India’s freedom struggle saw mass participation at an unprecedented scale and many of these participants were women. Unfortunately, several of them have remained invisible to this day, unknown and unsung. The few women freedom fighters who made it into history books invariably came from elite or middle class backgrounds and their male relatives had often encouraged them to join the movement. In contrast, there were innumerable ordinary women, with no formal education or very little schooling, coming from poverty-stricken, conservative homes, who got involved in the struggle with undaunted spirit and great commitment.
Raj Kumari Gupta was one of them. Born about a century ago, in the little known Banda zilla of Kanpur, she and her husband worked closely with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the father of the nation, and Chandra Shekhar Azad, a revolutionary and leader of the Hindustan Socialist Republic Association. Her crucial contribution to the Kakori dacoity case barely figures in the narratives of freedom. Raj Kumari, who was given the charge of supplying revolvers to those involved in the Kakori operation, apparently hid the guns in her underwear and set out in khadi clothes to deliver them, with her three-year-old son in tow. On being arrested, she was disowned by her husband’s family and thrown out of her marital home.
There is also the case of Tara Rani Srivastava. She was born in Saran, near Patna, Bihar, and participated actively with her husband, Phulendu Babu, in the 1942 Quit India movement. On Gandhi’s call, Phulendu assembled a massive crowd of men and women in front of the Siwan police station to hoist the national flag on its roof. Although they had just got married, Tara and Phulendu stood in the front of the crowd and raised slogans. As Phulendu cried, Inquilab, Tara Rani repeated the word in a higher register. Phulendu soon fell to police bullets. Tara Rani was not deterred. Demonstrating exemplary courage, she bandaged his wounds and marched with the national flag straight towards the police station. By the time she returned, her husband had died.
Whether these women can be considered as revolutionaries or not, there can be no denying that they fought against great personal odds for the freedom of the country. They displayed great resolve despite seeing their children ascend the gallows. It is said that the night before activist Ram Prasad Bismil, a member of the Hindustan Socialist Republic Association, was to be hanged on December 18, 1927, in Gorakhpur jail, his mother came to see him. On seeing her, Bismil’s eyes became moist, but his visitor remained calm. She had never actively participated in politics but she understood the underlying importance of her son’s passionate espousal of revolution. Bismil’s mother did not beg for mercy to be shown towards her son. Instead, she is believed to have told Bismil not to shed tears like a kayar (coward). Bismil is then said to have answered saying that he was crying, not because he was a coward, but because he would not have a mother like her. Steeled by her son’s death, she is believed to have said in a speech subsequently that she was ready to give another son to the nation. Saying this, she had raised the hand of Bismil’s brother.
Given domestic constraints, many women found it difficult to get directly involved in public action, but they contributed in their own ways. Many took to spinning the charkha as a mark of support for the Swadeshi movement. Others acted as secret envoys and messengers - passing on proscribed material, helping fugitives from the law shift from one place to another, and ensuring that they were fed and looked after.
There is the case of Ganga Devi from Uttar Pradesh. She had no formal education and had been married at the age of 13 into a home which had over 60 family members. Her husband, a government employee, enforced strict restrictions on her movement so as to keep her away from the raging political ferment of those times. But that did not stop Ganga from encouraging her children to be sympathetic to the rebels. Once she witnessed her son getting thrashed by his father for his nationalist activities, she realised that whatever she did for the movement had to be done in great secrecy, behind her husband’s back. And that’s exactly what she did. She saved money from the household expenses and cooked food for men in hiding while her husband was asleep, washing the utensils herself to keep the matter a secret even from family retainers.
The stories of these women don’t generally surface in contemporary India save for efforts like those undertaken by the Gandhi Smriti, in Delhi recently, when it launched a permanent exhibition on ‘Great Indian Women Freedom Fighters’.
According to Charu Gupta, an Associate Professor, Department of History, Delhi University, history writing in the Sixties did not register the role of ordinary women in the freedom movement. She observes, “Implicitly the history of that time projected only a select group and this gave rise to a distorted vision.” She points out how the entire portrayal of the freedom struggle tended to be male centric, bourgeois, and upper caste, with the participation of women in the freedom struggle being seen as an extension of their domestic roles of serving their families.
The lack of the presence of ordinary women in historical work, according to Gupta, was due to several factors – but the biggest constraint was that history writing was generally based on official records. She, however, does believe that this approach has been undergoing a change, with historians now more inclined to base their work on creative sources like personal diaries, family histories, newspaper reports, magazine articles and oral narratives.
