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Remembering Krishna Nehru Hutheesing: A Legacy

Krishna Nehru Hutheesing, a remarkable woman of letters and a stalwart in the tapestry of India’s struggle for independence.

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The legacy , Social Activist , Woman of words

In the annals of Indian history, the name Nehru resonates with leadership, independence and a commitment to social change among the luminaries of the Nehru family, Krishna Nehru Hutheesing, born on November 2, 1907, remains a figure of significance – a writer, an activist and an integral part of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

Early Life and Roots:

Krishna, born in Mirganj, Allahabad, was the youngest sister of Jawaharlal Nehru and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit. Her Parents, Motilal Nehru and Swarup Rani Nehru, played pivotal roles in the Indian independence movement. Growing up in the heart of a family, deeply committed to the nation’s cause, Krishna’s early years were influenced by the spirit of activism and dedication to change.

Krishna’s life took a significant turn when she married Gunottam (Raja) Hutheesing. Raja belonged to the prominent Ahmedabad Jain family that erected the iconic Hutheesing Jain Temple. Their union was not just a matrimonial alliance but a partnership in the struggle for India’s independence. The couple spent substantial time behind bars, fighting for the freedom of their nation while simultaneously raising their two young sons, Harsha and Ajit Hutheesing.

Ventures Beyond Borders:

In the pursuit of freedom and advocacy, Krishan and Raja ventured beyond India’s borders. Notably, in 1950, the couple embarked on a lecture tour to the United States, sharing their experiences and insights on India’s struggle for independence. Later, in 1958, Krishna spent three transformative days in Israel, where she met David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of Israel. This visit marked a unique chapter in her life, intertwining international relations with her commitment to India’s cause.

Literary Contributions:

Krishna Nehru Hutheesing’s literary prowess shone through her written works, providing a nuanced perspective on her family’s history and the political landscape of her time. Her notable books include ‘We Nehrus’, ‘With No Regrets – An Autobiography’ and ‘Dear To Behold: An Intimate Portrait of Indira Gandhi.’ Through these writings, she artfully wove together historical narratives with personal anecdotes, creating a rich tapestry of her family’s legacy.

The literary inclination extended beyond Krishna to her husband, Raja Hutheesing, who authored impactful books such as ‘The Great Peace: An Asian’s Candid Report on Red China’, ‘Window on China’, and ‘Tibet Fights for Freedom: The Story of the March 1959 Uprising.’ Together, they added layers to the narrative of their times, offering insights into global affairs in India’s role in shaping them.

Legacy and Departure:

Krishna Nehru Hutheesing’s association with the “Voice of America” and her numerous talks underscored her commitment to public discourse and her dedication to spreading awareness about the challenges and triumphs of her homeland. However, on November 9, 1967, she passed away in London, leaving behind a legacy that continues to resonate in the corridors of history.

Reflections

As we delve into the life of Krishna Nehru Hutheesing through this Throwback Thursday, we are reminded of a woman, whose indomitable spirit transcended borders, whose pen-crafted narratives and her life stood as a testament to the enduring struggle for freedom of the country. Krishna Nehru Hutheesing, a Nehru by birth, a Hutheesing by marriage, and a luminary by legacy – a woman, who left an indelible mark on the pages of the Indian history.

In the words of Krishna herself, penned in her autobiographical journey, ‘With No Regrets’, her life and contributions evoke a spirit of resilience, an unwavering commitment to the nation, and a legacy that continues to inspire generations. This Throwback Thursday, let us remember and honour the life and times of Krishna Nehru Hutheesing, a remarkable woman of letters and a stalwart in the tapestry of the struggle for independence.

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Editor's Pick

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio: Bengali Social Reformer

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio contributed to Indian education and the Bengal Renaissance. Let’s have a look at his life trajectory.

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Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, Indian, education, poetry, social reform

Born on 18 April 1809, Henry Louis Vivian Derozio remains a largely forgotten figure in Indian history. On his 215th birthday, let’s remember him for his contributions to Indian education and the Bengal Renaissance. Derozio, of Indian-Portuguese origin, is celebrated for his impactful work.  

