NewsX conducted a special series, Holistic Wellness Week 2.0- Food & Nutrition, association with US Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and Poultry Dhaba. The discussion revolved around some very important and relevant topic such as holistic health and importance of nutrition in daily life in light of the existing health crisis. A Group of special people joined the session to lend valuable insights on the topic.
The panel of speakers included chief dietician at max hospital Dr Ritika Samaddar, therapeutic nutritionist Saket Tahira Kochhar, and health and transformation coach Yash Vardhan Swami, actor Hasleen Kaur. The session tried to understand the importance of holistic health, healthy eating and role of good nutrition in health maintenance. It shed light on how much protein needs to be incorporated in diet, various protein sources like poultry, egg, fish, etc. and different approaches and ways of incorporating protein in diet.
Ritika commenced the session by explaining the importance of holistic health in current pandemic situation. She said, “When we talk about holistic health there are a lot of other things which are equally important apart from diet. Like reduce stress, active lifestyle, exercise and the type of exercise one is doing, amount of junk intake and process food one is having. All have impact on immunity. To have good immunity it is important to concentrate on holistic health.”
Talking on the role of good nutrition in maintaining one’s health, Tahira said, “It has the most important rule. Like you have heard you are what you eat. So I think tapping into every food group in right quantity. Not segregating one from the other. You could be eating right taking all your supplements and medicines. But if you are not sleeping well, sticking to the right timing, stressing, etc. So you can’t segregate one from the other now.”
On being asked if people are concentrating more on one’s health amenity and lifestyle balance due to the pandemic Hasleen responded, “Yes! This is the need of the hour. We need to consider our lifestyle choices. We need to see what we are feeding ourselves. You should have a complete plate with micros and macros. Macros are your protein, carbs and fibres. The portion sizes in side of plate to be divided into three. You have to very conscious about what you are feeding your body because if the body is well feed it will be able to find anything and everything. We will see it by skin hair and nails. The way body is reacting to diseases. Everything goes back to food it is best medicine we have. We shouldn’t be popping pills but we should be popping more food inside us.”
Commenting on need to create more awareness about staying healthy in these situations Yash said, “Holistic is necessary for everyone but now is the time we are actually talking about this. We could not go out so we focused going inside. We are taking care of stress, sleep, nutrition and also finding out ways and being creative to workout inside trying to burn calories. Nutrition is everything and Tahira said “you are what you eat “but also you are what you digest, excrete and don’t eat.”
Yash added on the importance of protein in one’s every day is life and its ideal intake, he said, “Protein is a nutrient. There are certain amino acids which our body does not create we need them from that. It’s not for only building muscles but also for your immunity, optimal organ function but even your neurotransmitters action which dictate your brain health. So protein is very necessary and if we don’t have enough protein in our diet it may mess our immunity and protein are also full of micronutrients. Example is zinc.”
Speaking on the natural ways to get protein into our system through chicken, egg, soya instead of quick fix like shakes and supplements Hasleen said, “There is no replacement for actual food. What comes from food cannot be provided by powder and pills. You need to include chicken, fish, eggs and dairy products and if you are vegetarian you should load upon dairy products. I am vegetarian I eat egg sometimes but I load upon the dairy products. I have been brought up by taking milk, curd, cottage cheese that’s full of protein. Our body needs about 0.8 gram of protein as per everybody weight. According to my weight I need 48 g of protein every day. I have to eat egg white every morning to kick-start every cell in my body.”
Explaining why people in India tends to protein deficient Tahira said, “There is a myth if you too much of protein you will bulk up that is the myth need to burst up. Protein is essential for organ function. When anyone gets into the plan should get blood levels done. Intake of supplements and these things are so much done that if people don’t require lot of people are overdosing themselves which itself has adverse effect. Wherever you are lacking you need to take those supplements. But there is nothing like natural supplementation. It’s different for everyone like male-female kid-adult. So for a sedentary man it’s it be like 55 g but for a sedentary woman it would be like 45 g. But it differ a lot on activity level.”