As Suruchi Thapar-Bjorkert observes in her book, Women in the Indian National Movement Unseen Faces and Unheard Voices, 1930-42, “Reinterpreting Indian nationalist history required going beyond archival, official and unofficial sources.” On oral narratives, she says, “As a methodological tool, these narratives revealed the individual subjectivities of participants in the nationalist movement. Documenting these life histories opened a new world before me: a world more real than officials records.”
It is time now for post-Independent India to acknowledge the role played by innumerable, ordinary, often very poor women in the struggle against British colonialism. There is a need, for instance, to recall the rural women of Bardoli, Gujarat, whose lands – which they owned and were cultivating – were confiscated. These simple women came out in huge numbers in support of their men and remained steadfast. They refused to pay taxes. Women like Abadi Bano Begam, a strong willed widow and a freedom fighter from Lucknow, known by her honorific ‘Bi Amman’, need acknowledgement. She observed strict purdah all her life and when the time came to speak on behalf of her jailed son, she did so from behind her ‘burqa’ (veil) in 1917. This was, perhaps, the first time a Muslim woman in purdah had addressed a political gathering of men and women. Her action helped to bring many purdah-observing women to political meetings.
Not just women from the minority communities, among those who struggled unrelentingly for independence were Dalit and tribal women as well. Abhinaya Gaikwad, a Mumbai-based academic, in a paper published in a book on Dalit women’s participation in India’s freedom struggle, mentions women like Champutai Ganapatrao Bansod’s participation in the 1930 Civil Disobedience Movement.
Gaikwad notes that despite the remarkable contribution of Dalit women to India’s freedom movement, the country has not taken adequate note of their presence. Gandhi had long recognised this when he said, “The women of India should have as much share in winning swaraj as men. Probably in this peaceful struggle woman can outdistance man by many a mile.” (Women’s Feature Service)
Models bypass pageants for straight road to Bollywood
‘Girls lack the right attitude. Miss India requires the culmination of different things like poise, confidence, looks and intelligence. It is about the whole packaging needed to win the crown.Over the years, the craze for beauty pageants and viewer interest has also dipped’
Have beauty pageants become passe? With just one international win in 12 years, India’s dry run continues with insiders saying that models and other aspirants to the glitz and glamour world are bypassing the pageant route to head straight for Bollywood.
It was the other way around in the decades gone past with women like Aishwarya Rai, Sushmita Sen and Lara Dutta winning their international crowns and then going to the movie world.
On Saturday, Miss India World Vanya Mishra made it to the top seven at the 62nd edition of the Miss World contest in Ordos, China, but the crown went to China’s Xia Yu. Had she clinched it, she would have got the first big win in 12 years. The last Miss Universe title came home in 2000 with Lara Dutta winning the crown; the last Miss World also came the same year with Priyanka Chopra bagging the title.
So why this drought, even though the money and perks remain pretty much the same?
According to model Shamita Singha, who represented India during the Miss Earth 2001 pageant, the problem starts at the root level.
“The girls participating in such pageants don’t match expectations. We can’t blame the judges panel. We are not getting good entries. Most girls want to make a career in Bollywood and with so many modelling agencies these days, it is easier for them. So they avoid taking the longer beauty pageant route,” Singha said.
Amongst the models who have taken the direct road to Bollywood are Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif, who catapulted to big time stardom, as well as those like Sayali Bhagat, Geeta Basra, Mugdha Godse and Jiah Khan.
India first made its mark in the international beauty pageant scenario way back in 1966 with Reita Faria winning the Miss World title. In 1994, Aishwarya brought back the crown, while Sushmita became the first Indian to be crowned Miss Universe the same year.
Describing Bollywood as a major roadblock, Shonal Rawat, Femina Miss India Asia Pacific 2003, said, “Bollywood might be the reason that girls are not interested in getting into such pageants. I believe the young generation simply gets attracted by short-term fame they receive during their initial days and this somehow stops them from looking at different career options.”
She also feels that girls lack the right attitude. Miss India requires the culmination of different things like poise, confidence, looks and intelligence. It is about the whole packaging needed to win the crown.
Neha Dhupia, now an actress, started as a model, won the Femina Miss India 2002 crown and then made inroads into showbiz.
In her opinion, the luck factor is equally important.