Early Life

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio was born in Entally-Padmapukur in Kolkata to Francis and Sophia Johnson Derozio. His family name was originally “do Rozário”. He went to the David Drummond Dharmatala Academy school from 6 to 14, where he admired the inclusive education that brought together Indian, Eurasian and European children of diverse social backgrounds. During his time at the school, he discovered and enjoyed reading poetry by contemporary Romantic writers such as John Keats, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Professional Life

Derozio dropped out of school at the age of 14 to start working. His first job was in his father’s office in Kolkata. He later moved to his uncle’s indigo factory in Bhagalpur. The serene beauty of the River Ganges inspired him to write poetry, and he began submitting his work to the India Gazette. Gradually, his poetry gained attention, and by 1825, numerous newspapers and magazines were publishing his poems.

At 18 years old in 1827, Derozio’s poetry caught the attention of editor John Grant. Impressed by his work, Grant offered to publish a book of his poems and encouraged him to come back to Kolkata. Following this, Derozio worked as an assistant editor for Grant and began contributing writings to various other publications. In addition, he took on the initiative of starting his own newspaper called the “Calcutta Gazette”, where he continued to showcase his literary talent.

Social Contributions of Henry Louis Vivian Derozio

At the age of 17, in 1826, Derozio started working as a teacher at Hindu College. He taught English Literature and History with great passion and introduced innovative teaching methods that caused a sensation at the college. Derozio organized debates where students freely exchanged ideas about societal norms, reforms, and social concepts. In 1828, he inspired students to establish a literary and debating club called the Academic Association. This period also witnessed significant upheaval within Bengali Hindu society, leading to further changes in education and culture. 

In 1828, Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded the Brahmo Samaj, which upheld Hindu beliefs but rejected idol worship. This sparked opposition from traditional Hindu society. Derozio played a role in discussing emerging ideas for social change at that time. Despite his young age, he was highly regarded as a scholar and thinker. He quickly gathered a group of bright students at college around him and consistently urged them to think independently, question everything, and not accept things without scrutiny. His teachings inspired the growth of concepts such as freedom, equality, and liberty. They also worked towards eliminating societal issues and improving conditions for women and peasants while advocating for freedoms like press freedom and trial by jury, etc. His activities led to an intellectual revolution in Bengal known as the Young Bengal Movement; his pupils were termed “Derozians” who were passionate nationalists too.

As a result of criticism from traditional parents who disapproved of his extensive and candid conversation about religious matters, Derozio was let go from his position in April 1831, shortly before he passed away. After Derozio passed away from cholera, his impact continued to resonate with his former students. They were later recognized as Young Bengal and many of them went on to make significant contributions in social reform, law, and journalism.

Henry Louis Vivian Derozio made a big impact by supporting education, literature, and social reform during the Bengal Renaissance. His ideas have had a lasting influence on critical thinking and progressive values in Indian society. Despite facing challenges, his legacy lives on through the Young Bengal Movement. It continues to inspire generations of thinkers and activists. Derozio’s determination to challenge norms and drive change remains an enduring example of how individual courage and intellectual pursuit can shape a better tomorrow.

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Editor's Pick

Twilight in Delhi by Ahmed Ali

Twilight in Delhi by Ahmed Ali : A Journey Through Colonial India Enter the Heart of Delhi and Witness the Trials of Love, Loss, and Change

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Twilight in Delhi, Ahmed Ali, Colonial, Delhi, Mr Nihal

Twilight in Delhi by Ahmed Ali casts a spell that sends readers back to the heart of colonial India, where the blazing summer heat mirrors the simmering tensions within the Nihal family. Set in British-occupied Delhi in the early 20th century, the novel paints a vivid picture of a city caught between tradition and modernity, struggling to retain its identity amidst the overpowering shadows of colonial rule.

A Short Glimpse

At its heart, Twilight in Delhi is a tale of familial bonds tested by the tides of change. Mr Nihal, the house patriarch, stands as a symbol of tradition, grappling with the shifting sands of a fast-changing world. While his son Asghar navigates the nuances of love and marriage, we, as readers, are drawn into a web of emotions that go beyond time and culture.