Ritika told about ill effect of deficiency of protein, she said, “Each and every cell of our body has protein like nail, hair, skin. This is one of the macronutrient which is needed in good amount. 90% of the people don’t even aware of the requirement of protein. 70% to 75% do not meet their daily protein requirement. Main deficiency would be like losing a small amount of hair feeling little tired etc. But protein deficiency could actually lead to liver diseases like fatty liver. In post-pandemic recovery phase protein is most important. Even after recovery for 4 to 6 weeks your diet is very important. One of the most important nutrients there is the protein. For the general population it’s 8 to 1 g per body weight. But for the critical I’ll or people in the post recovery phase we actually go up to 1 to 1.2g which is a good amount of protein. And that is where we differentiate between A class protein and B class protein and difference between non-veg, egg, chicken and lentils come into the play.” Tahira added that protein is there in every food like doctor like lentil, those are the dense sources for sure, according to her.
Breaking the myth that going heavy on proteins one looks like bodybuilder Hasleen said, “This is one question which I ask my trainer when I started it in my life. That I don’t want to look like bodybuilder I need to look lean for my profession. He laughed and said you are completely crazy. This is what Indian mind-set is. If you load up on protein you will look like bodybuilder. But when I started taking protein my body get immune. So when you take protein you skin look better your nails look better your hairs look better. You can see it on external side of the body. So you can think what it would be doing inside the body. It appears it heals it do much more than just adding bulk.”
Additionally Yash clarified, “First thing bodybuilder have more protein is not the reason they look bodybuilder. From hormones when we talk about female physiology they don’t have enough androgen in the body so they cannot gain lot of muscle. Getting bird up is not only about protein but also about carbs fats total amount of calories in surplus. If someone is fat and want to lose weight protein will not affect it. If someone has low calories so I would like him to have more protein for recovery purpose.”
Speaking on the importance of balanced diet and ways to maintain with good nutrition Ritika said, “Dairy, chicken, egg Earth the complete protein. They have all the essential amino acids. It also depends upon quality of protein. So we talked about egg and chicken its 100% absorbed in a body. If protein comes from food so it’s a complete food. Which we don’t get from supplements. For example hold essential amino acids and its rich in tryptophan. Zinc choline b12 they are required in small quantity but are very essential for our body. A balance diet should give us all kind of nutrients which make our plate complete. Half of plate should be fruit and vegetable one fourth has to be protein limit your carbohydrates. Show the plate has micro as well as macro nutrients. This kind of food is called balanced diet.” Speaking on same lines of incorporating all the ideal nutrients Tahira said “This is important not to eliminate any food group. There is also protein sparing effect. When you are having very less or no other food group. The protein is doing the purpose of other food groups so purpose is defeated if you not put other food groups together. It’s important to have everything in right quantity for a balanced diet.”
Addressing a pertinent question of how to stay immune to avoid the virus these days Yash responded, “First open body composition too much fat can cause low grade inflammation which is not good for our body health. Exercise regularly. Take care of nutrients b vitamins zinc magnesium and selenium. Enough amount of sunlight. Last but not the least gets enough amount of sleep.” Hasleen requested not follow fad diets, “Please eat what you have always eaten what your ancestors were eating because your body is habitual to digest that kind of food. So please do not eliminate complete food group from your food. Everything matters sleep, food and fitness.” Tahira added “You can’t segregate one thing from another now. Not eliminating any food group from your food. Now I realise health is wealth.” Ritika concluded the conversation by giving five points of diet, exercise, good sleep, reduce stress and vaccination. “In our diet gut health is very important because we know 70% of our immune cells are in gut. So a healthy gut means stronger immunity.”
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Apple’s Yearly Bonanza -iPhone 13 Pro, Pro Max, and a lot more
Apple’s much awaited September announcement, they introduced iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, redesigned inside and out, both models introduce an all-new Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion featuring an adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz. The pro camera system gets all new Ultra-Wide, Wide, and Telephoto cameras, powered by the performance of A15 Bionic. Video now gets Cinematic mode for beautiful depth-of-field transitions, macro video. Both models also offer end-to-end pro workflows in Dolby Vision, and for the first time. iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max also include 5G with more bands for better coverage, big improvements to battery life for the best battery life ever on iPhone with iPhone 13 Pro Max, new storage capacity of 1TB, and the Ceramic Shield front cover, tougher than any smartphone glass.
iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will be available in four finishes, including graphite, gold, silver, and the all-new sierra blue. Pre-orders begin Friday, September 17, with availability beginning Friday, September 24.
