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Joe Biden & Kamala Harris: History in the making

In November 2020, it will be clear if the Biden-Harris team will succeed or not, but for now Kamala Harris has already created history by becoming the first biracial woman with Indian and Jamaican parentage to run for vice presidency.

Bhuvan Lall

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In the summer of 1958 Shyamala Gopalan, a young graduate in Home Science from Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi, received an offer to pursue a doctorate in nutrition and endocrinology at the world-famous University of California at Berkeley. Accepting the admission offer was a huge decision for her family. Her father P.V. Gopalan, a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Rehabilitation, had a civil service background and limited funds at his disposal. Nevertheless he pulled out his savings for his daughter’s higher education and a few months later the eldest of four siblings took the flight for a country she had never visited before to pursue her dreams.

 Just two years before Shyamala’s arrival in the US, the 1956 election involved an unprecedented incident in the nation’s history. For the first time a person of Asian birth, ineligible a decade before even to become an American citizen, was elected to Congress. His name was Dalip Singh Saund. He had arrived in 1919 from Amritsar, India, in the post-Ghadar Party era for his doctorate in mathematics at Berkeley. He overcame prejudice by his hard work, honesty, and fortitude that made him a prosperous agriculturist in the Imperial Valley. Saund with other American-Indians had fought hard to make the US a permanent home for the Indian community. In 1942 as president of the India Association of America he petitioned Washington to allow Indians to become citizens. The idea of conferring the right of citizenship on the natives of India was supported by W.E.B. DuBois, Albert Einstein, Pearl S. Buck, and Upton Sinclair. Finally, on 3 July 1946, a year ahead of India’s Independence, President Harry Truman in the presence of Saund and important Indians enacted the Luce-Celler Act of 1946 that eliminated the restrictions on Indians and allowed citizenship. This day is considered the Independence Day for the Indian community. With the opening of the door in the US, there was no looking back for the Indians.

Saund, who lived in Hollywood with his wife and two children, positioned America as a land of opportunity as his election campaign theme in 1956. A year later in December 1957 Saund returned to India after a gap of 37 years and was commemorated across the nation. As a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Congress, the man known for his Lincolnesque riposte addressed the Indian Parliament. For the first time, the members of Parliament in India heard the viewpoint of the US administration from an Indian perspective. Saund clarified, “Americans sincerely desired to promote the closest relationship with India”. In his autobiography, Congressman from India, published in 1960, Saund observed: “There is no need for the people of the United States or their Government to instruct Asians in the meaning and value of democracy. In their hearts, they already know. But there is one burning question uppermost in their minds: Are the American people willing to accept them as their equals in every respect? If we are ready to answer that question in the affirmative, we have nothing to fear?”

At Berkeley in the early 1960s, Shyamala, now well adjusted to California, during a political protest met another graduate student, Donald Harris, who was studying for his PhD in economics and was an immigrant from Jamaica. After getting her degree, she was supposed to return to India for an arranged marriage but instead, she married the man she loved, Donald Harris. On 20 October 1964, Shyamala had her first child. She was named Kamala Devi and from the very beginning, she was taught to have pride in her parent’s immigrant roots. Three years later a little sister Maya joined Kamala and both the kids were introduced to social activism of the 1960s.

After their parents divorced in 1971, the family moved around the US as Shyamala, now a prominent breast-cancer researcher, raised her girls primarily as a single mother. She took a post at McGill University in Montreal and Kamala graduated from Westmount High. There were regular trips back to Shyamala’s home in Madras (Chennai now) to visit grandparents and family. In an interview years later, Kamala revealed she was raised eating Indian food, “lots of rice and yogurt, potato curry, dal, idli”. On finishing law school at the University of California’s Hastings College of Law, Kamala began her illustrious career in 1990 at the Alameda County District Attorney’s office in Oakland.

Kamala made a name for herself in San Francisco for her work as a prosecutor. Inspired by her mother, Shyamala, who passed away in February 2009, she jumped into politics as a career move when she became the city’s District Attorney and then became California’s Attorney General. The media in the US noted: “She is the first woman, first AfricanAmerican and first Asian Attorney General of California.” The India Abroad newspaper after an interview with her named her, “The Female Obama”. Then in 2019, she moved on to the United States Senate.

