Window Seat: The Sixth Phase

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 26, 2024 IST

Window Seat: The Sixth Phase

Mrinal Chatterjee 

Phase 6 of the 7-phase Lok Sabha Election 2024 was over on May 25.  Fifty eight constituencies in eight states went to polls with 899 candidates. Some of the prominent constituencies that went to polls in this phase included Sambalpur, Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack in Odisha; New Delhi and North Delhi constituencies in Delhi, Sultanpur and Azamgarh in UP, Anantnag-Rajouri in J&K, Tamluk in West Bengal,  Gurgaon in Haryana, Ranchi in Jharkhand and Paschim Champaran in Bihar.

The hot summer and scorching heat is taking a toll on the voter turnout. The candidates and political party workers are visibly tired and worn-out. India’s general elections have been held between April and May since 1996. But this year the temperature has shot up considerably across the country and there has been a long dry phase to make the situation worse.

While heat waves are generally common during India’s warmest months, rising global temperatures due to climate change have made them more frequent and intense even compared to five years ago, when India last held an election. According to a study, the country averaged annual mean temperature during 1901-2022 showed a significant increasing trend of 0.64 degree Celsius/100 years.

One appeal to the Election Commission: can we have the elections during winter next time.

Summer: the season for fruits

Summer in India, spanning from March to June, is a season of intense heat and vibrant activity. It is characterized by soaring temperatures, often exceeding 40°C (104°F) in many regions, except the Himalayan states and hill stations located in high altitude. This season is bearable because of the fruits it offers like watermelon, mango, jamrul (wax apple or water apple), litchi, grapes and jackfruit to name a few. The summer season ends with pineapple and Jamun. These fruits are rich in water, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. They help to keep the body hydrated, cool, and healthy. Notice nature's way to balance.

Watermelon is rich in an amino acid called citrulline that may help move blood through your body and can lower your blood pressure. Your heart also enjoys the perks of all the lycopene watermelon contains. Studies show that it may lower your risk of heart attacks.

Mango, the king of fruits, is cherished for its sweet, juicy flavor and fragrant aroma. Varieties like Alphonso and Kesar highlight the summer season in India. Rich in vitamins A and C, mangoes are not only delicious but also provide numerous health benefits, making them a beloved summer treat. Doctors ask the diabetic people like me to restrict mango consumption as it may increase blood sugar. But recent research says mango has a low glycaemic index (GI). Foods with a low GI are digested and absorbed more slowly, resulting in gradual increases in blood sugar levels rather than sudden spikes. If you eat up to 100 grams of mango daily, there will be no spike in your blood glucose level. I am happy now.

Jackfruit, the largest tree-borne fruit, is known for its unique texture and sweet flavor. Its yellow, fleshy pods are rich in vitamins A and C, fiber, and antioxidants. Often used in both sweet and savory dishes, jackfruit is versatile and highly nutritious, making it a popular fruit in tropical regions.

Jamun, also known as the Indian blackberry, is a summer fruit cherished for its deep purple color and sweet-tart flavor. Rich in vitamin C, iron, and antioxidants, jamun is known for its health benefits, including aiding digestion and managing blood sugar levels.

Sheik Chinna Moulana Sahib

12 May was the birth centenary of Sheik Chinna Moulana Sahib, popularly known as Sheik. He was arguably among the very best nadaswaram vidwans. The nadaswaram is a double reed wind instrument from South India. It is used as a traditional classical instrument in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala and in the northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka.

Coming from a Muslim family with over 300 years of service to temple music he became the Asthana Vidhwan of two of India's most religiously significant temples - Tirupati and Srirangam.

Pankha

Come summer, my mother searches for her favourite palm leaf hand fan, bought from the local market. I brought a fancy silk hand fan from Madrid, Spain. She has kept it in her almirah and uses the local one.

Hand fans, or "pankhas," are not just a device to circulate air, it is a  symbol of India's rich cultural heritage, serving both practical and artistic purposes throughout history. Originating in ancient times, pankhas have been depicted in various art forms and texts, reflecting their long-standing significance. Traditionally, hand fans were used by royalty and during religious ceremonies, crafted from precious materials and adorned with intricate designs.

The diversity of hand fans in India is remarkable. Palm leaf fans are among the most common, especially in rural areas, valued for their simplicity and effectiveness. Cloth fans, made from cotton or silk, range from plain to elaborately embroidered, showcasing regional textile art. Peacock feather fans hold a special place, revered for their beauty and auspicious connotations, frequently used in temples and during festivals. Bamboo fans, known for their durability, come in various shapes and sizes, often featuring traditional craftsmanship.

Hand fans play an essential role in Indian festivals and rituals. For instance, they are an integral part of Durga Puja celebrations and other regional festivities, highlighting their cultural importance. Beyond their functional use, hand fans serve as a canvas for traditional Indian art forms like Madhubani, Warli, and Pattachitra paintings, making them valuable as decorative items and souvenirs.

Despite modern advancements like electric fans and air conditioning, hand fans remain prevalent, especially in rural areas where they are a daily necessity. The making of hand fans is a traditional craft, often passed down through generations, involving meticulous techniques and a deep appreciation for artistry. Renowned Odisha born artist Jatin Das has a collection of over 6000 handfans. He has mounted exhibitions titled ‘Pankha’ at various places and plans to create a museum of Pankha.  

Tailpiece: Writing at the back of a Truck

Bap pareshan beta se

Desh pareshan neta se

(A father troubled by his son A country troubled by its leaders)

Disclaimer:

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

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