World Alzheimer’s Day

Every 3 seconds, someone in the world develops Dementia. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of Dementia. Nearly 4 million people have Alzheimer’s in India. An international surveillance platform, the Global Dementia Observatory, has been established for policymakers and researchers to facilitate monitoring and sharing of information. World Alzheimer’s Day is on 21 September each year and launched in 2012 and an opportunity to demonstrate how we can overcome these issues and help people live well with Dementia. Alzheimer is a form of Dementia that slowly progresses with age and often goes unnoticed. A small change can potentially disrupt the whole process of functioning of the brain. There is no curative treatment for Alzheimer’s. Drugs are only to manage symptoms and healthy lifestyle changes. The exact cause of Alzheimer’s is not known yet. Women are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s, unhealthy lifestyles and diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and depression are associated with an increased chance of Alzheimer. Let us learn to adopt lifestyles and manage aspirations without losing the sight of health.

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World Ozone Day

World ozone day on 16 September is being celebrated to commemorate the signing of Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Halocarbons used in the refrigeration industry are Ozone-depleting. Sunlight makes life possible, but the ozone layer makes life as we know it possible. The ozone hole is threatening to increase cases of skin cancer and cataracts, and damage plants, crops, and ecosystems. Ozone is being produced and destroyed all the time. When a halocarbon molecule reaches the stratosphere, disrupt the delicate chemical balance that maintains the ozone layer. When undisturbed, the balance between the natural processes of ozone production and destruction maintains a consistent ozone concentration in the stratosphere.

Unfortunately, we, humans do not leave this natural process undisturbed…

Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is healing and expected to return to pre-1980 values by mid-century. Montreal Protocol became the first treaties in the history of the UN to have been ratified by all the countries. A demonstration of collective action, guided by science, is the way to solve major global crises. ‘World Avoided’

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World First Aid Day

The sounds of an ambulance passing by evokes an emotion of worry of someone suffering. The arrival of the ambulance brings much needed first aid and provides the required assistance, to minimise the damage to the patient. In severe cases like heart attack, what is done to the patient in those precious few minutes would make a difference of life and death. When things are normal one tends to take life for granted, the wisdom gets reflected in how well one is prepared to tackle unexpected and emergencies.

Unlike many International Days, World First Aid Day is observed not on a given date but on the second Saturday of September, every year. The observation of the day raises public awareness about the first aid, how it can save lives every day and during crises. It is also a campaign to promote the importance of getting trained. It is the reaction to the suffering and agony of many, during the battle of Solferino (1859), that laid the foundation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The International Federation of Red Cross believes that first aid should be accessible to all, including the most vulnerable. It should also be an integral part of a more comprehensive developmental approach. There is a need to continue to bring awareness about the need for first aid, more importantly training the people to provide first aid when the need arises. Observe the “World First Aid Day”, appreciate those who are giving their time and efforts in providing First Aid. 
First Aid, yes, it is the aid one is provided first.

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International Literacy Day

Almost one-fourth of the youth could not read or write 50 years back and today it stands at 8%. 773 million adults, two-thirds of them women – remain illiterate. One of the targets of SDGs is: “by 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy”. Concerted efforts are needed from all to achieve the goal. International Literacy Day on 8 September founded by UNESCO “to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights”. In the times of COVID pandemic, it is a chance to reflect on how innovative and effective pedagogies and teaching methodologies can be used in youth and adult literacy programmes. During COVID-19, schools were closed disrupting the education of the students. In many countries, adult literacy programmes have come to a standstill.  There is a clear connection between illiteracy and poverty and prejudice against women. In India, reflecting the efforts made by various governments, the literacy rate has raised from 16.1% before Independence to 74% (as per the 2011 census). Kerala has the highest literacy rate, with Bihar being the least literate state. However, Bihar has shown significant improvement as per the latest census.

If this reflects the struggle to make the world literate, giving purposeful education and making the youth employable is a challenge which the developing countries need to address on priority. The challenge is to have inclusive policies to address the needs of the tribal communities and adopt such measures which would preserve their nativity.

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Teachers Day

India celebrates Teachers’ Day every year on September 5, to commemorate the birth anniversary of
Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, a great scholar, an exemplary teacher, who dedicated his life towards education. Teachers’ Day is a day when students express their gratitude to the teachers. It is a day when students become teachers and teachers become students. The idea of celebrating Teachers’ Day dates to the 19th century. Many countries celebrate the day to commemorate a local educator or an important milestone in education and is the reason why the teacher’s day is celebrated on different dates. UNESCO In 1994, established 5 October as Teachers’ Day and many countries adopted the same. India is the land of the Guru Shishya Parampara a tradition that leads to an inseparable bond between the teacher and the taught. Guru Purnima is the day when tributes are paid to all the spiritual and academic Gurus. Our scriptures highlighted the importance of the teacher and in celebrating “Teachers Day” let us pay tribute to all those selfless, committed and dedicated souls who gave everything they have to nurture and mentor to make each realise their potential and make their dreams a reality.