On Martin Luther King Jr Day, 21 January 2019, Kamala Harris, now a junior senator from California honoured both her African-American and IndianAmerican roots by declaring that she would run for President in 2020. When questioned at the Howard University press conference whether she identifies as an Indian-American or an African-American, she candidly retorted that she identifies as “a proud American”. At the kickoff rally in her hometown of Oakland she launched her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination by stating, “My whole life, I’ve only had one client: The people.” Over 20,000 supporters cheered wildly as she decided to take on President Donald Trump. With her sister Maya, a Stanford Law School graduate serving as her campaign chairwoman, her campaign looked like a battle between David and Goliath. But their mother Shyamala remained the role model.

 Kamala was viewed as an articulate candidate who used facts as ammunition. But after less than twelve months, by the end of 2019, Kamala’s race for the White House had run out of steam and more importantly the critical campaign funding. In a tweet, she announced, “To my supporters, it is with deep regret — but also with deep gratitude — that I am today suspending my campaign”, and later in a video she explained: “I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign.” As a final parting shot she added, “I want to be clear. Although I am no longer running for President, I will do everything in my power to defeat Donald Trump and fight for the future of our country and the best of who we are. I know you will too. So let’s do that together.”

 The US changed on 25 May 2020 after a police officer knelt on the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes. The death of Floyd brought race conflicts to the foreground and front pages of the country. The subsequent nationwide Black Lives Matter demonstrations demanded transformation.

These are not ordinary times in the US and all political observers know that 2020 is not going to be an ordinary election with Covid-19 deaths, economy, foreign affairs, and race relations dominating the debates. A lot depended on the presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s crucial first decision that could serve as a powerful counter-narrative to President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. It was proposed that a strong female candidate as vice presidential candidate could do wonders for his campaign. The former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Harvard Professor Senator Elizabeth Warren, and several other prominent women were contenders for the number two spot. Then on 11 August 2020, Biden who had vowed to name a woman as his running mate named Senator Kamala Harris. Besides her parents, Shyamala Gopalan and Donald Harris who fought for civil rights in the 1960s, her nomination would have made Dalip Singh Saund, the three-time Congressman from California, extremely proud as an American-Indian.

The Biden-Harris 2020 ticket could be a gamechanger in what is perceived as of now as a close contest. Many feel Biden’s choice of Kamala “makes America look more like America again” and she is better placed than anyone to be the first female President. Last fall at an event in North Charleston, Kamala Harris speaking about the element of personal risk in politics had quoted Robert Kennedy, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

In early November 2020, the decision of America’s swing votes will determine if Biden-Harris team will be sworn in as the President and Vice President or will be history, but for now Kamala Harris has already created history by becoming the first biracial woman with Indian and Jamaican parentage to run for the office of the Vice President of the United States.

This is history in the making.

Bhuvan Lall is the author of ‘The Man India Missed The Most Subhas Chandra Bose’ and ‘The Great Indian Genius Har Dayal’. He can be reached at writerlall@gmail.com.

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DPS R.K. Puram: Celebration of an odyssey of 50 years

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Delhi Public School R.K. Puram, one of the most prestigious schools in India, was founded in 1972 in New Delhi. The school upholds the founders’ commitment to excellence in the all-round development of the students, with emphasis on its motto Service Before Self. The school is extremely proud of its illustrious alumni who continue to uphold the ideals of the school and have impacted society greatly in every sphere of life. DPS R.K. Puram has received the Education World Award as the No.1 Day-cum-Boarding School (2020-21) in India.

On 2 October, Delhi Public School, R. K. Puram organised a curtain-raiser to the official launch of the six-month-long celebration of the golden jubilee of the institution. The event was attended by renowned alumni of the school. The school plans to organise a plethora of activities to commemorate the 50 years of excellence by organising alumni guest speaker programmes, alumni reunions in different parts of the world, cultural programmes involving the present and former students, collage of video messages of alumni from all over the world to inspire the current students and the culmination of all these events at the grand celebration in 2022.

The event commenced with a lively dance performance by the students as an ode to Lord Ganesha with drum beats followed by a graceful Garba performance. The chief guest, VK Shunglu, Chairman of the DPS Society and DPS RK Puram Managing Committee inaugurated the ceremony by lighting the lamp and unveiling the logo of the 50th anniversary. A cake baked by Aadishwar Singh, a student of class XII was cut to mark the occasion. It was followed by a splendid rendition of ‘Vaishnav Jana Toh’ through Indian and Western instrumental fusion. This was followed by a nostalgic presentation of DPS R.K. Puram through ages.

