The Food Report January 2023 (Maharashtra)

India | Public Health | Food and Health

We are living in tricky times. Older generations, which valued the merits of naturally-produced foods like the small Gauthi Methi (indigenous fenugreek) or the thin-skinned locally-produced Tamatar (tomato) consumed on a daily basis once, have now either been elbowed out of an existence that counts towards consumers or simply relegated to a minority whose opinion doesn't matter, writes Gajanan Khergamker

Food choices, patterns and benefits were brought down generations by families that cherished values and processes innate to the land. But, with the burgeoning of consumers and, concurrently, their market-manufactured desires, the compulsion to copy tastes and ratify non-native foods and choices, is now overwhelming. Also, gluttony is the new normal.

Simply put, one must respect the weather, wares and wishes of a land s/he belongs to. After all, just like native humans, processes too are native to the place of origin. And, the more we disregard local processes, the more we expose ourselves to the backlash of nature.

World Street Art: Bold, Inspiring And Grabbing Headlines

World | Arts and Cinema | Public Space | Freedoms 

Street Art has origins from a time we are yet to fathom and, in time, discover, writes Gajanan Khergamker

Limited as we are by man-made language, nomenclature, and terminology besides the means so simplistic and apparent like paper and other media, like say walls, Art, and in particular, Street Art, is an extension of that what can be generated on traditional medium but extends to public spaces.

Mere Legislation, Awareness Won’t Help Widows’ Cause

India | Affirmative Action
There is a general perception when it comes to the plight of widows. Bereft of their husbands, an Indian widow is perceived as losing her ‘unique’ social status too. And, in this regard, there have been innumerable instances in history, mythology, movies and art to underline the pain. And, if that’s not bad enough, there’s Sati, Johar and more by way of social practice that amplify the exacerbated position of the widow – read the Hindu widow - in particular.

Law, Awareness Must Address Inherent Risks of ‘Natural’ Foods

India | Public Health
When Western Russia Sarov’s Saint Seraphim, one of the most renowned Russian saints and venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church also generally considered ‘the greatest of the 18th-century startsy’, had said, “Drink water from the spring where horses drink. The horse will never drink bad water. Lay your bed where the cat sleeps. Eat the fruit that has been touched by a worm. Boldly pick the mushroom on which the insects sit. Plant the tree where the mole digs.” 

DraftCraft International Supports Widow Rights Campaign in India

India | Affirmative Action
In a move braced to initiate widow reforms across India, Media-Legal Thinktank DraftCraft International headed by Solicitor Gajanan Khergamker launched a Ground Zero Project on 'Widow Reforms: Mores And Laws' at Herwad Village in Kolhapur district, Maharashtra starting 1 June 2022. 

The move is an outcome of resolutions passed unanimously by the Herwad Gram Panchayat, headed by Sarpanch Surgonda Patil and Social Reformer Pramod Zinjade’s organisation Mahatma Phule Samaj Seva Mandal (MPSSM) requesting DraftCraft International to intervene and provide media-legal assistance for the issue. 

COVID Restrictions May Push ‘Criminal’ Tribes To Extinction

India | Affirmative Action
Among humans, it is the indigenous who lives the closest to the environment, to animals, foliage, and a topography, and closely in sync as an extension of his very existence. Yet, over the years, the native has transformed to adapt, with undocumented deft, to urban spaces and modern living. However, in his adaptations too, he has stayed loyal to nature: His friend for live. 

Over the last year and half, however, the COVID lockdown restriction imposed across India hit him the worst, restricting his physical movement, interactions with his ‘family’ of animals and his association with land – his home. 

The native’s tryst with animals is an association that transcends generations together in sharp contrast to the modern-day ‘ownership of pets’ and selective ‘love’ for pedigrees like the Pug spurred solely by Telecom advertisements. 

Trial Brings France Tryst With Femicide Back in Focus

France | Domestic Violence
Vallerie Bacot, mother of four was sentenced to one year in prison for killing her husband after decades of sexual, physical and psychological abuse starting when she was an adolescent. The verdict allowed her to walk free, as she has already served time in preventive detention. The trial revealed the degree of control and influence Polette — 25 years older than Bacot — had over her.

Power Corrupts On Elephanta Island

India | Environment
It was incredulous yet true! For years on end, Elephanta Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site registering 20 lakh footfalls annually, received power for not more than two and half hours in the night through an MTDC generator; hadn’t a single doctor on the entire island; had no facility for formal education beyond Standard 10th and absolutely no crisis management process in place. And, the island was located barely 10 kms away from India’s financial capital…Mumbai!

Solutions For The BEST

India | Sustainable Development
Blinded by cataract in both his eyes, 20-year-old street dog ‘Biscuit’ had lived beyond his years owing to timely care provided by local Samaritans in Colaba, a South Mumbai district and would have survived even longer. However, on June 4, 2018 when the city was hit by a sudden pre-monsoon spell, he ambled away for shelter, dodging the humans, taxis, motorcyclists rushing helter-skelter.

Conflict-related Sexual Violence

World | Conflict and Excess
The effects of sexual violence echo across generations, through trauma, stigma, poverty, poor health and unwanted pregnancy. The children whose existence emanates from that violence have been labelled “bad blood” or “children of the enemy”, and alienated from their mother’s social group. Their vulnerability may leave them susceptible to recruitment, radicalization and trafficking. In South Sudan, sexual violence has become so prevalent that members of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan have described women and girls as “collectively traumatized”.

East Turns Stumbling Block For ‘Un’Civil Society

Indo-China | Diplomacy
“Doing good work does not give Civil Society groups immunity from laws,” said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while defending the Indian government’s crackdown on foreign-funded NGOs. This, simply put, summed up the mood of the moment: That India, under the present-day Modi government, was no longer going to put up with illegality.