A Cartoon Blog for Communicating Science

International Day of Human Space Flight

Sky’s and gazing at the stars have always fascinated human beings. Starting with the launching of the first human-made satellite Sputnik, space flight of Yuri Gagarin, Alexei Leonov’s spacewalk, Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon and humans shuttling to the international space station, the journey has been of achievements and demonstration of human’s capability. The Day of the first space flight by Yuri Gagarin is celebrated as International Day of Human Space Flight.  India had a rich tradition of astronomy and dated back to the 1st millennium of BC. Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, Varahamira, Mahendra Suri, Nilakantha Somayahi to name a few. Made pioneering contributions and displayed an understanding of the space. India, too is set to strengthen its foothold in human spaceflight with the ISROs Gaganyaan mission under the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme and flying  Vyom Mitra’s (humanoid robots). Advances in space applications contribute to several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Be it in weather forecasting, optimising crop production, use of natural resources.                 
Recall the words of wisdom of Yuri Gagarin. Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it! So relevant today. In a hurry to achieve progress and in the name of enhancing the quality of life, humans are in a hurry to destroy the very planet on which it is inhabiting. While celebrating the 60 years of humans going into space, what is demonstrated years ago is an assurance that if humans come together, it has sufficient capabilities to find solutions to the problems haunting humanity.

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World Homeopathy Day

April 10 every year is celebrated as World Homeopathy Day to commemorate the birth anniversary of the German physician Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann. “Similia Similibus Curentur” (Like cures Like) is the basis of homoeopathy. It is one of the trusted medical systems in India. H of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy). Our country is one of the biggest homoeopathic drug manufacturer and trader globally. Allopathic doctors are struggling to find a cure for COVID, homoeopathy, with its rich and consistent history of addressing viral infections, should be considered seriously as a therapeutic option. The response of each individual is different to different medicines and treatments. Now people are talking about personalized medication, and research is focused on achieving this.  Homoeopathic treatment is based on personalized medication.
Wikipedia refers to Homeopathy as a pseudoscientific system of alternative medicine. The word alternative needs to be inquired! Would we say English and alternate languages! Isn’t it ironic to say that you measure one system of medicine in terms of what is established for another system?
Wellbeing is essential, and all the progress of science and technology is to enhance the quality of life. Providing affordable and holistic health care is the challenge the societies are struggling to achieve. Pandemics like COVID and the struggle to contain are challenges the world is trying to cope up with. World Homeopathy Day is a reminder that let all the possibilities be explored and adopted.

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World Health Day

It is health that is real wealth, said Mahatma Gandhi. How true it is! The struggle the world is going through to cope with handling the COVID pandemic is a reflection. At this juncture, everyone realises how important being healthy is? The world celebrates World Health Day this year, almost a year after the pandemic struck. Not knowing when we get back to the old situation, doubts lingering in the minds whether we would ever get back to what used to be the normal situation. It is essential to look at health holistically. It is imperative to be prepared for all kinds of uncertainties during these constantly evolving times. COVID-19 has also highlighted how some people are more equal than others. Health is central to human happiness and wellbeing. Health is not just about physical wellbeing but also about the mental and social aspects. A person is said to be healthy if one possesses all these three. It also contributes to economic progress, as healthy populations live longer and are more productive. The governments have to come together, pool the resources, and focus on finding solutions to those diseases yet to find the cure. Establish the processes to implement vaccines, drugs where solutions are available effectively. Lifestyle changes, reverting to using ancient knowledge systems, going to ancient times is the way forward.

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The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

Recall the celebration of Sachin Tendulkar scoring the 100th century, ruing that fraction of a second delay by PT Usha denying her an Olympic medal or watching with anticipation if Sindhu would win a gold medal in the Olympics. The whole country associates with the success of these individuals. It enhances pride and brings satisfaction and gives strength to lead their lives in whatever domains they are or even those who stay home and manage homes. Sport is a great equalizer, bring the people in the community together. The pride associated with doing well brings discipline to the individual. Sport and physical activity are essential to staying fit and healthy, including mental health. Participating in sports helps to beat negative thoughts, lowers stress and depression. 6 April is observed as “International Day of Sport for Development and Peace”, creating a historical link to the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. It is being celebrated since 2014. Sports is an “important enabler” of sustainable development, which is reflected in its inclusion in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  The pursuit of human beings is focused on achieving growth and, through it attaining peace. Participation, practicing, cheering of events associated with sports is a crucial way to achieve the same. The joy and happiness one gets seeing the success of the sportsperson achieving success reflects that we are all connected. Let us resolve to play, exercise, and ensure wellbeing.