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World Coconut Day

Coconut tree rightly referred to as “Kalpavriksha”, perhaps one of the most useful trees, with each part of it finding application. World Coconut Day is observed on 2 September and started in 2009. as The day is celebrated to commemorate the formation day of Asian and Pacific Coconut Community which functions under the aegis APCC, a UN ed Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP). India also celebrates National Coconut Day on 26 June.  It is believed that “Marco Polo” encountered the coconut on his travels to Sumatra. Tropical climates suit its growth and can grow to more than 100 feet in height and has a life span of about 75 years.  In recent years, Indonesia has edged Philippines in becoming the world’s second-largest producer of coconuts. Interestingly in India, the southern states combined account for almost 90% of the total production in the country. The coconut has cultural and religious significance in certain societies, particularly in India, where it is used in Hindu rituals.

Recall ubiquitous scene, people after their morning walk, make a stopover at the street vendor selling coconuts and picking up the tender coconut and more importantly asking the vendor to give the delicate, thin layer of coconut. No wonder coconut water has become one of the favourite drinks all over the world. Let us celebrate the day of Kalpavriksha.

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The International Day against Nuclear Tests

Trinity has the distinction of being the first detonation of a nuclear device, conducted by the US in the early hours of 16 July 1945. Led to “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Other countries followed the Soviet Union in 1949, The UK in 1952, France in 1960 and China in 1964. By 1996, Fat boy had a company of more than 2000. Buddha Smiled in India in 1974 and Shakthi reiterating it in 1998. Chagai followed Shakthi in 1998 in Pakistan. Following the Vela Incident, Israel joined the league with North Korea being the latest entrant to the club in 2006 and tested as recently as in 2017. UN General Assembly resolution declared 29 August as “The International Day against Nuclear Tests” and being commemorated since 2010,  to enhance public awareness and education about the effects of nuclear test explosions with a hope that it would lead to achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.
The brilliance of man to realise the enormous power stored in the atom, unfortunately, the first use has been for destruction. Humanity must live with guilt for generations to come. Nuclear energy, what could be carbon-free, large scale multipliable replacement for energy from coal, must grapple with the issue of public acceptance.

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Akshay Urja Diwas

20 August is celebrated as “Akshay Urja Diwas” in India to bring awareness of renewable energy resources. Not all energies listed under renewable energy sources are not renewable. Akshay” translates in English to “Eternal” and it is appropriate that we call it “Akshay Urja”. Access to uninterrupted and affordable energy is the key to raise the quality of life and living standards of all segments of the population. Harnessing energy got transformed over time, starting with domesticating animals, water, wind, windmills and firewood. Then coal as a source of energy and the use of electricity changed the way people live. There are two issues for ensuring energy security, ensuring access and use of energy in a sustainable way and avoid or minimise the impact of the use of energy on the environment and climate change. If coal, oil and gas are used as an energy source, CO2 would continue to pollute the environment. The fear of the world running out of energy sources was expressed by many, way back to 1860s, much before the energy consumption was not as rampant as it is now. Finding efficient and economical storage is the key to harness Solar energy.  One form of energy which would save the world is nuclear, which is renewable, large scale multipliable and capable of replacing coal. While the pursuit of progress and enhancing the quality of life should continue to make this world a better place, it is equally important that we leave mother earth inhabitable for the future generations and we owe it to them.

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World Photography Day

A picture is worth a thousand words. A photograph can make the viewer see the world the way the photographer sees it. Photographs even transcend the passing of time – a hundred-year-old photo can still be as much appreciated now as it was then. The commemorating World Photography Day on 19 August has its origin to the French government announcing the invention of photography at a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences, as a gift to the world on that day. The first digital photograph was born in 1957; almost 20 years before, Kodak’s engineer invented the first digital camera in 1986. Today, the accessibility of affordable and high-quality digital cameras has made photography a widespread hobby among youngsters. The first photograph shared on the web is credited to Tim Berners-Lee in 1992. What followed is history, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Imgur and Photobucket and many others are being used by millions to share pictures. Not a second passes without someone sharing what they captured. The web is full of creative photographs, captured with dedication and passions. Photography is enabling humans to share and get connected. Let us celebrate “World Photography Day” by sharing what we have captured.

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Independence Day

200 years to conquer and take control.. 100 years to get liberated…
What a journey it has been, the Journey of India becoming Independent…

It all started with the arrival of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama in 1498, and the first English trading post being set up at Surat in 1613. The decline of the Mughal Empire in the first half of the eighteenth century provided the British with the opportunity to establish their rule. The first rebellion has started by Puli Thevar in the southern tip of India, in the late 1750s. Large-scale rebellion against the British East India Company was in 1857 and 90 years of struggle and the leadership of Gandhi, India got its independence from British Rule.

With the growing younger population who step out to achieve their goals and in search of meeting their aspirations, a platform is set by a decisive, determined leadership of the country, for realising the dreams. A country of rich cultural heritage, fine arts and traditions can give a lot to the world. New Vasco da Gama’s would land in this country to learn and get enlightened. If we go by the way our warriors have stood up and tackled COVID pandemic, sure there are not many miles to go before we achieve our goals.

Happy Independence Day.

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