The Principal, Padma Srinivasan warmly welcomed the Chairman along with the former Principals; Shyama Chona and D.R. Saini. She quoted Mahatma Gandhi, by saying that with the burning passion within each individual one can alter the course of history. She said, while we must reflect on the glories of the past, we must also look to the future and aim to transform lives with education as the school has done so ably in the past five decades. She thanked the chairman, V.K. Shunglu for his guidance, constant unceasing support, his spirit of empathy in covid times and for being a leader who thinks from the heart. She further emphasised how 1972 and 2022 are connected by a belief that transcends time; that education can transform lives. To conclude her address, she asked the alumni present to start a movement and give back to the society what the school has given to them and firmly stand by the motto of ‘Service before Self.‘ Following this was a graceful Kathak dance rendition on the song ‘Ghar More Pardesiya.’

Sooraj Dhawan and Sudeepta Chaterjee coordinated and compèred the programme for the alumni group and presented video messages from them. A video showcasing the drone footage of Delhi Public School, R.K. Puram, Vasant Vihar and East of Kailash was screened, magnifying the nostalgia of the alumni in the audience. A self-composed song by the alumni and the students helped reminisce the years gone by and rejoice in the celebrations.

V.K. Shunglu, in his address, reiterated the importance of focusing on what we do in the next fifty years so that we modernise at a fast pace and keep abreast with the challenges of a fast-moving world and keep the banner of the school flying high. The vote of thanks was proposed by the Vice Principal, Renu Nayyar. In the closing note, Padma Srinivasan expressed her appreciation for the alumni who actively participated in the cultural programmes of the day. The programme concluded with the national anthem.

The school plans to organise a plethora of activities to commemorate the 50 years of excellence by organising alumni guest speaker programmes, alumni reunions in different parts of the world, cultural programmes involving the present and former students, collage of video messages of alumni from all over the world to inspire the current students and the culmination of all these events at the grand celebration in 2022.

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Water ioniser: A boon for healthy living

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As per Medical research, the major root cause for more than 90% of modern-day health disorders includes heart stroke, cancer, diabetes, thyroid, gastric, and many other issues are oxidative stress, acidic environment, and hypoxia.

OXIDATIVE STRESS

Oxidative Stress caused by free radicals makes a significant contribution to all inflammatory diseases, ischemic diseases, gastric ulcers, hypertension, and preeclampsia and neurological disorders.

ACIDIC ENVIRONMENT

The second major threat to our health is caused by stress caused by the acidic environment around us.

HYPOXIA

The third threat to our well-being is hypoxia. Hypoxia is a condition in which the body or a region of the body is lacking adequate oxygen supply at the tissue level.

The food we take, the water we drink, the air we inhale, our habits, genetic conditions all contribute to our overall lifestyle. A good lifestyle is the best practice to be healthy, happy, and fit enough. Our drinking water plays a very crucial role in our overall healthy lifestyle. At every point, we should not only need to check the safety of our drinking water, but more importantly, we also need to be sure it is healthy or unhealthy.

Drinking water which undergoes reverse osmosis type of purification is dead water without useful minerals, acidic in nature making internal body pH balance tough, having bigger clusters difficult to get absorbed by body cells. Most importantly the oxidant nature combined with the acidic nature of reverse osmosis purified water adds extra free radicals that weaken our immunity power. Oxidative stress and free radicals are the biggest threat and root cause of more than 75% of health disorders.

For complete family health protection, switch on to Ionised alkaline water which has rich sources of essential alkaline minerals and selective Anti-Oxidant molecular hydrogen.

Ionised alkaline water helps in restoring the right pH balance between the acidic and alkaline conditions in the human body. It neutralises disease-causing free radicals, helps in reducing inflammation.

Ionised alkaline water is micro-clustered. This helps our body cells to absorb more water easily, quickly, and with effective transportation of oxygen and important nutrients to vital organs of the body. This further improves Hydration and detoxification levels. It helps in reducing joint pains, improves metabolism and energy, slows down the aging process and helps in boosting immunity.

The research on molecular hydrogen on Covid-19 has shown promising results where the antioxidant nature of hydrogen helps in preventing the disease onset and also helps in reducing the disease severity in Covid-19 affected patients.