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National Maritime Day

The world woke up to the news that “evergreen” a large merchant ship stuck in the Suez Canal blocking ships’ passage and creating the worlds heaviest traffic jam. Maritime history dates back to millennia. People of the Indus Valley had maritime trade with Mesopotamia and Roman Empire. To commemorate the day, the National Maritime Day is being celebrated on April 5 and started in 1964. With its vast peninsula jutting a thousand kilometers into the heart of the Indian Ocean, India needs to leverage its enviable maritime geography to ensure and assure the economic, material, and societal well-being of its people. The heroic role is being played by Indian merchant mariners the world over. It is time to salute all those dedicated seafarers, brave parents, wives, children, and family members. They endure protracted separation in the national cause. It is time to salute all those who are in the service of the world. Connecting different destinations and exchanging goods and making the world a well-connected place.

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International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance

One landmine can wreck a community: kill a father, a mother, and all too often a child.        
International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance is observed on April 4 each year and aims at raising awareness about landmines and progress toward their elimination. It aims to enhance capabilities to diffuse the mines and explosive remnants of war, especially in those counties torn in wars for long. A land mine is an explosive concealed just under the surface of the ground and is designed to be detonated by pressure or proximity of a vehicle or person.  According to one estimate, there are currently about 100 million active land mines located in 70 countries. As time passes, the location of landmines is often forgotten, even by those who planted them. There is a need to focus on the health and psychosocial well-being of mine victims through medical rehabilitation and socio-economic reintegration.  Despite the restrictions imposed by the COVID pandemic, in the year passed by, people steadfastly continued their efforts in clearing and destroying hundreds of thousands of explosives and landmines.  Kudos to all those who made it happen and for their commitment. Humans, what you have done to yourselves, using all the intelligence to cause destruction and that too innocent people. It is time to wake up and Complete the work, Rid of the world of deadly landmines. The pandemic caused by COVID-19 is a reminder to humanity, if it has to survive, a concerted effort is required to be together, pool all the resources to bring cheer and survive.

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World Autism Awareness Day

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. Reference to the word Autism dates back to 1911. Autism has several variations and put together, are referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).  The most worrying factor is that the number of children with Autism is increasing the world over. Researchers found recently that many genetic mutations can be associated with Autism. It develops from a combination of genetic and environmental factors playing a role. Interestingly some gene changes associated with Autism can also be found in people who do not have the disorder. Typical cycle, the parents’ ging through delayed growth, mentally subnormal, trying out various medications and finally accept the child with ASD. People with ASD have the same health problems that affect the general population. Besides, they may have specific healthcare needs related to ASD.  People with Autism have an average life span, and many will require considerable support after their parents’ death. There is also an immediate need to plan for these children’s centres when they become adults. One of the essential traits each species in nature possess is reproducing to ensure sustaining the species. A fascinating combination of factors happens so naturally and without anyone attempting to make these happen to lead to reproduction. Diseases like Autism raises the question, whether the creation process getting into fatigue mode. How much ever efforts have been put in by brilliant minds, there are still many unanswered and health issues without finding a cure are a daunting humanity.

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World Meteorological Day

Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences that includes atmospheric chemistry and physics, focusing on weather forecasting. The advances made in the domain of weather forecasting has saved many lives. Cyclones of different magnitude batter the coasts of the world several times a year. While the destruction of resources and damage depends on the intensity of cyclones, the enhanced capability to predict the possibilities has helped the authorities minimise the loss of lives. While it is a cyclone that affects the Indian Ocean region, it is typhoons/hurricanes for the Pacific or the Atlantic Ocean. The fury of nature is a reminder for humanity to become humble. How much ever advancements S&T makes, there is much more to understand. Upanishads contain mentions of clouds and seasons. There is evidence of weather observation in Varāhamihira‘s Brihatsamhita, written about 500 AD. In 350 BC, Aristotle wrote Meteorology.  When it comes to the weather and climate, it is happening in the atmosphere and the ocean, which plays an important role. Connecting the ocean, climate, and weather is an important aspect.  