- Customers can get iPhone 13 Pro for INR 119900and iPhone 13 Pro Max for INR 129900from apple.com/in/store.
- iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are also available through Apple Authorised Resellers and select carriers.
Apple introduces iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, featuring a sleek and durable design, an advanced new dual-camera system for improved photos and videos in low light, and introducing Cinematic mode. The device would be available in five gorgeous new colours.
Both models get advanced dual-camera system with a new Wide camera with bigger pixels and sensor-shift optical image stabilisation (OIS) offering improvements in low-light photos and videos. iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini also boast super-fast performance and power efficiency with A15 Bionic, longer battery life, a brighter Super Retina XDR display, double the entry-level storage at 128GB, and IP68 rating for water resistance, and an advanced 5G experience.
iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini will be available in pink, blue, midnight, starlight, and (PRODUCT)RED,1 with pre-orders beginning Friday, September 17, and availability beginning Friday, September 24.
Apple announced Apple Watch Series 7, featuring a reengineered Always-On Retina display with significantly more screen area and thinner borders. The narrower borders allow the display to maximize screen area, while minimally changing the dimensions of the watch itself. The design of Apple Watch Series 7 is refined with softer, more rounded corners, and the display has a unique refractive edge that makes full-screen watch faces and apps appear to seamlessly connect with the curvature of the case. Apple Watch Series 7 also features a user interface optimized for the larger display, offering greater readability and ease of use, plus two unique watch faces Contour and Modular Duo designed specifically for the new device. With the improvements to the display, users benefit from the same all-day 18-hour battery life,1 now complemented by 33 percent faster charging.
It is the first Apple Watch to have an IP6X certification for resistance to dust and maintains a WR50 water resistance rating.2
Apple Watch Series 7 introduces five beautiful new aluminum case finishes, along with a range of new band colors and styles.
- All Apple Watch Series 7 models will be available later this year.
- Apple Watch SE with USB-C charging cable, new Apple Watch bands, and Apple Watch Nike bands will be available to order from apple.com/store, with availability in stores coming soon.
Apple introduced the powerful new iPad mini with a larger 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display in four finishes. Featuring the brand new A15 Bionic chip, the new iPad mini delivers up to 80 percent faster performance than the previous generation. A new USB-C port allows faster connectivity, and cellular models with 5G bring more flexible mobile workflows. New advanced cameras, Center Stage, and support for Apple Pencil (2nd generation). The new iPad mini is available to order, and will be in stores beginning Friday, September 24.
Apple introduced the new iPad (9th generation), featuring the powerful A13 Bionic chip that packs even more performance and capability into the most popular iPad, all while retaining its all-day battery life. 1 Starting at just INR 30900, the new iPad features a 10.2-inch Retina display with True Tone, a 12MP Ultra-Wide front camera with Centre Stage, support for Apple Pencil (1st generation) and Smart Keyboard, the intuitive iPadOS 15, and twice the storage of the previous generation. The new iPad is available to order on apple.com, and in stores beginning Friday, September 24.
The use of natural ingredients and therapies in daily needs to stable mental wellbeing
Our physical body responds to our mind’s interpretation of external sensory perceptions. Most of us feel good when we see a beautiful scene, a happy expression makes us feel relaxed, music has the ability to sooth us or excite us and even sadden us at times. Tasty food makes us feel pleasure and aroma therapy is based on the ability of pleasant sensory perceptions of smell to affect our mood and emotions.
So it’s but obvious that natural environment around us can be modulated to produce greater mental well-being. That’s why we look for green surroundings, peaceful ambience, more spacious and bright places to live and travel to, add plants to our interiors, and aroma diffusers to our offices and temples.
Alternative and natural therapies are based on adding elements in our environment that are known to enhance a sense of well-being. These can include one or several sense organs.