Ali’s prose is rich with sensory detail, evoking the sights, sounds and smells of old Delhi with remarkable clarity. From the bustling markets to the quiet corners of the Nihal household, each scene comes alive with a tangible sense of atmosphere, immersing the reader in a world that is just as enchanting as it is unforgiving.

Themes and Characters:

The characters are finely drawn, each bearing the weight of their hopes, fears and desires. Asghar’s journey from passion to heartbreak is simultaneously embedded with a rawness that is cathartic and heartbreaking, while Mr Nihal’s inner turmoil reflects the struggles of a nation in transition.

Themes of colonialism, identity and the passage of time weave through the narrative, inviting readers to ponder the broader implications of history upon individual lives. Through the lens of the Nihal family, Ali explores the multifaceted nature of power and privilege, illuminating the complexities of class, gender and religion in a society on the brink of transformation.

The TakeAway

While Twilight in Delhi is undeniably a product of its time, its resonance is timeless. In an age marked by political upheaval and social change, Ali’s exploration of love, loss and the quest for identity feels as relevant today as it nearly did a century ago.

Ahmed Ali’s work is a masterful historical fiction that transports readers to a bygone era while offering timeless insights into the human condition. As the sun sets on Mr Nihal’s world, the reader is left with a deep sense of wonder and longing, ready to traverse their journey through the twilight of colonial India.

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The Stray Dogs Tales: Rescue For A Cause

Rescuing strays is not a compulsion but a choice. Let’s understand the importance of rescuing better with the tales of Blacky and Biki.

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Strays, dogs, blacky, biki

Dogs are a man’s best friend. But sadly for many in India, this best friend comes with a price tag, because of the societal compulsion to get a pedigree dog to show one’s social status. According to the report titled, “State of Pet Homelessness Project”, released by pet food company Mars Petcare India, over 60 million homeless pets such as dogs and cats in India are living on the streets. With other socio-political human issues taking up the entirety of the newspaper, our best friends hardly get any recognition. Let’s try to understand the condition of today’s stray dogs through two case studies, i.e., Blacky and Biki.

The Tale of Blacky

Blacky’s day starts at around 9-10 am casually looking at the streets and staring at the passersby. At times he changes his spot from lazing in front of his favourite shop called ROG to the hardware store called, Mtech Services; which is right in front of ROG. He is not like your average dog who would accept pets and treats from every Tom, Dick and Harry. His days on the streets have taught him better than that. He doesn’t appreciate being touched, he won’t accept your treats when you’re staring at him. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t notice your affection, he just doesn’t like to look easy. A dog is almost always expected to be warm and friendly but Blacky is anything but that. But you know the weirdest thing? He never bites. He growls to let you know that he doesn’t appreciate the petting or the staring but he means no harm. 

Blacky, strays, dogs, Indian street dog
Credits: Alisha Das (Blacky lounging at his favourite place).

Normally many people ignore him for his not-so-typical friendly dog-like behaviour but the owner of ROG and a few other people who have managed to gain his trust adore him. Given his uncharacteristic behaviour, one can only speculate what hardships he must have endured to make him lose faith in all humanity. Yet he refuses to give up on living. Showing up one day out of the blue in 2012, Blacky continued to live his life in the best way he can on the streets of Taverekere, Bengaluru. Neglected, diseased but never beaten up by life, Blacky trudged on till 2024 probably never finding the comfort of a home.

The Tale of Biki

On the streets of Taverekere, Bengaluru there thrives another paw spirit, Biki. Unlike Blacky Biki is a laidback friendly dog. He doesn’t exactly jump on you or wag his tail when you meet but he enjoys your company which is evident by the way he doesn’t mind you petting his head or showering him with rubs. He graciously accepts all the food you give him, but there are days when he just walks around without having even a grain of rice to quench his hunger. 

Biki, strays, dogs
Credits: Alisha Das (A very hungry Biki).