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World Tuberculosis Day

Respiratory infections have been haunting humanity for a long time, and Tuberculosis is one such major infections. The world woke up to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic indicating how deadly respiratory illness can be. TB has been present in humans since ancient times. Skeletal remains show some prehistoric humans had TB. TB decay was found in the spines of Egyptian mummies dating from 3000 to 2400 BC.  World Tuberculosis Day is commemorated on March 24. It was on this day back in 1882, Dr Robert Koch announced the discovery of the bacterium that causes TB.  The words latent, consumption, and DOTS may evoke diverse responses, but they are all connected to TB.  Most TB infections show no symptoms (latent TB), result in loss of appetite leading to weight loss (referred to as consumption). Nearly 4000 lose their lives to TB and close to 28,000 people fall ill, every day.  Most TB cases occur in the regions of South-East Asia, Africa, and the Western Pacific. It is estimated that about 40% of the Indian population is infected with TB bacteria, the vast majority of whom have latent TB rather than TB disease.   Poverty deprived of nutritious food and lack of adequate health infrastructure, making it difficult to deal with TB. The incidence of TB in wealthier nations is reducing, and so is the focus of the research. The governments of developing countries need to wake up to reality and enhance funding and support research in finding cures to diseases affecting their people. Stigma is attached to TB. While one sees people narrating their problems with situations of dealing with Depression or alcoholism, many vivid accounts are shared on social media. It is rarely seen any such social media activity when it comes to TB.  

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World Water Day

Every year on March 22, World Water Day is observed to highlight the importance of freshwater.  It aims at bringing awareness about saving water and the consequences of not managing the resource well. It is about what water means to people. When you ask someone, what does water mean to them, you get different answers. It could be: about staying hydrated during a workout, the beauty of the water falling from heights, or the joy of getting drenched in the pouring rain. Unfortunately for many, it is a daily challenge is not only of having access to clean water. Despite all the emphasis in the scripture’s world over, humans, in the name of progress, traversing a path where basic amenities like having safe and adequate drinking water is becoming a challenge. The advancement in Science and Technology gives us hope. People are going back in time and start canvassing for water harvesting. Hope it is too little too late! Preservation would enhance success when realised that natural resources are not unlimited if one does not take care.

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World Down Syndrome Day

Of all chromosomal disorders, Down Syndrome is the most prevalent in human beings. Down Syndrome is not an illness, and it is a genetic condition (or Syndrome).  Since 2012, World Down Syndrome Day is being observed as one of the UN observation days. March 21 was chosen as Down Syndrome Day, as it occurs when there is a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21, three copies of chromosome 21 translate to 3/21, or March 21. India has the highest number of people who have Down Syndrome in the world. The numbers are alarming and frightening as fatalities are high due to negligence, lack of awareness, and access to medical facilities. Down Syndrome is an equaliser, and it does not discriminate, affects people across the world, is not specific to any community, or any reason for the Syndrome’s onset is known. As there is no cure for Down Syndrome, education and proper care have been shown to improve quality of life. People have abilities of different nature and to a different extent. Down Syndrome is to be taken as one such condition. We need to look at their skills and possibilities.

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International Day of Happiness

In 2012 the UN passed a resolution proclaiming March 20 to be observed as the International Day of Happiness (UNIDOHappiness). The resolution was initiated by Bhutan, a country that recognized the value of national happiness over national income and adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product. March 20 is chosen as March Equinox falls on this day. The March Equinox marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. The theme for this year’s observation is “Keep Calm. Stay Wise. Be Kind”. Keeping calm is the essential thing to find solutions to the problems one encounters. It is crucial to focus on what is important and matters to equip to respond constructively. Staying wise for making choices that help everyone and support well-being. Being kind is more important, perhaps the beginning of finding the solution. It is a message to those who are suffering that we are all together. If you are happy, finding solutions becomes easier, enable one to endure the solutions to the problems of the same are yet to be found.  Happy people make a happy place. Togetherness in a crisis is key to happiness. We need a more inclusive, equitable and balanced world—introspecting and finding out how we can help each other.

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National Vaccination Day

The world has seen many health challenges: Zika, Ebola, H1N1(Swine flu), AIDS, Asian Flu, Spanish Flu, Polio.  Some of them found solutions, found vaccines, and got contained or almost eradicated like Polio. COVID19 pandemic, perhaps the first in recent history, has affected people across the globe. The quest to find a vaccine and the determination and dedication with which the scientific communities worked the world over are lessons to be learnt.  With the vaccine administration in India, Europe, and the US, it appears that it is the beginning of the pandemic’s end. The fact that the world can come out with a solution to the COVID pandemic in such a short period gives hope to the world. It is a work in progress; the scientific community needs to contemplate why the world is yet to find solutions to the problems being faced by poorer nations with diseases like TB.  The confusion and doubts created by certain sections of people in India about getting vaccinated for COVID demonstrate that communicating and reaching out to the people is paramount. There is a need to raise awareness, exchange information, scientific knowledge, and best practices, ensure quality education, and run advocacy programs on the importance of the vaccine. India observes National Vaccination Day on 16h March every year. Observations like National Vaccination Day is an opportunity to bring awareness.