“I don’t think anyone is lacking at any level. It is about the person who shines that day. Everyone’s beautiful as you are competing with the 80 most beautiful women in the world. No one is lacking anywhere. The reason why everyone’s there is that they are winners in themselves,” she said. Over the years, the craze for beauty pageants and viewer interest has also dipped.
“Earlier, people used to be excited about watching Miss India contests on TV or in person. But that is dying. We need to get public interest back. This will help us in winning,” said Shweta Vijay, Femina Miss India Earth 2003. Till 2009, the Femina Miss India title winner used to participate in the Miss Universe pageant. From 2010 onwards, Sushmita’s organization I Am She chooses the country’s official entry for Miss Universe and Miss Asia Pacific. Sushmita’s candidate Himangini Singh Yadu won the Miss Asia Pacific 2012. She was the first Indian to win the crown in 12 years - the last time was the victory of Dia Mirza, who is now a known Bollyood actress and film producer. (IANS)
Book: The March of The Aryans, Author: Bhagwan S Gidwani, Publisher: Penguin India, Pages: 680 pages, Price: Rs 599
This is probably the beginning of Sino-Indian diplomacy forged over textiles.Long before the Aryans came to India, a team from ancient Bharat Varsha had visited China, known then as Kosa Karas, to exchange silk for cotton, says Canada-based historian, filmmaker and writer Bhagwan S. Gidwani, the author of the just-published, The March of the Aryans.
Rishi Skanda, an ancient seer, had established an ashram near the source of the Sindhu river in Tibet, which attracted a number of local people.
“One of them presented to the "rishi (sage) a cloth of soft, sleek silk. The sage was told that the silk, brought by a traveller from north, was made from the cocoons of domesticated worms. The traveller had been delighted to exchange silk for the finest cotton made in the Sindhu region,” Gidwani recounted.
The sage sent the silk cloth to the ruler Karkarta Bharat, who began series of consultations between the weavers' guild and the guild of merchants about the possibility of producing silk.
The merchants guild decided to organise a team to travel north with the sage's help. The team, comprising 54 local residents from Tibet and six weavers from the Sindhu region, left for the Land of Kosa Karas in what can be described as the first bilateral visit.
Such interesting odd bits aside, a large portion of The March of the Aryans is devoted to the Aryans leaving India - and then returning to their homeland again after realising that no land in Asia and Europe was as peaceful as India. It is an attempt to put the misconceptions about the Invasion of Aryan theory, propounded by many, right.
Gidwani argues that the Aryans did not invade the country but gradually integrated into the country's pre-Vedic spiritual culture.
“The Aryan impulse to leave Bharat Varsha (India) arose after the assassination of their spiritual leader, Sindhu Putra, as the apprehension was that the murder had been plotted by the lords of the lands,” the writer said.
After Sindhu Putra’s death, many had their Aryan lands and farms confiscated for no fault. But overriding all the fears was their belief that somewhere under the vast sky there must be the 'Land of Pure' where their assassinated spiritual leader (Sindhu Putra) resides. And they went out to search for that land.
But wherever they went, they found degradation, brutality, injustice, slavery, Gidwani said.
Eventually, it dawned on those wandering Aryans that their homeland of India was better than the rest of the world into which they had tumbled in their futile search for a home earlier.
The March of the Aryans details their knightly deeds and attachment to the concept of Daya (compassion), Dana (charity) and Dharma (righteousness).
In their ancestry, the Aryans were Hindus. “I stress that never did they belong or considered themselves as a different people. Many, at different times, have tried to highlight the difference between the ancient Hindu and the Aryan in support of the Aryan invasion theory of India which I hope March of the Aryans clearly shows as false and frivolous, thereby agreeing with those who had questioned the Aryan Invasion theory,” Gidwani said.
The British, in presenting the Aryan Invasion Theory offered no proof. They did not need to. Hundreds of Indian historians rushed forward to earn their doctorates, promotions, patronage and government-aided jobs and positions for supporting the British theory of Aryan Invasion of India, Gidwani says.
The book tries to prove that the British invented the Aryan Invasion theory and this myth was created to prove that Indians were incapable of ruling themselves.
It is set in 8,000 BC and says that the Aryans originated from India in 5,000 BC.
The writer, who has researched the reign of the ancient king Bharat in his book, says the king, after whom the country is named, encapsulated the spirit of an uncorrupted India.