With puppy eyes and a golden heart, Biki roams around the streets hoping to one day be showered with all the love and affection that he deserves. Yet all he gets are a few pets here and there. Some leftovers in the trash or some biscuits left by passersby. 

Biki, strays, dogs
Credits: Alisha Das (Biki staring intently for more food).

The Middlepoint

The similarity between the tales of Biki and Blacky are many but the one that stands out the most is the fact that they are creatures who deserve as much love as any other pet in the world. But sadly all they get are biscuits and passing pets as strays. It hurts to see them in this state, but it hurts your bank balance when you buy a dog instead of giving one a home. Sure they both are highly neglected, smelly and probably carry some germs, but choosing someone furry with a price tag, not only deprives a needy stray of a home but also leads to the vicious cycle of breeding. Sure there are many ethical breeders but backyard breeding is still highly prevalent in our country.

Putting these innocent pups through that life of illegal breeding seems like a nightmare but is the reality in many places. Buying from ethical breeders is not bad but you must first check how they are breeding the dogs and taking care of them before going ahead with them. But instead of getting a dog who might be unsuitable for Indian climates or not resistant to the diseases commonly found in dogs in India, consider adopting local dogs who are resistant to many of the diseases in India, are perfectly suitable for Indian climates and desperately need a home.

Rescuing strays is not a compulsion but a choice that truly could help many furry paws that need a home.

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Editor's Pick

Alcohol Use Disorder: Awareness and Affects on Mental Health

Shedding Light on the Silent Struggle Within. Unmasking the Hidden Battle: Alcohol Use Disorder and Mental Health.

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therapeutic, alcohol use disorder, awareness, stigma, mental health

Alcohol Use Disorder is not merely a physical affliction; it casts a shadow over mental well-being, weaving a complex web of challenges that often go unnoticed. While the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption on the body are widely acknowledged along with its therapeutic interventions, its profound impact on mental health remains a topic usually shrouded in silence. As we delve deeper into this intersection, it becomes increasingly evident that addressing alcohol abuse goes hand in hand with safeguarding mental well-being.

DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION PRESENTED IN THIS ARTICLE IS FOR GENERAL INFORMATION AND AWARENESS PURPOSES ONLY.

FOR IN-DEPTH DIAGNOSIS PLEASE CONTACT YOUR NEAREST MENTAL HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL.

According to the DSM, Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is characterised by problematic alcohol consumption leading to significant impairment or distress, with symptoms appearing within 12 months. These include consuming alcohol in more substantial amounts than intended, unsuccessful attempts to cut down, spending excessive time obtaining or recovering from its effects, craving alcohol, neglecting responsibilities due to alcohol use, experiencing social or interpersonal problems, sacrificing important activities, engaging in hazardous situations, and continuing use despite knowing its harmful effects. AUD can also involve tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. Remission stages include early (no symptoms for 3-12 months) and sustained (no symptoms for over 12 months)

At its essence, alcohol use disorder is a coping mechanism for many individuals grappling with underlying mental health issues. It serves as a temporary relief from the relentless feelings and situations of anxiety, depression, trauma and other various psychological distress. However, this relief comes at a heavy price, as alcohol can increase existing mental health conditions and give rise to new ones as well.

The most insidious aspect of alcohol use disorder is its ability to hide existing mental health struggles, perpetuating a vicious cycle of self-medication and deterioration. What begins as a way of coping and numbing emotional pain swiftly spirals into a full-blown dependency, further amplifying feelings of despair and hopelessness.

Additionally, the societal stigma surrounding both alcohol use disorder and mental health creates barriers to seeking help. Many suffer in silence, fearing judgement and social ostracisation, while the dual stigma compels them to hide their struggle even further from their loved ones. This isolation only worsens and deepens the wounds of mental anguish, reinforcing the belief that recovery is an unattainable dream.

What Can We Do

The journey towards healing begins with acknowledging the intertwined nature of alcohol use disorder and mental health. By removing the barriers of stigma and shame, individuals can reclaim their stories and embark on a path of recovery. This process entails not only addressing the physical aspects of alcohol use disorder but also delving into the underlying emotional turmoil driving its consumption.