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The International Day of Mathematics

Thinking about mathematics, someone wondered, “It may not teach us how to add love or subtract hate. But it gives us every reason to hope that every problem has a solution”. This is the second year the world is observing “The International Day of Mathematics”. March 14 (3/14 or 3-14) was chosen as the date it was already celebrated in many countries as Pi Day.  Greater global awareness of mathematical sciences is vital to developing emerging areas like Artificial intelligence and understand climate change.  In finding solutions to COVID-19 pandemic, mathematics played an important role by way of modelling and providing tools to help us understand, monitor, and control the spread of the virus. The role it plays in enhancing the capabilities of weather forecasts and prepare for natural disasters, is well acknowledged. India had a rich tradition of mathematical brilliance. Panini, Pingala, Sulba Sutras (appendices of Vedas), Aryabhata, Brahmagupta and so many. Srinivasa Ramanujan was undoubtedly among the world’s greatest mathematicians in the 20th century. Interestingly Mathematics is the common language of the planet, whichever way it is written. Philosophically life oscillates between Shunya to Anantha (zero to infinity). Sound mathematical knowledge is essential to progress in all domains of learning. Simplification is not only valid in mathematics, but it teaches us to simplify the complexities of life.

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National No Smoking Day

Globally, Tobacco, one of the most widely used addictive substances. The consumption of Tobacco is one of the prime reasons for lung and mouth cancer. National No Smoking Day held every second Wednesday of March (this year on March 10) and is aimed at reaching out to friends or family members who suffer from nicotine addiction. Over 80% of the world’s tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries. Recent statistics from the WHO indicate that the number of males using Tobacco is on the decline.   Government-led actions can protect people from Tobacco, save lives and prevent peoples suffering. One of the ten is giving up smoking on this day, the studies indicate. The world is battling to cope with the COVID pandemic, the light at the end of the tunnel is seen with the vaccine’s administration. Many perils haunt the societies and smoking is one such. It is time the world moves towards Tobacco-free communities. Can we hope to see it happening in a not-so-distant future? Be smart. Do not start.

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International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements. It is an occasion marking a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. Collective action and shared ownership for driving gender parity are what makes International Women’s Day impactful. Celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness about women’s equality. This year is the 110th year since women’s day is being observed, and one cannot help wondering whether the world would ever see gender parity! Our scriptures depict the power of women, their importance and the reverence bestowed on them. Unfortunately, despite all these, discrimination is rampant in India.  Preference for a boy child leading to female foeticide, discrimination by family members, sexual exploitation is all there to see. With the multiple roles’ women play, some bestowed by nature like childbearing, becoming an essential part of the workforce, one needs to wonder whether the way one looks at gender parity is flawed. What is needed is to celebrate women for what they are and respect them. Poverty, violence, sexual abuse is harsh realities haunting humanity and what we have made the world to be. As Mother Theresa said, you alone cannot change the world, but you can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. Celebrate women’s achievement and be part of bringing the change leading to equality.

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World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development

The World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development is observed worldwide on4th March every yearsince 2020. Engineering and technology are central to achieving sustainable development. It is an opportunity to highlight the importance of engineering achievements and engineers’ contributions to transforming societies. Some of the challenges are: Inclusive and gender-equitable engineering profession, understanding the regional trends and achieving global cooperation. The success achieved in finding a vaccine for COVID-19 at such a short duration gives hope. If the world unites, it can find solutions to many unsolved problems the world is facing. With new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, CRISPER, gene editing, humanity is at the crossroads of great opportunity for positive transformation that leaves no one behind.  It is the responsibility of all those in the decision making to ensure the growth is all-round equitable and reduce the disparities. Observations days like these are to reassure what we have done in the past and can do now.

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World Wildlife Day

The survival of mother earth largely depends on the realisation that it is not an exclusive possession of humans. An estimate says that human activities would result in a drop of 68% of the wildlife population in less than 50 years. World Wildlife Day is an occasion to celebrate varied forms of fauna and flora and raise awareness about the benefits that their conservation provides. Heartening to see that India is doing well in wildlife preservation, the success of “Project Tiger” is an example. COVID-19 has demonstrated what can happen when we start exploiting the wildlife for the joy of eating; it is a reminder for humanity to rejuvenate our relationship with the natural world. Equally important is to protect the indigenous peoples who are custodians of ~80% of global diversity. Being sensitive and learning to coexist is vital for preserving mother earth. Wildlife conservation is an integral part of creating a sustainable world. If humans have caused it, they must exercise their power to correct it.