“Bharat loved his country, tolerated no corruption, never engaged in favours to friends and family, he would never permit criminals to be part of his Cabinet nor divide communities to secure votes. He was different from the post-Gandhian politicians who have turned politics into a lucrative profession,” Gidwani said.
Gidwani is also the best-selling author of the The Sword of Tipu Sultan, which was adapted into a tele-serial.
Games : Counter-Strike: Global Offensive console
Counter Strike has a massive following. It’s been a huge hit in the PC community for 12 years and finally comes to consoles (not counting the original and quite terrible Xbox release) for some intense multiplayer action. But how does the game stack up on Xbox 360 and PS3? Almost perfectly.
There aren’t more intense shooting games around than Counter Strike. With realistic damage, quick rounds, and purchasable weapons and gear, this game will get your blood pumping. Counter Strike’s main game mode doesn’t feature respawns which makes every move you make matter that much more. One bad move and your turn is over until the next round. The game is based on a money system, do good and you can buy better weapons, armor and grenades. Do poorly however and you’ll be relegated to using pistols and flashbangs.
Counter Strike: GO has 4 different game modes, Arms Race, Demolition, Classic Casual and Classic Competitive. Classic Casual and Competitive are the same game mode with different rules and variants. In the competitive variant, friendly fire and team collision are turned on and you have to buy armor and bomb defuse kits. These are also best of 30 rounds, perfect for displaying your dominance. The casual version turns friendly fire and team collision off, gives you more money to buy weapons, and gives everyone armor and bomb defuse kits. These games are also much faster, only being best out of 10 rounds.
You'll take sides as either the terrorists, tasked with planting a bomb and covering it before the other team can defuse it, or the counter terrorist team, trying to eliminate their opposition without allowing them to blow the place up. The Demolition game type is similar to the classic mode except you don’t buy weapons; you earn them in the beginning of the match.
Arms Race is a new game type in which you get a new weapon for each kill you get. Think Call of Duty: Black Op’s Gun Game. You get the new weapon instantly and there are instant respawns, the only game type to offer that. This is also a team-based game where friendly fire is enabled so you have to be careful and not shoot at everything that moves. The game is over when one person on either team gets a kill with all of the weapons.
This version of Counter Strike runs off of Valve’s Source system, which gives the graphics a much better look, even though the Source engine is quite dated. Counter Strike was never known for its graphics, but they do look polished. Hit markers also seem perfect, which means if you were aiming at someones head and missed, you have no one to blame but yourself. Game play was also lag-free playing with full teams, which is always nice on launch day.
Counter Strike has always had top-notch gameplay and the console versions don’t disappoint. Using the Dualshock 3 controller felt natural for Global Offensive, which is impressive for a game known for using a keyboard and mouse. Speaking of, the PS3 version lets you use a keyboard and mouse against people using the standard controller, a feature not available on the Xbox 360 version. Yes, you read that right, you're actually able to play using a mouse and keyboard on your PS3. Mind blown.
Aside from being available on Steam, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is available on both PSN and XBLA for a mere $15. For this price, Counter Strike is a must have if you were either a fan of the original, or just love death. This game offers multiplayer that rivals Call of Duty for 1/4th the price. If you’re a fan of first person or tactical shooters, you owe it to yourself to download this immediately.
Game Rating: 9.5
Beauty Tips : Tips for getting rid of pimples
1. Washing the face 2-3 times a day is beneficial. Orange peel powder, made by powdering dry orange peels can be used for washing the face in place of soap. It is refreshing and smells good too.
2. Rubbing fresh garlic on and around pimples can make them disappear without leaving marks behind. This has great effects with regular applications.
3. Oil massages increase the blood flow in veins and exhaust dirt and sweat from the body. These are found to be beneficial in the treatment of pimples.
4. Application of a paste made by mixing 3 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder on the pimples can be extremely beneficial. The paste should be applied before sleeping and washed with warm water the next morning. The treatment, when repeated for two weeks, will make the pimples disappear forever.
5. Applying fresh mint juice over the face every night can be very effective in the treatment of pimples.
6. Lime juice and rose water mixed in equal proportions can be applied over the infected area and washed off after 20-30 minutes with lukewarm water. This can have astonishing effects.
7. Although it sounds a little absurd, toothpaste is a proven method to treat pimples from appearing. You can apply it over the affected area overnight and get up with a considerably smaller and more dried up pimple.
8. Wearing oil-free makeup reduces the tendency to cause pore buildup and thereby reduces the emergence of pimples.