- Touch- A massage always works wonders when we feel tightness in our muscles. From Ayurveda to Physiotherapy, acupressure to socio cultural practices of massage, all rely on touch and pressure modalities to induce relaxation in body which has positive feedback effect of relaxing the mind and giving a sense of well-being. Many research papers have been published on effect of touch in modulation of feelings and emotions in normal population as well as people suffering from autism, mood disorders and even physical symptoms like pain and paresthesias .
- Vision- How do we feel looking at a dark, dirty space? And now imagine looking at blue skies, blooming flowers, gurgling waterfalls! ‘A thing of beauty’ is not just joyful for poets and writers but for everyone. Visual Imagery related relaxation techniques are based on using calming visions to help in relaxation exercised. Similarly, watching violence in real or virtual world increased release of adrenaline and other stress hormones which cause physical and mental stress leading to mood disturbance, anger, irritability and consequent physical manifestations of body aches, headaches and gastrointestinal side effects. Therapies and therapy environment are thus kept simple, spacious and pleasant to senses to induce a sense of well-being both as part of natural loving or illness management.
- Hearing- The energy of sound is used widely in medical fields for how it affects cellular vibrations and hormonal secretions. Use of music is an age old method of improving mental well-being. From chanting mantras to latest sound baths, all rely on how pleasant sounds make us feel better. The negative impact of harsh sounds is all too understood and has even be utilised for criminal interrogation as means of breaking down people. The opposite is obviously true as well and hospitals, ICUs in modern medical facilities and surgeons in operation theatres use music to uplift mood and enhance positivity.
- Taste- According to Ayurvedic system of living,Food makes us who we are and various flavours and combinations of edible products have the ability to affect our emotions. In psychiatric parlance, the disorders around stress eating and impact of sweet and bitter flavours is widely studied. It’s also well known that mood affects the taste of food. Alternative therapies have thus used taste and aromas to help create positive and relaxed mental states. Similarly, the distinct categories of sattvik, rajasik and tamasik food in Ayurveda focuses on how food habits affect us both physically and mentally.
- Smell- Aroma therapies need no introduction. Smells are potent memory stimulants and emotions of. certain remote past are often felt intensely if associated with a certain smell. Thus use of lavender fragrance for calming the mind and inducing sleep, Jasmine fragrance for uplifting mood and desire, cinnamon fragrance for improving concentration etc are commonly known applications to improve mental well-being.
Other than the sensory impressions, natural therapy relies on diet, exercises and daily rituals which are supposed to improve wellness and keep illness at bay. The use of fresh and locally available ingredients, evidence based use of herbs and spices for boosting relaxation and immunity, yogic poses and breathing techniques and daily rituals of bathing and grooming along with spiritual norms and practices like prayer, gratitude and faith etc all come together to maintain a healthy lifestyle for a healthy mind and body.
Lower Back Pain: The 10 prominent causes of it
In India, 20 percent people of 16-34 age group are treated for back and neck conditions in India. The percentage of young population going for back pain treatment is the highest, whereas, 45% people neglect their pain for more than 7 weeks which results to delayed treatment. Seeing the prevalence, the question arises how does lower back pain happen? Our lower back has a complex structure and it’s made up of the five lumbar vertebrae – L1 – L5. These are held together to form a column, by muscles and ligaments. The lumbar spine provides support for the back and takes most of the weight of the upper body. Therefore, the lower back is more prone to back pain than the upper back because the lower part of the back bears the mechanical load.
Here are the 10 prominent causes of lower back pain, and some of them are connected to the spinal cord and nerves and others are linked to conditions:
Trauma or injury:
injury to low back and occur with small simple falls at home for example while walking down fast from the stairs or slipping in the bathroom.
While road traffic accidents can cause very bad back injuries right from simple fractures to complete spinal cord injuries paralysing people.
Sports injuries often result in sprains and tears in muscles/ ligaments of the lumbar spine. More Violent injury can cause an intervertebral disc to move out of its place like a toothpaste coming out of the tube and it creates pressure on the spinal cord.
Stooping or bad posture the next most common cause of low back pain. Most people which is entry lifestyle tend to slouch, while sitting for long hours and even while watching TV they do not take proper lumbar support. Long hours of continuous sitting can cause abnormal strain on the disc and can weaken the spinal muscles leading to backpain.