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Zero Discrimination Day

Why does a human being discriminate? Do animals and other creatures on the earth discriminate? Is it a peril of evolution of mind? We do see discrimination all around. While the world is fighting to end poverty and enhance the quality of life, discrimination is a factor of society, making it difficult for people to live in a just world. Knowingly or unknowingly, we grow in the world with subtle acceptance of discrimination. Gender inequality, health issues have always been haunted societies. The last century has seen people being discriminated against when they encounter diseases like Leprosy and TB. Is it not the time to stand up and work towards ending the evil of discrimination? Unfortunately, the world is struggling to end discrimination and bring awareness that discrimination is standing to achieve ambitions, goals, and dreams. Discrimination has several facets, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin colour, height, weight, profession, education, and beliefs. Societies must work towards celebrating everyone is right to live a full life with dignity regardless of what and how they are.  Since 2014, 1st March is being observed as “Zero Discrimination Day” led by the UN and other international organisations. The day aims to promote equality before the law and in practice. Discrimination is collective stupidity with which most evolved species on the earth is suffering from.

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National Science Day

National Science Day is all about enhancing understanding of the importance of science in the day-to-day life of the people, efforts and achievements in science for human welfare. It is to celebrate to discuss all the issues and implement new technologies for development in science. It is the initiative of the NCSTC in 1986 that led to the Government of India designating February 28 as National Science Day. National Science Day on February 28 is to commemorate the discovery of the Raman Effect by CV Raman in 1928. Naturally, National Science Day observation focusses more on CV Raman. Few aspects of the journey of CV Raman’s journey in research are very impactful. As a career in science did not appear to present the best possibilities (applicable even today!), Raman joined the Indian Finance Department. Raman found ways of carrying on research in the laboratory of the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science at Calcutta. Medical advice that he is likely to be affected by TB which would be life-threatening if he goes to England made him stay back in India.  CV Raman is so much associated with his wearing a turban. He attributed it to the recognition he received on his first visit to England. CV Raman said, “The only thing that is true is that a man is born, he lives, and he dies. Therefore, he should live his life properly”. The brilliance of people like CV Raman deserves more than celebrating his success; it motivates people to find solutions the societies face through the advancements of science and technology.

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World Pangolin Day

The third Saturday in February is promoted as World Pangolin Day. 2021 marks the 10th year of observation. The year passed by has brought Pangolin to the limelight for all the wrong reasons. Researchers have reported the possible animal source of the COVID-19 virus to be Pangolin. Pangolins have large, protective keratin scales covering their skin, and they are the only known mammals with this feature. Pangolins are listed as critically endangered. They are highly sought after in Asia for their scales due to the unproven belief that they have medicinal qualities and meat. If there is one thing, we have learned over the past year that is our actions have consequences. We need to be mindful of our actions and think about what we do, what we eat and what we purchase.

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World Radio Day

“Good Morning Mumbai”, a wake-up call by a radio jockey in a famous movie. Many of us grew up listening to radio broadcasts, be it news, music, or cricket commentary. World Radio Day is being observed on 13 February, proclaimed in 2011 by UNESCO and adopted by the UN 2012. Radio, more than 110-year-old the observation in its 10th year. Despite being more than 100 years old, the Radio remains one of the most popular ways to exchange information, save lives during natural or human-made disasters. Radio reaches everyone and has been with us longer than any other kind of broadcast media. There are about 44,000 radio stations worldwide. In India broadcasting began in June 1923, external Services in 1939. When India became independent, there were only six stations (Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Lucknow, and Tiruchirappalli). AIR’s services are delivered through 420 stations located across the country, reaching nearly 92% of the country’s area and ~99% of the total population. AIR originates programming in 23 languages and 179 dialects. Given its literal meaning in Sanskrit (“Voice from the Sky”), Akash Vani is more than an appropriate name for the broadcaster. Humans always aspired to find avenues to communicate, and Radio is doing yeomen service to humankind. As the world changes, so do Radio. It evolved, adapted, and innovated and continue to connect. Let us celebrate the power of Radio to reflect and promote diversity in all its forms.

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International Day of Women and Girls in Science

We need science, and science needs women. Not only about committing equal rights, but is also about making science more open, diverse, and efficient. The UN in 2015 resolved to observe February 11 as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. This observation aims to work towards full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. Even though representing half of the world’s population, women continue to be excluded from participating fully in the economy. Women have an essential role to play and a right to participate in sustainable development policies, programs, and decision-making at all levels. The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has demonstrated women researchers’ critical role in different stages of the fight against COVID-19. Worryingly 52 countries in the world are yet to guarantee equality to women in their constitutions. India had excellent researchers who happened to be women, like Rohini Godbole, Asima Chatterjee, to name a few. Long-standing biases and gender stereotypes are steering girls and women away from science-related fields. It is an unfinished business of our time.