By looking at the enormous health benefits of the Hydrogen-rich Ionised Alkaline water, Medilight Pvt Ltd thought of introducing water ioniser machines in India. Medilight Private Limited found the perfect product which uses a fourth-generation technology water ioniser machine which is a solution to battle air, water and food pollution. This worldwide patented fourth-generation Disc Ionisation technology is available only in Taiwan.

Early in the year 2016 Medilight bought that technology and introduced their own brand name “H Rich” alkaline water Ioniser. In the year 2017, Medilight collaborated with the world-renowned water ioniser brand “Tyent”, a Japanese technology-made water ioniser machine from South Korea which has extensive market coverage in the USA, Europe and Australia.

Health benefits are clinically tested and certified by research. In short, your healthy drinking water can drive your metabolism on the right track in the correct way. It’s a good solution and an investment idea for your family’s health for the next 20 years.

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FOCUSED ON GIVING BEST TECHNOLOGY AT AFFORDABLE PRICING: AVNEET SINGH MARWAH

In an exclusive conversation with NewsX India A-List, Avneet Singh Marwah spoke about what sets his company Super Plastronics Ltd apart from other players, expectations from the festive season, impact of pandemic, and much more.

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Avneet Singh Marwah, Director & CEO, Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd, joined NewsX for an exclusive conversation as part of NewsX India A-List. In the exclusive conversation, Avneet spoke about what sets his company Super Plastronics Ltd apart from other players, expectations from the festive season, impact of Covid and much more.

Giving us an insight into Super Plastronics Ltd and what sets it apart from other players in this competitive market, Avneet said, “Super Plastronics is about a 30-year-old company. We started with plastic moulding of television back then for CRT and then we started manufacturing CRT. We are a complete backboned integrated plant and that experience was forward toward manufacturing LCDs and now LEDs, 4K TVs, USDs. The company invested. Back then, we were completely “Atmanirbhar” for CRT televisions, now we are again in LED televisions. We are a complete backbone integrated plant and we have everything in house, from plastic molding to SMDs to cleanroom and assembly line. Currently, we have about five brands, starting from Kodak, then Thomson-we launched in 2018, after that we launched Globewarm, recently we launched Westinghouse televisions and then we have white Westinghouse by Electrolux- our appliance in washing machine brand. We are one of the largest brand licenses in India and second-largest television manufacturing in India right now.”

He added, “In terms of selling, we currently selling more than 18,000 pin codes in India. We are on top 2 of online selling brands. Our major strategic partner is Flipkart. For Kodak, it is available across online and offline, both. We have a vast service network of more than 550 service center that are company-owned and about 20 warehousing, we have one manufacturing unit in Noida and there are two manufacturing units that are coming up.”

Talking about his expectations from this festive season, Avneet said, “The festive season for any electronic brand is about 35% to 40% of the year. As I told you that we are online and offline, so there are three major sales that come to online. This time, the sales started a bit early, so it is a very important month for us, then the Dussehra sales comes and then “Dhanteras”. The majority of the season is covered in this. We have done a couple of new launches. There are more launches that are coming up this festive season. The company is completely focused on how we can give you the best technology at affordable pricing.

When asked whether there has been an issue of demand-supply gaps because of the Covid situation, Avneet responded, “When the first wave hit, there was a lot of pent-up demand. One of the reasons was the whole world was on screen and work from home. Classes were going online, and then there were OTT platforms to entertain you in the evening. At that point of time, there was a huge spike in terms of buying of screens and televisions, smart TVs plays a very vital role in that. There was about 30% growth but things changed after the second wave. The kind of second wave that hit India, people start saving and they were not spending their disposable incomes. The mortality rate was very high. India is a very big saving economy. After June, I would say, in April and June, the market got stagnant. But, as the economy is recovering, and the first sales show a very encouraging sign. We saw about 80% year on year growth on Big Billion days sales and Amazon’s The Great India festive sale. I think its recovering. We are hoping that Diwali has good numbers. If wave three is not hit, I think the market will recover and you will see the growth in smart TV market.”

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Around 53 Egyptian vultures spotted on Yamuna river in Delhi

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As many as 53 Egyptian vultures were spotted two days ago by an ecologist on a sandy mid-island on the Yamuna river in Delhi.

While talking to ANI, TK Roy, who is an ecologist, said, “I found 53 Egyptian vultures here two days back in Delhi, which is the largest number in the last five years. This place is suitable for them.”

