Monday, October 29, 2012

World Stroke Day 2012:

Stroke Walk and Road Show by CMC Stroke Unit 
Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Ludhiana, 29th October, 2012 (Shalu Arora and Rector kathuria) CMC Stroke Unit has been carrying out several public awareness activities in the city for the past 6 days. This is to commemorate the Stroke Week and World Stroke Day. The World Stroke Day is celebrated throughout the world on 29th October every year. Dr Jeyaraj D Pandian, Chair of the World Stroke Campaign of World Stroke Organization said that this year’s theme is “1 in 6” people will experience a stroke in their life time. 

The medical students, physiotherapy interns and students, doctors of CMC, Staff and Students of All Saints College of Physiotherapy had gathered near Hotel Park Plaza today for the “Stroke Walk”. The number of people who participated in the walk was 120. During the walk they displayed placards, educational leaflets to the public. They concluded the walk near canal road. Another team of doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and students in a separate vehicle did the road show. They passed through Sarabha Nagar, civil lines, model town and various Malls in the city. In the road show emphasis was placed on recognition of stroke symptoms and accessing to immediate treatment of stroke within 4 ½ hours. Dr Santosh Mathangi, Consultant, Physical Medicine Rehabilitation department who organized the stroke walk and road show stated that after the medical treatment patients should receive rehabilitation in the form of Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy and Speech therapy. 

Yesterday the team went to West End Mall and screened about 100 people for the risk factors of stroke. They also distributed stroke awareness pamphlets to the public.

The other key personnel involved in organizing the Stroke walk and Road show were Ms Lizzy Julia, Ms Rajni Arora,  College of Physiotherapy, Mr Navneet Singh, Mr Devan, Ms Deepika Sharma, Mr Dheeraj KV, Vice Principal, College of Physiotherapy, research staff of department of Neurology (Mr Amber Sharma, Dr Shweta Jain, Mrs Gagandeep Mehmi, Dr Deepti Arora, Mr Himanshu Koundal, Ms Raminder Kaur, Mrs Paramdeep Kaur) and students and interns of College of Physiotherapy CMC and All Saints College of Physiotherapy.

The stroke team at CMC is available 24/7 to rapidly evaluate stroke patients who come within the golden time of 4 ½ hours after the onset of symptoms. The stroke warning symptoms are sudden weakness, numbness in one side of the body, sudden trouble speaking or understanding, sudden loss of vision in one eye, sudden imbalance, sudden headache and loss of consciousness. If any of you experience the above symptoms please call the stroke hotline numbers 7508100222, 7508100111.

World Stroke Day 2012: 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Durga Puja an occasion for communal harmony

For Bengali Hindus, the annual Durga Puja festival is the equivalent of Eid and Christmas. The appeal, however, transcends religious boundaries.

By Sahana Ghosh for Khabar South Asia in Kolkata
October 27, 2012:
A priest performing the rituals before the Goddess 
Durga at a Kolkata pandal on October 22nd. Durga 
Puja has become an occasion for bringing people 
of different faiths together. [Sahana Ghosh/Khabar]
For five days and nights, residents and visitors forgot Kolkata's drudgeries, political tensions and widespread poverty. The Durga Puja festival, which concluded on Wednesday (October 24th) has evolved over time from a religious holiday to a cultural festival with appeal beyond the Hindu community.
People from all social, economic and religious backgrounds join in the revelry each year during the third week of October. The festival has a unique ability to bring together Hindus, Muslims and Christians in an atmosphere of camaraderie and communal harmony.

"I spent the whole time, moving from one pandal (ceremonial structure) to another and chilling out with my friends," Gulshanara Khatun, a 21-year-old Muslim student at Jadavpur University, told Khabar South Asia. "This is a great occasion for all of us to enjoy and have fun."

Community pujas (ritual) are a great way to unite people of different backgrounds, Hindu priest Samaresh Bhattacharya told Khabar. "You can’t distinguish between communities or religions among the thousands of visitors to the Puja, who come to watch the rituals or just to have a glimpse of the idols," he said.

"Durga symbolizes the victory of the good winning over the evil Asura [deities]. It also signifies family values as Durga – the mother– makes her annual visit to her parents’ house along with her four children. The rituals are something every Bengali can associate with, even when the mantras are chanted in Sanskrit," said Bhattacharya.

During the annual festival, men, women and children dressed in their best attire visit pandals -- makeshift tents that house the idols of the Goddess Durga and her four children, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartik -- eat delicacies and take part in cultural programmes.

From somber affair to economic windfall

Until a decade ago, Durga Puja used to be a somber affair. Then-organised by communities who broke down barriers between the rich and poor, Pujas focused mostly on the rituals.

Now, preparations for the festival begin months ahead. Pandals range from simple bamboo and tarpaulin material to art deco works using innovative medium like compact discs, terracotta sculptures, glass bangles and various other materials.