With age, our joints gradually deteriorate due to general wear and tear. The intervertebral discs also similarly start to shrink and the nerve roots become strained. Even mobility of the spine is lost and it becomes stiff. In such a scenario, the spinal canal becomes narrowed, causing a serious condition where intense pressure on the spinal cord causes pain, numbness and difficulty walking called as neurogenic claudication.
Vitamin D deficiency
Recognise to be another major cause for unexplained low back pain, vitamin D deficiency has come as an epidermic and can simply be treated by checking and confirming the low levels and proper exercise and supplementation of vitamin D.
Osteoarthritis and other type of arthritis including Rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis eventually affect our lower back. When arthritis occurs, it causes inflammation within the joints, erosion of cartilage and bone and consequent pain weakness of muscles.
Referred pain from abdomen or Kidney Stones.
When there is no structural or functional issue in the spine, still low back can happen due to referred in from Indra abdominal organs and kidney stones. Kidney stones can cause pain in the mod and lower back.
Backache or back pain is quite common during pregnancy, especially in the early stages. When a woman conceives, the ligaments become softer and it starts getting stretched to get her all set for the labour. This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause back pain.
Many spinal tumours don’t have any symptoms but there are some that cause extreme back pain and neurological shortfalls including numbness and weakness. The location of the tumour in the spine plays a crucial role. It actually destroys the healthy tissue uch as the vertebrae (bones) in the spine, leading to back pain. About 70% of spinal tumors are located in the thoracic spine, which is located in the upper and middle part of the body.
Cauda equina syndrome
This is a emergency condition in which ruptured disc presses on the spinal cord causing symptoms in the lower limbs, and sometimes the bowel and bladder. If untreated it can result in permanent neurological damage and needs urgent surgical intervention.
Challenges in Dementia care during Covid-19 pandemic
Covid-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented threat especially to the elderly suffering from neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s. There is an additional burden of stigma, abuse, ageism, financial impoverishment, loneliness attached to dementia. Disruption of nonessential healthcare services like closure of Daycare centre due to fear of infection affected the treatment and care of the Alzheimer’s patients. A delay of few weeks to months may prove critical for people living with dementia. Especially an early diagnosis window of opportunity is lost.
Persons living with Dementia find it harder to comply with social distancing, usage of mask, gloves or sanitisation. The difficulty in comprehension of the above information manifests as agitation, restlessness, aggression and other problematic behavioural symptoms. Some older adults with dementia are often frail, with impaired mobility, respiratory reflexes are at a high risk of infection and mortality. As a result the caregivers role has become more challenging as dementia patients may not learn properly the use personal protection elements, such as wearing facial masks, washing hands, and keeping social distance and complying with other safeguarding procedures .
These patients are likely to experience additional distress owing to absence of relatives, friends and neighbours who would normally visit them. There is also a strict limitations of social activities such as going for a walk, visit to a place of worship, going for a holiday or shopping which they did on regular basis. This social isolation is linked to more confusion in the patients with Dementia and may result in greater agitation and aggression as well as other unexplained behaviour.
Before pandemic engaging in social activities, preforming cognitive and physical activities and having productive daily routine had been the mainstay therapy. But now and during Pandemic lockdown all that reversed and strict social isolation had to be observed along with other quarantine guidelines. We encourage providing interaction with loved ones, friends and pets on digital services like zoom, FaceTime to the people living with dementia. Also most religious places are zooming their daily prayer services on digital platforms like YouTube which can be easily watched at their convenience. All the above activities increases the “contact time” for people living with dementia. This will help in improving the behaviour issues in the patient and reducing the stress on the caregivers.
As a precaution Vaccinations for all Dementia patients, their prime caregivers as well as family members is recommended. This would give them a good protection from infection. Visitors to the patient should also be vaccinated. They should be wearing a mask for the entire duration of the visit. The place where the visitation is held should be well ventilated preferably outdoors. If the visitor has been exposed to anyone with the virus prior to 14 days , then postpone the visit. Inform the family member immediately if the visitor develops a fever or symptoms consistent with Covid 19 within 14 days of the visit. Check the temperature of the visitor or the caregiver before they enter the home. Ensure that they wash their hands upon arrival and regularly throughout the time they are with the patient. The caregivers as well as the visitors should be made aware that information delivery to people living with dementia must be preformed slowly with frequent pauses, in short simple sentences preferably with the use of audio visual aids.