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World Pulses Day

Since ancient times, pulses have been an essential part of the human diet. They are key ingredients in many national and regional dishes. Pulses can increase biodiversity as they can fix their nitrogen into the soil, enhancing the soil fertility. In addition to their high nutritional value and health benefits, pulses cultivation is economically advantageous for farmers and positively affects the environment. Intercropping with pulses increases farm biodiversity and creates a more diverse landscape for animals and insects. International Year of Pulses is observed to raise awareness of the importance of pulses cultivation, the nutritional value of pulses and their importance as an integral part of a healthy diet.

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World Cancer Day

4 February is observed as World Cancer Day. It aims to raise awareness about Cancer and pressing governments and individuals worldwide to act against the disease. Most cancers get diagnosed at a later stage, and the precious time is lost to give a patient a quality life ahead. Many different types of Cancers can occur in young people. WHO reports that Breast cancer has overtaken lung cancer as the most common form of the disease. Currently, the overall cancer incidence in India is low. As India continues to age, cancer cases will double every 20 years. Cancer exists, and it could happen to anyone and everyone.  Once a family member is diagnosed with Cancer, gloom looms. Fear of death, draining of resources, financial and time ensuring emotional support to the patient and more importantly, the family members. Only the commitment to act will lead to progress in reducing the global impact of Cancer. It is the commitment of governments, communities and more importantly people themselves.

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World Wetlands Day

2 February is celebrated as World Wetlands Day. The observation is to raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands. Wetlands occur where water meets land, and a wetland of international importance is being referred to as a Ramsar site. Estimates show that 64% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900. Like in many other countries, the wetlands in India are also fast disappearing. One of the reasons attributed to the recent devastation caused by 2015 floods in Chennai is vanishing wetlands. India has many of the Ramsar sites like Chilika Lake, Kolleru Lake, Loktak Lake. People are using more freshwater than nature can replenish, leading to destroying the ecosystem that water and all life depend on most – the Wetlands.  There is no “Planet B’, at least for now. The world communities must work together to protect the irreplaceable wetlands for current and future generations to come.  The role of local and indigenous communities is also vital in protecting them.  

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World Leprosy Day

World Leprosy Day is observed every year on the last Sunday of January and started in 1954. It aims to raise awareness about this ancient disease and call attention to it can be prevented, treated, and cured. In India, it is observed on 30 January to coincide with the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Historically speaking, Leprosy has existed since at least 4000 BC, and the disease was present and described in the ancient civilizations of China, India, and Egypt. Compared to other conditions, Leprosy affects only a small number of people, but it is essential to build an inclusive world. Leprosy is an easily treatable infectious disease. India achieved the elimination in 2005 at National level as per WHO criteria. According to WHO, more than 2 lakh new leprosy cases are reported globally in 153 countries, with more than 50% reported in India.

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International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27 was designated by UN in 2005 as International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. It also commemorates when the Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland on this day in 1945. Holocaust survivors and various leaders make their voices heard on this day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. The darker side of humanity, political and military leadership continues to emerge, and the world has seen similar or even more dreadful ones, the Cambodian genocide in 1975 by the Khmer Rouge or the genocide of ethnic communities in Rwanda in 1994. Importance of observance of days like these is to focus on bringing awareness especially to the youth of present with the lessons of the Holocaust so that future generations may work to prevent recurring of such events.  Recalling the Past is essential to Safeguard the Future. Observation of days like this is “Lest We Forget”.

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National Tourism Day

National Tourism Day is celebrated on January 25 every year.  It is observed to encourage tourism and bring awareness about the essential role tourism plays in the country’s growth. India has 38 World Heritage sites as recognised by UNESCO with Jaipur being the latest entry into the list. The funds generated due to tourism are huge, contributing to 9.2% of India’s GDP and the employment generation. New trends are emerging in the way people travel and visit, like Homestays over hotel rooms and workcations (a new word). Tourism has a different angle too, visiting historic places could be inspiring. When our ancestors could do that many years ago, sure we can do it now.  As Samuel Johnson said, travelling is to realise. Yes, there is so much to see, enjoy and learn. ‘Dekho Apna Desh’

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National Voters’ Day

The National Voters’ Day is observed on January 25 every year to mark the Election Commission of India’s foundation day in 1950 and being observed since 2011. This day is meant to encourage, facilitate, and maximise enrolment of new voters. One of the notable initiatives being undertaken this year is the launching of Election Commissions of India’s Web Radio: ‘Hello Voters‘, an online digital radio service which will stream voter awareness programmes, beginning of e-EPICs (Elector Photo Identity Cards), a digital version of the Elector Photo Identity Card.  The successful conduct of elections during pandemic has added another feather in India’s cap of Election Commission. There have been many instances in the history where everything came down to that one vote. Kudos to the election commission for the smooth conduct of such a large country, with enormous diversity. One of the ways of paying tribute is for everyone to exercise their right to vote.