Roy further informed us that there are around 47 Egyptian vultures in the area at present.

“The population is slowly rising because of a ban on diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug that has a toxic effect on vultures and awareness among people on vulture conservation,” the ecologist added.

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TRAFFIC FREE, PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY ‘EK SHAAM CHARMINAR KE NAAM’ PROGRAMME BEGINS

The local authorities and the city police have organised the programme to provide residents of the city with an entertaining, fun, and frolic event.

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A traffic-free and pedestrian-friendly “Sunday Funday” programme titled “Ek Shaam Charminar ke naam” is being held at the historic Charminar of Hyderabad.

The local authorities and the city police have organised the programme to provide residents of the city with an entertaining, fun and frolic event. This event will also be used to spread awareness about various issues of public importance.

The event is inspired by the continuation of a similar programme for eight weeks now at the upper Tank Bund road of Hyderabad.

“With the success of Sunday Funday programme at upper Tank Bund road which has been happening in Hyderabad for last eight weeks now, we felt that the iconic place of Charminar is also another place which can be used for similar entertainment, fun and frolic and intermingling of people,” said Anjani Kumar, Police Commissioner, Hyderabad.

“Through such events, communities can be educated and made aware about several things such as how to prevent theft by servant, drivers theft, and other similar programmes. So we look forward to have a successful program at Charminar,” he added.

The event was inaugurated with the performance of the Hyderabad police band.

“The police department is also actively participating in this programme, the event was inaugurated with Hyderabad police band which is quite famous and subsequently it will be used for various police initiatives which are citizen-centric,” said the Police Commissioner.

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PEOPLE HAVE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT SEX EDUCATION MEANS: KARISHMA SWARUP

In an exclusive conversation with NewsX Influencer A-List, Karishma Swarup opened up about sexual education, what comes in its ambit, whether it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it and much more.

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Karishma Swarup, Sexuality Educator, recently joined NewsX for an insightful chat as part of NewsX Influencer A-List. In the exclusive conversation with NewsX, Karishma opened up about sexual education, what comes in its ambit, whether it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it and much more.

Speaking about what exactly comes under the ambit of sexual education, Karishma said, “I feel like in India today, we don’t have a standardised sex education curriculum that is applied across schools, so a lot of people have misconceptions around what sex education even means. People seem to think that just talking about biology pieces that they studied in biology class might be considered sex education, but in reality, sex education is so much more than that. It involves biology but in the context of understanding anatomy. Understanding and not the teacher being like, oh! This is out of syllabus. Being able to discuss what are your body parts, how do those body parts function, whether or not it’s in a sexual situation. Right, so that is the first piece of it, just the anatomy bit of it.”

The second piece is, of course, the sexual health piece of it. That involves contraceptives, how condoms work and how to prevent STI transmissions. Just generally how to be safe and have safer sex. You cannot have any conversation about sex without talking about consent and consent is something that we talk about in the context of abuse but not necessarily in the context of teaching people what is the correct way of having a healthy relationship, what is the correct way to ask for consent in a certain situation. All of this is also influenced by things like gender and people’s personal identities. Good comprehensive sexuality education takes into consideration what are the different ways and aspects people are bringing into their experience of sexuality. So, that could include the LGBT community, it includes one’s gender. It can also include other intersections such as how does your class or other religion influences you, how you relate to other concepts so comprehensive sexuality or CSE is this holistic picture that goes so much more than telling young people to have sex and if anything the countries where they offer CSE at an early age young people tend to delay their onset of sexual activity rather than doing it earlier,” she added.

Talking about your educational background and whether or not from where you see it it is important to have a degree in sexual education to be able to teach it, Karishma stated, “I myself have done science my whole life. I did science in school. I did those biology classes, I was referring to. I went and studied geology biology while I was at Brown University as well. A large bulk of my learning came from working with this NGO named Plant Parenthood, which is a really big organisation in the US that offers different sexual health and reproductive health services including sex ed. I was a part of a student organisation there, we went out and taught sex ed to high students in the area. Working with them, I got 3 years of field experience. I got trained by this NGO, which had years and years of grass-root teaching experience and i think it goes beyond the question of having a degree especially with sexual health. It is a topic that is so widely ignored around the world, in most places really like, it is a question of who is doing it.

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