This year, many pandals were created with themes ranging from rural Bengal greenery to Rajasthan deserts to Kashmir mountain settings. Illuminations were creatively designed to depict social, cultural or political themes. Lights were used to create pictures of favorite personalities and events.

For craftsmen who build pandals, the festival is their main source of income through the year. The north Kolkata locality of Kumartuli, where idols are made with mud and bamboo, begins to bustle at least six months ahead.

The budgets of most Puja organisers have skyrocketed. Corporate sponsorships have become the norm. Rathin Sanyal, an organiser of a moderate-scale Puja in Kolkata's Salt Lake said, "Our budget has almost tripled over the last five years to about $30,000, which includes cultural programmes with invited artistes and community lunches for four days."

Budgets of over $200,000 for four-day community Pujas are common. "All companies operating in the eastern part of India earmark substantial portions of their advertising and sponsorship budgets for spending during the Pujas," public relations professional Ashoke Kumar Mukhopadhyay told Khabar. Telecom, media and consumer goods companies provide the sponsorships, he said.

Because this is the time of year most Bengalis shop for everything from clothes to accessories, consumer durables and books, Puja also brings a bonanza for retailers and a boon for publishers.

"I make one-third of my yearly sales in the months of September-November, the festive season that starts from Durga Puja and ends with Diwali," Gariahat retailer Saradindu Pal said.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Extremists caught off guard by outcry over Malala

With their reputation already tarnished, militant groups appear to have dealt themselves a self-inflicted wound by going after a schoolgirl who campaigned for girls' education.By Udayan Namboodiri and Zahir Shah for Khabar South Asia
October 26, 2012
Courtesy Photo:Students hold a placard during a rally to condemn
the attack on Malala Yousafzai in Peshawar October 11th. Militant
extremists like the Taliban were caught off guard by the global
condemnation of their assassination attempt of the 14-year-old
girl who spoke out in favour of women's education rights.
Girls worldwide have held candlelight vigils in support and
Muslim clerics and other religious leaders have
condemned the attack. [Fayaz Aziz/Reuters]
Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old from the Swat Valley who rankled the Taliban with her assertion of every girl's right to education and is recovering in a British hospital, has become a rallying symbol not only in her native Pakistan, but across South Asia.

In the Indian city of Lucknow, with its storied Muslim heritage, girl students from all religious backgrounds staged a candlelight vigil on October 17th for Malala, who was shot October 9th by a gunman who boarded her school bus. Two fellow classmates were also injured in the attack.

On October 25th, more than 3,000 girls and boys drawn from all communities took part in a procession in downtown Kochi, Kerala. "The little girl in Pakistan has won a huge fan following," said Ameena Kuttimeena, a state government education service official, in comments to Khabar South Asia.

At home, Malala's story has galvanised Pakistani public opinion. Prayer vigils were held across the country and thousands attended rallies of solidarity in capital Islamabad and Karachi.

Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, accused the attackers of cowardice and said they "have no respect even for the golden words of the prophet".

According to Pir Haider Ali Shah, an MP from the Awami National Party, Pakistanis from all walks of life have come together in condemnation of the shooting.

"Across-the-board condemnation of the attack on this teenage girl is unprecedented," he said. "The level of unity shown by the Pakistani nation over the incident is equal to the one observed when a massive earthquake hit northern regions of the country in 2005."

Taliban, al-Qaeda on the defensive

The reaction appears to have come as a surprise to extremist groups operating in South and Central Asia, putting them on the defensive.

The Taliban issued a seven-page statement insisting that the attempted murder of Malala was permissible under Islam, and threatening to kill journalists who it said were casting the terror group in a negative light. Al-Qaeda followed suit days later with a letter that said the girl had been targeted because she "made fun of jihad" and was too close to the West.

Uzbek militants operating in North Waziristan, meanwhile, have been issuing pamphlets asserting that Islam "allows punishment of women involved in crimes".

"Malala had committed the crime of using insulting language against the Mujahideen so the attack on her was very much justified," the militants said.

But the use of Islam to condone an assault on a minor-age schoolgirl has been hotly disputed by Islamic authorities, including religious scholar and former Pakistani Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi. Islam, he explained to Khabar, does not allow such attacks. "Killing an innocent girl cannot be justified in Islam," he said.

Maulana Tayyab Qureshi, caretaker of the historic Mohabbat Khan Mosque, also cast doubt on the militants' claims. "I don't feel the brutal attack on the minor girl Malala and her other schoolmates could be justified under Sharia," he said, adding that it is "highly uncalled for and unjustified".

"I don't know how the attackers, whosoever they are, can justify it but it would be just a personal justification and had nothing to do with Islam and its teachings," Qureshi remarked.

Activist: Malala close to people's hearts

Pakistanis reacted strongly to the shooting because they see Malala as a symbol of girls' right to education, according to Qamar Naseem, a business executive who also chairs the End Violence Against Women and Girls Alliance, a group of civil society organisations.

The people of Pakistan hold Malala close to their hearts and view her as a torchbearer for emancipation, he told Khabar.

