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In Tamil Nadu's Ariyalur district, two school students wrote a letter to the district collector, which has resulted in the shutting down of a liquor shop near their school. Now, both of them have appealed to Chief Minister MK Stalin for shutting down all liquor shops in the state.
The duo E M Ilanthendral and Arivarasan, who are siblings and studying in Classes 6 and Class 4, respectively, in their letter stated nuisance and child safety as the reason for requesting the collector to get the shop removed from the area as physical classes are scheduled to reopen for the primary section in November.
'It Is So Scary For Us'
"They drink there, sit there and use vulgar language. It is so scary for us. Because of liquor, many parents send children to work and let them beg. If we shut all liquor shops, there would be no such problem," Ilanthendral told NDTV.
In 2015, the Madras High Court passed the order that no liquor shop should be present within 100 metres of a school. But, this has often been violated.
Even though this liquor shop is outside the 100-metre distance, the collector ordered to get it relocated following the children's appeal. Apart from this, the request has also brought the intervention of the Chief Secretary, who directed to shift it from the area.
"Though the shop is 100 metres away from the school, we passed the order to shut the shop and shift it to an alternate location since the children have represented the school," said P Ramana Saraswathi, Ariyalur Collector.
The children, whose parents run a book shop, have been praised across Tamil Nadu for their effort.
People all over Bangladesh on Wednesday, October 20 observed three festivals of Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims simultaneously amidst all communal tension in the nation reaching an extreme peak after the mob attacks on the Hindu community and the vandalisation of temples and idols during Durga Puja.
On the occasion of Eid-e-Miladunnabi, which coincided with the Buddhists' Probarana Purnima and the Hindu festival of Kojagori Lakshmi Puja, thousands of Muslims at a mammoth rally vowed to uphold interfaith harmony.
"We will not allow religious extremism, militancy and communalism," they said, as reported by The Wire, at the rally organised by Islamic spiritual centre Maizbhandar Darbar. Furthermore, senior ministers, foreign diplomats, politicians, Islamic scholars, and Sufis also participated in this rally.
A Not-So Festive Durga Puja
Since last week, attacks on Hindus and their temples have escalated in Bangladesh after a reported blasphemous social media post during the Durga Puja festivities. On October 17, a mob attacked and damaged nearly 66 houses and set fire to a minimum of 20 homes of Hindus in Bangladesh.
Syed Saifuddin Ahmed, Maizbhandar Darbar chief, stated that the Miladunnabi came as an extra-ordinary occasion this year to uphold interfaith harmony in line with the Holy Prophet's teachings and Quran's directives.
Ahmed also stated that according to the Quran and the Prophet, those who attack temples or any places of worship of other religions are disqualified to be Muslims.
Meanwhile, Liberation War Affairs Minister A K M Mozammel Haque, opposition Kalyan Party President Syed Mohammad Ibrahim and Information Minister Hassan Mahmud were among the political figures to address the above-mentioned rally.
Upholding Interfaith Harmony
While Buddhists across Bangladesh celebrated their annual Probarana Purnima festival, the Hindus commemorated Kojagori Lakshmi Puja, which is celebrated during the next full-moon night after the conclusion of Durga Puja.
"This is a coincidence that the festivals of three religions are being observed on the same day in the same neighbourhoods. I take it as a divine indication to uphold the interfaith harmony as everyone belongs to the same creator," Hindu community leader Kajol Debnath was quoted as saying by The Wire.
"We want to be imbued with the spirit of peaceful coexistence from this coincidence," he added.
Sheikh Hasina Calls For Immediate Action
As per an official account, more than five people were killed in the recent communal clashes in Bangladesh. According to unconfirmed reports, the actual casualty figures may be as high as seven.
Meanwhile, the police has revealed that more than 450 suspected temple attackers were arrested from numerous parts of the nation and that a manhunt was also underway to track down more.
On October 19, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina instructed her home minister to immediately take action against those individuals who incited brutality using religion. She further urged everyone not to trust anything without fact-checking on social media.
The Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council stated that a minimum of 70 puja pavilions and temples were attacked. This ignited massive reactions at international levels with both the United Nations (UN) and the United States (US) condemning the violence.
What can only be described as a story of true inspiration and grit, P Arun Kumar from Tamil Nadu's Trichy with limited means, cracked the JEE Advanced examination in his first attempt to bag an all-India ranking of 12,175 and OBC-NCL rank of 2,503. Son of labourer N Ponnalagan, the 17-year-old boy is now set to enter the hallowed precincts of the Indian Institute of Technology.
According to reports in Times of India, Kumar hails from Karadipatty, a village located 50km from the city of Trichy. The reports further explained how the teenager's fortunes started to change when he got selected by the school education department and Trichy district administration for an entrance exam for JEE coaching in 2019. The programme was offered by IGNITTE, an outlet conducted by students of NIT-Trichy to help individuals from economically backward backgrounds to crack competitive exams.
Overcoming All Odds
Kumar, who lives with his parents, two sisters, and grandparents, cracked the test amid monetary and other difficulties. He used to attend coaching classes initially using his basic cell phone through calls that lasted half an hour a day due to network problems. However, his father later decided to shell out Rs 10,000 to buy a smartphone for his son to attend the classes online. Arun was also quoted as saying by the publication that the cost-free laptop which was given by the government had audio issues.