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International Day of Education

Education is a fundamental right and plays a crucial role in everyone’s life. Development of a person hinges on education. Even though education is a human right, there are still many struggles for the children out there to get primary education. Conflicts hinder development and pushes many into poverty and one of the consequences of prolonged conflicts is affecting the education of young people. The world has recognised that education is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. There are some heartening developments that have emerged relating to imparting education in the times of COVID pandemic. Many countries have adopted innovative teaching methods to mitigate the pandemic’s immediate impact. It is high time to step up collaboration and international solidarity to place teaching and lifelong learning at the centre of the recovery. When the world is still struggling to ensure everyone gets educated, it is a long way to realise providing that education that was emphasised by Swami Vivekananda.

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National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Raising Day

The National Disaster Response (NDRF) Force”, specialised Indian Special Forces and multi-skilled manpower. During floods, drowning, cyclones and other disasters, the actions of the NDRF have been appreciated by the people. 19 January mark “The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Raising Day”. It is to recall the day this force was formed 16 years back. The first batch of 100 women have been inducted with more to join the force in due course of time. The National Disaster Management Authority aims to build a safe and disaster-free India by developing a comprehensive, proactive, multi-disaster and technology-driven strategy for disaster management. Even though natural disasters are beyond the control of human beings, several are a consequence of man-made activities. Thanks to the NDRF teams, who are always there risking their lives and saving many and assuring the friends and family members. A day like this is to recall their services, record our appreciation. Kudos to the NDRF Team.

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National Youth Day

India celebrates National Youth Day on 12 January, to celebrate Swami Vivekananda’s birthday, one of India’s most incredible spiritual and social leaders.  Swami Vivekananda is one of the iconic leaders who were very vocal about youth’s importance in nation-building. The speech he delivered at the Parliament of World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893 is historic. The demographic dividend will be realised when the nations take the necessary steps. Most of the countries where the youth population dominates are developing countries. This can help to see their economies prosper, provided they invest heavily in young people’s education and health and protect their rights. Celebrating youth day is an occasion to introspect the steps to ensure just and all-round growth.

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World Day of War Orphans

“World Day of War Orphans” reminds the world that caring for children in traumatic circumstances is a priority. Observing the day was started by the French body, SOS Enfants en Detresse (SOSEED). Today in many war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan, and other African countries, the number of orphaned children is alarming. UNICEF indicates that children from poor countries facing the brunt due to the war and conflicts. Every person has a right to access to quality of life and more so a child. Ensuring their health and wellbeing should be a priority. Child victims are a high proportion of civilian deaths in recent conflicts. Those orphaned due to war have an additional problem of living in fear. Ensuring a secure and safe environment for them is the responsibility of all human beings. Let us not forget children are in the word because elders decided to bring them.

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World Braille Day

It is the third year since the world is observing “World Braille Day”. January 4, the birth anniversary of Louis Braille, the inventor of Braille was chosen for the observance. Braille is not a language; it is just another way to read and write other languages. Even under normal circumstances, persons with disabilities are less likely to access health care, education, employment, and participate in the community. For the visually impaired, life under lockdown has posed several issues as they rely on touch to communicate. The challenge is to bring awareness, it is not the individual’s mistake to be born with a disability. They deserve much more than mere change the way they are addressed. When the world struggles to develop societies and communities to be just and empowering, the disability brings in a new dimension to finding solutions.

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International Day of Epidemic Preparedness

The first-ever International Day of Epidemic Preparedness is being observed on December 27 2020.  To advocate the importance of cooperation and partnership amongst all the countries to fight against pandemics. COVID19 pandemic perhaps the first in the recent history which has affected people across the globe. The scientific community and leadership of various countries demonstrated that humanity has developed the capability to tackle the problems. COVID pandemic has not spared anyone, be it rich or poor, influenced, ordinary or whoever. The coronavirus has shown how little human beings are? Many lessons to be learnt. The fact that the world can come out with a solution to the pandemic in such a short period gives hope to the world. Once the world moves on, leaving the pandemic behind, should contemplate how to find solutions to the problems being faced by poorer nations with diseases like TB.