A lot of integrated therapeutic approaches simultaneously target alcohol use disorders and mental health disorders, which is very important in fostering lasting recovery. Therapeutic interventions provide invaluable tools for coping with cravings, managing triggers and navigating the complexities of emotional distress. Additionally, peer support groups offer companionship and understanding, reinforcing that nobody is alone in their struggles.

Preventive measures also play an essential role in mitigating the risk of alcohol use disorder and its detrimental effects on mental health and due to mental health. Psychoeducation initiatives to dispel myths and misconceptions are indispensable in empowering individuals to make informed decisions. Early intervention programs targeted at identifying and addressing mental health concerns before they escalate can significantly reduce the likelihood of self-medication through alcohol.

What is equally important is the cultivation of a supportive community that fosters open conversations and destigmatising discussions surrounding alcohol use disorder and mental health through awareness. By cultivating empathy, compassion and acceptance, communities can serve as pillars of strength for those grappling with these intertwined challenges, offering a beacon of hope amidst the darkness.

In the pursuit of alcohol use and related disorders and mental health advocacy, every voice matters. Whether sharing personal experiences, spotlighting marginalised voices or advocating for policy changes, each action contributes to a more inclusive and supportive society. Together, we can shatter the silence and dismantle the stigma, illuminating the path towards healing and recovery.

In conclusion the awareness for alcohol use disorder and mental health are intrinsically linked, each exacerbating the challenges posed by the other. By fostering awareness, promoting integrated therapeutic treatment approaches and cultivating supportive communities, we can address the root causes of this dual crisis and pave the way for a brighter, healthier future for all.

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Editor's Pick

Throwback Thursday: Jyotirao Phule, The Indian Social Reformer Who Challenged The Caste System

Today, 11th April marks birth anniversary of Jyotirao Phule. This year, let’s commemorate his contributions that shape the Indian society.

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Jyotirao Phule, Indian, Social system, reformer, caste

Jyotirao Phule, also known as Mahatma Jyotirao Phule was an Indian social reformer and a writer whose contributions to revolutionizing rights for the Indian masses are immense. He was one of the most influential voices in history against the widespread caste system. He fought for the rights of lower castes and revolted against the Brahmanical rule. 

Early Life

Jyotirao Phule was born near the district of Pune in present-day Maharashtra. He belonged to the Mali caste which falls within the Shudra social class which is the lowest class according to the varnas. His parents worked as fruit and vegetable farmers. Since most lower-caste children were uneducated, Jyotirao Puhle also withdrew from pursuing higher education. Instead, he started working on the family’s farm.

Contrary to the traditional, one of his neighbours persuaded his father to allow Phule to pursue higher education. Following this, Phule started attending a school which was run by Scottish Christian missionaries. His fascination and inspiration with historical movements and various thinkers began here. He learnt about Thomas Paine and his Rights of Man. He was also inspired by the anti-slavery movements in America. At the same time, he was also fascinated with the ideas behind Buddhism and Kabir’s poetry. 

Jyotirao Phule: Contributions to Indian Society

Jyotirao Phule made important contributions to social reform, especially by opposing the caste system and promoting female equality and education. After a personal experience at a friend’s wedding in 1848, he became aware of the injustices of caste prejudice. This urged him to build a revolutionary school in Pune for lower-caste girls. His wife, Savitribai Phule, taught there. Phule continued to pursue his goal of educating and uplifting underprivileged people despite opposition from orthodox Brahmins. He expanded his efforts to build schools for those from lower castes. Additionally, he continued to advocate for widows’ rights and against child marriage. 

He founded the Satyashodhak Samaj, a reform organisation, in 1873. The aim of this was to improve social justice and challenge the caste system. Phule’s devotion to social justice and solidarity was highlighted by his inclusive approach, which included inviting individuals from all socioeconomic classes into his home and sharing his water well with the community. Through his widely published works, such as the well-known “Gulamgiri” (Slavery), Phule sought to highlight the caste system’s oppressive aspects and push social reform. His unwavering efforts to eradicate social injustices and promote a more just and equitable society in India will always be remembered.

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