During highly contagious stage of pandemic we advise the family that there is always a possibility that the caregiver might himself/ herself get infected with the pandemic and is unable to provide required support. Alternate sources of care including friends, relatives or volunteers need to be planned and prepared in advance. Since Dementia care in India is delivered mostly by informal caregivers usually family and women ( wife, daughter, daughter in law, sister) there is an increased burnout strain on them during pandemic due to higher dependency needs.
During and after the pandemic caregiver support is essential. Our team of counsellors at Alzheimer’s Related Disorders Society of India -Delhi Chapter have continuously provided that extra support to the families of dementia patients through tele- counselling and video consultation. We wish to resume our Day care services as early as possible with due precautions and integration with tele- medication to reduce the delay in early diagnosis and care.
The article has been compiled by Renu Vohra, Member Secretary, Alzheimer’s Related Disorders Society of India, Delhi Chapter.
Meditation for a stable mind
Spiritual study and meditation stabilise our minds and help us move through times of confusion. We all know the feeling when we come to a fork in the road and suddenly face a choice. At a moment like this it is not practical, and can even be dangerous, to stop and figure it out, because there may be cars behind us. A sensible person will pull the car to the side of the road, put the car in neutral and give himself time to decide which is the right way to go.
The same happens in other parts of our lives. Some people get confused very quickly. Spiritually, when there is confusion, the best thing to do is to pull back from the situation, sit quietly and take the mind into even one moment of peace and silence. Just this one moment can bring great clarity.
Confusion is a subtle form of fear that brings anxiety. Perhaps something on the news disturbs us and we start imagining that the same thing could happen to us. It has never happened, and it is most unlikely that it will ever happen, but it creates anxiety, nevertheless. We begin to assume that it may happen and imagine how it would feel. When we invoke spiritual methods of regular and frequent moments of meditation, stillness, silence and peace, the mind comes to understand that everything will be alright, and even if such a thing did happen, we would know how to handle it at that time. The mind becomes calm and we stop worrying.
Spiritual study and meditation are invaluable practices to stabilise the mind and strengthen the awareness that we are able to deal with anything life may present to us.
Meditation links us with God and we then develop a state of peace so deep that we become unshakeable in the face of anything. We need this quality of mind because uncertain and unpredictable situations can happen at any time. Scenes are continuously changing. Even as they change, we have to remain stable and cultivate the ability to adapt, change, grow and thrive.
We can start with just a moment and then move to many moments of silence and peace throughout the day. This practice of meditation, coupled with deep spiritual understanding of how and why the world is changing the way it is, allows us to sustain an inner state of stability, tolerance and deep peace regardless of what is happening around us.
B.K. Mohini is the Additional Administrative Head of the Brahma Kumaris.
UNDERSTANDING AND ANALYSING ANCESTRAL ACTIVISM
The days have been flowing at a hectic, almost but not quite frenetic speed that has been all but normalised in the year that was 2020. The nights are even longer but have a distinctively spiritual and self-reflective quality. India is a cacophony of sights, sounds, smells, a sensorial fest where chaos is its equilibrium. But now India teeters around a dangerous flux. A flux around religion and autocracy as exemplified by the shutting down of Tanishq stores and the taking down of television ads due to religious tensions and also the shutting down of the Amnestry International India office. As I sit in silence during the night, I reflect that in most interviews I do have some variation of this question: Why do you do what you do when you could literally and metaphorically sit on the throne, afford to do nothing and enjoy life?
In the beginning, I blushed being called an activist, I felt silly, unsure of a label coming from without. As I thought about the earliest experiences and going back and visiting family and friends in Rajasthan and Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, I realise that activism is not something we do but largely who we are as Rajputs. I am fully cognisant that casteism is alive in India, I think about and identify with aspects of the Rajput caste from a cultural, historical, and clan identity lenses much like Dr Gounder and her Tamil roots. This is as opposed to viewing myself from a legacy of possessing hierarchical inalienable rights. In the simplest sense, our very identity, cultural upbringing, and multiple centuries of history render activism not a conscious choice but a way of life.
