January 11 to January 17, 2015. Week #11
The Big National News
The Supreme Court upheld its earlier decision to discontinue Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu.
What is Jallikattu?
Jallikattu (meaning, to embrace bulls) is a bull taming sport played in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. It is a Tamil tradition mentioned in Sangam literature.
Jallikattu is derived from the words ‘calli’ (coins) and ‘kattu’ (tie), which means a bundle of coins is tied to the bull’s horns. In older times, the tamer sought to remove this bundle from the animal’s head to win gold or silver.
He would be called ‘brave’ and ‘valourous’ and would also sometimes be rewarded with a bride. (Still a better love story than Twilight)
It’s just for fun, no? Then why the ban?
Calling it “inherently cruel”, the apex court said that animals cannot be bullied into pain and suffering in the name of custom and tradition in the 21st century. (Wait, are you talking about bulls or brides?)
The sport also endangers the lives of the participants. The court has given the Centre and Tamil Nadu four weeks to file their replies on a batch of petitions against the popular sport.
Oh, so the Supreme Court can go around killing our entertainment?
No. Of course not. But then, the sport violates the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA) and also violates the Constitutional duty of ‘treating animals with compassion‘ under Article 51 (g).
Click here to read The Hindu’s editorial piece ‘A Political Misadventure’,) on the issue.
Other National News
Governor’s Rule has been imposed in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
The sad demise of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed due to multiple organ failures has left the state leaderless.
Based on the recommendation of the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir and with the approval of the President of India, Governor’s rule has been imposed in the State.
Speaking of J&K, did you that Jammu and Kashmir is the only state that has a constitution of its own. (!?)
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 comes into force.
The new Act provides for strengthened provisions for both children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with the law. Some of the key provisions include:
- Special provisions are incorporated in the Act to tackle heinous offences committed by individuals in the age group of 16-18.
- Proposes many rehabilitation and social integration measures for needful children.
- New offences including illegal adoption, corporal punishment in child care institutions, the use of children by militant groups, and crimes against disabled children have also been incorporated.
IMD and the Curious Case of Misinformation.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has changed the language used in weather forecasting so that the civil administration gets a more realistic sense of the upcoming weather events.
During the 2013 floods of Uttarakhand, communication gap came to the forefront of administration. Basically, the officials in charge were not able to understand what the IMD was saying. Talk about a (un)educated bureaucracy!
A committee was set up to make the weather terminologies more understandable. (It’s like the government saying, “cut the crap, man!”)
On the upside, at least we are willing to learn! And speaking of willing to learn:
Kerala becomes the first state to achieve 100% primary education!
This has been achieved through the primary education equivalency drive of the state literacy mission –Athulyam. It’s key features were:
- The programme was aimed at providing primary education people aged between 15 and 50 years. It was implemented in two stages.
- The beneficiaries were identified through family registries prepared by Anganwadis.
- In the second phase, the students who have not, or have failed to, receive a primary education due to various reasons were recognised and were provided classes.
The significance of education in Kerala is indicated by the state’s ranking as the most literate in the country. Click here to read more.
WHO declares an end to Ebola epidemic.
A two-year Ebola epidemic that killed 11,000 and triggered a global health alert has been declared over by the WHO. Liberia was the last country to be given the all-clear.
However, health officials have warned that it will be several more months before the world is considered free of the disease.
And in case you have been living in outer space for the past six months, and are wondering what Ebola is, well —
- Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans and other primates.
- Symptoms start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches.
- The virus may be acquired upon contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected person/animal.
- Fruit bats are believed to be a carrier and may spread the virus without being affected.
- To reduce the spread, the World Health Organization recommends avoiding contact with infected people and regular hand washing using soap and water. Traditional burial rituals, especially those requiring washing or embalming of bodies, should be discouraged or modified.
Hot on the Internet
Comedy seems to be the most dangerous profession in our country.
Popular comedian Kiku Sharda (more famously known as ‘Palak’ or ‘Lachcha’) was arrested by the Haryana Police in Mumbai on Wednesday for “hurting religious sentiments” by mimicking ‘Saint Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim Insan Ji‘ the sect head.
Seven years ago, the Mr Insaan Ji was accused by the Sikh clergy of mimicking and aping the tenth Sikh Guru Gobind Singh during a religious congregation of the sect.
It took seven years for a sessions court to absolve the Dera chief of the charges as parts of Punjab witnessed violent clashes between the Dera followers and Sikhs.
The alacrity shown in arresting the actor is not entirely without political implications. The Dera had extended support to the BJP in the Haryana and Delhi polls. The saffron party wants to repay the Dera for its support to it in the State and also in Delhi.
I highly recommend you read this hilarious post by Heart Ranjan about the whole episode.
That’s it for this week. See you next Sunday. And don’t forget to subscribe!!