Asked whether the attack would further damage the reputation of the Taliban, Qamar said: "To a very large extent! I would say the masses' reaction to the attack and the brutal attempt itself had badly tarnished the Taliban's image, which was already on the verge of decline due to their vicious acts of violence and barbarism."

"The seven-page explanation and their repeated clarifications with different justifications clearly shows the Taliban were panicked and were really in hot water over the Malala issue," Qamar added, describing it as a media and public relations disaster for the militants.

Indian analysts, meanwhile, say Malala's campaign on behalf of girls' education is drawing support from across the region.

"More education among women means greater insurance against radical thoughts creeping into young minds," said Shajid Aslam, a legislator from the eastern state of Bihar. "You find greater fundamentalism in feudal societies which deprive education to girls than in countries where girls have this right."

According to Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of West Bengal, Malala "can be a game-changer. The girls of all South Asia are praying for her."

"Through her brave struggle, Malala has injected new life into not only education, but all human values. Henceforth Taliban and all fundamentalists will be careful," Banerjee added.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dhaka to hand wanted separatist leader to India

Despite trade disputes and water-sharing spats, the two South Asian neighbours made remarkable strides in security co-operation in recent years.
By Shahriar Sharif for Khabar South Asia in Dhaka
October 20, 2012
An Indian Border Security Force (BSF) member scans a stretch of the India-Bangladesh border August 13th on the outskirts of Agartala in India's northeastern state of Tripura. The two nations are finalising an extradition treaty allowing each to turn over wanted criminals and terrorists. [Jayanta Dey/Reuters]
Bangladesh and India are drawing closer to inking an extradition treaty that would formally enable them to hand over wanted criminals and terrorists sheltering in their respective countries. The home secretaries of India and Bangladesh held two days of talks in Dhaka Monday and Tuesday (October 15th-16th) to share final drafts of the long-awaited treaty.

But even without such formal mechanisms and despite their differences on many other fronts, the two neighbours have shown a willingness to co-operate on certain security issues because violence has affected both countries so deeply.

In late September, more than two weeks before the latest round of extradition talks, Bangladesh announced it planned to hand over wanted separatist leader Anup Chetia, who has been languishing in a Bangladeshi prison for more than a decade.

"We are going to repatriate Anup Chetia by this December, and the process has already started," Bangladesh Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir recently confirmed to Khabar South Asia.

Leader of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), Chetia was arrested in Dhaka in 1997 and sentenced in 2000 to five years in prison for illegal entry and possession of fake passports. He has remained in custody in Bangladesh ever since.

A member of the Indian delegation attending the recent talks in Dhaka voiced his country's pleasure at the decision.

"We are happy with the proactive attitude of Bangladesh towards countering terrorism in this region," Shambhu Singh, joint secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, told Khabar. It has finally agreed to hand over Anup Chetia to us by the end of 2012 and sought some time to finalise and sign the extradition treaty with India."

Even if the treaty is not signed by December due to technical and legal complications, Chetia's transfer could well go ahead via an informal mechanism.

He could be released along the border and immediately picked up by the Indian Border Security force (BSF) members, who would be alerted beforehand by Bangladesh authorities.

This unwritten formula has been applied in the past two years to more than two dozen wanted terrorists handed over to the authorities in both countries.

To reciprocate Dhaka's gesture, New Delhi expressed its willingness to deal with Bangladeshi fugitives living in India.

"We're also working to catch the criminals and will take appropriate action," BSF chief U. K. Bansal told reporters in Dhaka last month after meeting his Bangladesh counterpart.

Bangladesh has particularly sought the extradition of Risaldar Moslehuddin and Captain Majed, both believed to be hiding in India. In 1998 they were sentenced to death in absentia along with ten others for murdering Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country's founder and father of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Although bilateral disputes over trade tariffs, border issues and water sharing remain unresolved, Dhaka and New Delhi have made considerable progress in fighting terrorism.

"Terrorism is not an India or Bangladesh problem. It is now an issue afflicting the entire South Asia and even the world," Mohiuddin Ahmed, a former diplomat, told Khabar.

"It is in their own self-interest that they have come together to fight the menace, despite the fact that they have not been able to resolve some major bilateral issues."

Another area where the two countries have made some progress is in fighting drug smuggling. In recent times, India, acceding to Bangladesh's request, has dismantled many illegal factories along its border manufacturing Phensedyl, a syrup widely used as an intoxicant by Bangladeshi youth.

"We gave them a list of 79 illegal Phensedyl manufacturing factories across the border last year and India has dismantled most of them," Mohammad Iqbal, Director General of Narcotics Control Department, told Khabar.

He said this year another list of 62 such factories has been given to Indian authorities, who promised to take action.

"Their co-operation has really helped us a lot to crack down on Phensedyl use among the youth largely because the smuggling of the syrup has been drastically reduced," Iqbal told Khabar.

Chandan Das in Jamshedpur contributed to this article.

Dhaka to hand wanted separatist leader to India