Arun's father also revealed how he did odd jobs like a helper in restaurants in Kanchipuram, however, stated that he was particular that his son received a proper education.
"Six years ago, as I could not afford the fee of a private school, I enrolled him in a government school. I never thought about pushing him to work as he is a bright student," Ponnalagan was quoted as saying by TOI.
'Had No Idea What IIT Was Until 2019'
Kumar is also open-minded enough to admit that he had no idea about the existence of IITs until 2019. "Quality coaching and practice and more importantly the faith reposed in me by my family and school helped me achieve this feat. I did not let myself get distracted by our difficulties and financial constraints," he told TOI.
Due to their monthly income hardly reaching Rs 10,000, Arun's family is currently worried about paying the semester fee which costs more than a lakh in an IIT. With help for IIT admission likely to commence in the coming days, the boy's family is relying on scholarships and good Samaritans to fulfil the young boy's dream to enter IIT.
Manisha Malik is a vitiligo sufferer and a content creator who is defying all societal expectations simply by being comfortable in her own skin. It is vital for each of us to be confident in our own skin as this unusual appearance makes people with this disorder feel self-conscious. They are often made fun of or judged by others because of how they look. It's not easy to grow up feeling different from the rest of society.
Some children with Vitiligo dread meeting new people, fearing what others will think about their appearance. In a recent interview with The Logical Indian, Manisha Malik shared her thoughts.
"I was on a metro once and a girl kept gazing at me. And I was very agitated and asked her why she was staring at me. And she responded, "I love your hair; are those natural curls?" Surprisingly, I was taken aback. We frequently find that our fears influence how we pursue others and how they perceive us," Manisha said.
What is Vitiligo?
Vitiligo is a skin condition that causes the skin to become lighter or darker, splotchy, and patchy. It occurs when cells called melanocytes are destroyed. It can affect any area of the body, but it most commonly appears on the hands, feet, face and eyes. According to statistics, people affected by vitiligo range from between 0.5 and 1 per cent of the world's population.
One needs to understand that it is not just a physical condition, but an emotional one as well. The depigmentation of the skin can have psychological effects on the person with Vitiligo which are often related to their looks and self-esteem.
Malik also shared instances of how she was bullied when she was younger because of her condition and how that has made her more confident now. She also explained that she has found peace with herself and now doesn't care what others think about her condition as long as she is happy.
The incidence of vitiligo in India is 1 in every 300-500 people, which is comparable to other parts of the world. Vitiligo is not contagious and it cannot be passed from person to person like a disease. However, there might be an increased risk for children who have one parent with vitiligo because they might inherit genes for this condition from their parents.
There is no perfect way to look. As long as you feel comfortable with your appearance, it doesn't matter what other people think of you. The key is to have a positive attitude about yourself and have confidence in yourself.
The Logical Indian applauds Manisha for using social media to inspire others and raise awareness about vitiligo.
Diagnosed with Autism at such a young age of 2.5 years, Varun Sawant has been receiving therapy since then. His mother recounts an incident where Varun asked her if a child who was using a wheelchair was differently-abled. Gradually, he realised that even he comes under that spectrum and started asking questions about his disorder. He began reading about the same from the study material collected by his mother.
He was curious to know more about his condition and also started coming to terms with the same. Varun began accepting things as he had been capable of doing things well and even his teachers in school praised his efforts.
A perfectionist at heart, Varun strives to do things with utmost accuracy and precision as he wants to prove to the world that he can handle all tasks easily. He wants everything to be done properly. When asked how he felt about being on the spectrum, he replied with just one word - "Fabulous." If that doesn't imply his amazing zest for life and the way he overcomes hurdles in his path, I don't know what will.
From accompanying his mother in the kitchen and buttering the chapattis after they're cooked, to knowing the names of all spices in three different languages, he gradually realised his love for cooking. Varun used to religiously follow Sanjeev Kapoor's Khaana Khazana which deeply impacted his passion. Not only this, he loves watching all kinds of cookery shows, no matter what language they are in.
A visit to a big hotel and conversing with the chefs was all it took for him to determine that he aspires to become a chef and a confectionary baker. He loves cooking all kinds of food, Chicken 365 being his absolute favourite. He is more into baking as he enjoys baking bread and cookies a lot.
Swimming and running are some of the activities he enjoys doing, apart from baking. Varun holds the record for being the first person with Autism in Asia to complete a 42 km marathon in 4 hours 27 minutes.
With internship experience with ITC Maratha and Grand Hyatt, Varun is equipped with all the necessary skills needed to make it in the culinary industry. He also received letters of appreciation from the internships as the chefs in those restaurants were astonished to see a person with autism who could bake with such professionalism.
Due to the lockdown, he has not been placed for a job yet. But this did not dampen his enthusiasm, instead, he started his own venture for homemade cookies which are baked using different millets. He hopes to get more orders for his venture "Bake n Flake" or to get a placement in one of the big restaurants. Hire him here.