At conferences when I speak about decolonising psychology and a colonial mindset, I have our relative Raja Rao Ram Baksh Singh in mind. As the Raja Rao of Daundia Kehra of Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh (what was then Oudh province, a vassal state of the British East India Company), he was hanged by the British on 28 December 1857 for taking part in the revolt and being found guilty of killing British Soldiers. Demonstrating Rajputs’ long-held need and penchant for diplomacy, he was a close associate of Nana Sahib, the Indian Peshwa of the Maratha empire and a Brahmin by birth. Our history is steeped with strategic and tactical alliances such as that between Mughal emperor Akbar and the many zealously independent Hindu Rajputs he came across. Through marital alliances and certain tax abolishments, religious discrimination was reduced. Arguably, Rajputs were hard to pin down and viewed as tough. Policies of suzerainty, conciliation, and an enrichment of all were seeded through taking interest in other religions and active discussion. As a result, centres of cultures flourished.
As a little girl, my earliest memories are first paying respect to the ancient Durga mandir on the estate followed by a visit to the memorial the Government of India built in 1992 to honour Raja Rao’s death. I would then watch my grandfather Thakur CB Singh Bais sitting straight and dignified holding court in the cold early morning sunshine in the subregions of Baiswara, where he dealt and sorted a diverse ray of issues from land grabs, zoning, running for office to domestic violence. All of this he did with equilibrium and unmistakable judicious wisdom and dignity. Even though I was running around petting my goats and eating matar ki sabzi, this laid the groundwork for the modern-day workings of our Rajput legacy.
If before there were preoccupations about war to protect land, genealogy, and the population at large, that protection now comes in forms like that of girl education as championed by Princess Diya Kumari and my father who famously said “You have the face to be on a cover but you also have the brains, be the editor”. Once when my father Thakur Birendra Bikram Singh Bais asked my grandfather about my elder sister’s marriage prospects, my grandfather replied with feminist infused wisdom, “If you want your happiness, arrange it. If you want her happiness, let her choose”. Often India, and Rajasthan, in particular, are criticised for gender regressive norms yet there are important pockets of free and liberated thinking such as the push for autonomy my grandfather displayed that the next generation of Rajput nobles must capitalise on.
Society in its current avatar is built on cavalier extremism buoyed by the anonymity of social media, a cancel culture, and fragility where tolerance for disagreement and uncertainty is next to nil because of the echo chambers we surround ourselves with. Post-independence, Rajputs have been firm but flexible: reimagining their purpose whilst anchored to a deeply held sense and knowing of resiliency. This Noblesse obliges that extends beyond entitlement and into the realm of serving is what Rajputs can use to strengthen the fabric of society. Indeed, the cultural pull of leadership and identity is so strong that often populations are predisposed to listen to the ‘ruler’ of their hearts rather than a political leader like a Chief Minister. Viewed through the lens of epigenetics and the psychoanalytical collective consciousness; fearlessness, the strength of mind, body, and spirit continue to populate Rajput societies. For the greater good, stability, and peace to prevail, there must be a continued expansion not of land but of mind. The agile cultures are the ones at an evolutionary advantage. We look to replacing deeply patriarchal practices and upholding the dignity of women through education and gender equity, according to her the respect of a goddess not in some, but every realm now.
No subculture gets it fully right yet it is crucial to realise what we bring to the table. Rajputs are poised to do activism and build bridges precisely because the ancestral history is one of being guardians and custodians of nature and the people, advocating for just and equitable rule (first amongst equals). Going one step further, the current generation must necessarily grapple and think about colourism, casteism, and the relevance of royalty. What are our ways of being that are no longer pertinent and what are ways to take intergenerational nobility, fierceness, and valour and reshape it so it is 21st century fit for purpose? My answer continues to be human rights.
Dr Anjhula Singh Bais is Founder, Director, Consultant Psychologist at Fourth Dimension Consultancy. She is a Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum, Fellow, Apolitical Academy & Recipient, American Psychological Association Global Citizen Psychologist Citation.
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