better.

Hindi : Jaldi ka kaam shaitaan ka hota hai.

English : Think of the devil, and the devil is here.

Hindi : Badi lambi umar hai tumhari, abhi tumhe hi yaad kar rahe the.

English : Don’t wait, fight for your rights.

Hindi : Sabra ka fal meetha hota hai.

English : You silly cow!

Hindi : Bichari gaaye jaisi hai.

and the most striking of all,

English : As wise as an owl.

Hindi : Ullu ka pattha.

However, on one condition majority of the Hindi-speakers speak English- after couples of pegs go down their throat.

About the Author:

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

He can be reached at mrinalchatterjeeiimc@gmail.com

DISCLAIMER

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

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