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Kisan Diwas

Kisan Diwas is a day to celebrate the farmers and their work for the country.  Promote awareness among the countrymen to understand the importance of farmers’ contributions to society and the overall social and economic development. The day December 23 was chosen to commemorate the birth anniversary of Chaudhary Charan Singh. Agriculture is everything involved with growing plants and animals. Nearly everything we eat; wear and use came from a plant or an animal raised on a farm. While celebrating Kisan Diwas, we can do many things to support the farmers. Explore newer models like producer-to-consumer. Consumer financing farming and in return, getting the products at reduced cost would be a win-win situation.  Movements like Organic Mandya and the success it has seen is changing things. We need a “Kurian for farming”, to make small farming a success.

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National Mathematics Day

Srinivasa Ramanujan was a self-taught mathematician who made extraordinary contributions to the world of mathematics. National Mathematics Day is celebrated every year on December 22 to recognise the man of exceptional achievements. The life of Srinivasa Ramanujan has many lessons to be learnt, the role of mentors in identifying the talent, nurturing the same and showing the way to excel. India had a rich tradition of mathematical brilliance, be it Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, Bhaskara or Varahamira, and in more recent times, the contributions of Satyendra Nath Bose, CR Rao, PC Mahalanobis or Manjul Bhargava. Ramanujan was undoubtedly among the world’s greatest mathematicians in the 20th century. Philosophically life oscillates between Shunya to Anantha (zero to infinity). Aryabhata was credited for the world knowing the number ‘0’, people like Srinivasa Ramanujan contributed to exploring the shunya.

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International Migrants Day

UN proclaimed December 18 as “International migrants day” to raise awareness of the adversities faced by migrants and a goal to improve their social and economic conditions. The number of international migrants globally is 272 million people, which is approximately 3.5% of the world’s population. In less than ten years, this number has increased by more than 50 million. Social inclusion is a massive challenge during and the years after mass migration. Throughout human history, migration has been a courageous expression of the individual’s will to overcome adversity and to live a better life. COVID-19 pandemic made the lives of the poor and economically challenged migrants difficult. The crisis which was unfolded due to the outbreak of pandemic in India has caused distress. Those amongst who are directly undergoing suffering and those who witnessed it on the media. Today, more people than ever live in a country other than the one in which they were born. While many individuals migrate out of choice, many others migrate out of necessity. Migration should be a choice, not a necessity.

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National Energy Conservation Day

Amount of energy that is made available to the citizens is a measure of human development index of the country. As the nation’s race towards achieving progress, consumption of energy will increase. Unfortunately, societies have realised that the way energy is being produced is becoming a significant source of global warming. Either you keep on creating more and more energy for consumption or adopt the methods of optimising the energy consumption and/or improve the efficient ways of using the energy. 14 December is celebrated as National Conservation Day to bring awareness about the importance of conservation and aims to showcase India’s achievements in energy efficiency and conservation. One may recall the way houses were built in the villages in earlier times, without doubt they would pass the gold standard green building standards. What happened to all of us, in the name of achieving progress, we left all these behind and now struggling to reinventing them. Anyone can save energy by taking small steps like avoiding unnecessary use of light, fan, AC, or any other gadgets, take a walk on the stairs instead of using lift. Reduce energy consumption and encourage people to use it efficiently.

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International Mountain Day

When you think of most fascinating landscapes, mountains top the list of things that comes to one’s mind. The very thought of looking at the snow-capped peaks of the majestic Himalayas, evokes the fascinating feeling gripping the minds. Mountains are landforms which rise for over 600 meters than the surrounding land area. In many ancient cultures, it is believed that mountains were something spiritual – serving as the home of the Gods, or a place to get closer to God. Mountains cover about 27% of the earth, 30% of all key biodiversity areas are in the mountains, source of valuable medicinal plants and home to 15% of the world´s population. Most of the perennial rivers have their origin to mountains. Today mountains are under threat due to overexploitation and the climate change. What effects mountains affects the entire human population. It is December 11, and it is International Mountain Day.  It is time all nature and mountain lovers engage in discussing and acting on how to best conserve the fragile mountain environment – its flora and fauna. More importantly, many human tribes depend on them for their survival.

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Human Rights Day

UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10 in 1948. To commemorate the same, the UN has declared Human Rights Day observation on December 10 and being observed since 1950. The world is struggling to cope up with the challenge of COVID pandemic. But times like these compounds, the problems being faced by those deprived, suppressed and struggling to survive. This year observing of Human Rights Day has the theme, very appropriately, focussing on the need to build back better by ensuring Human Rights are central to recovery efforts. Human beings need to pause and contemplate, can the progress be progress when there is discrimination.  Progress remains elusive if it is not inclusive. Discrimination and human dignity cannot coexist. End discrimination of any kind and address inequalities.

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International Anti-Corruption Day

“International Anticorruption Day” is being observed on December 9 and aims at raising awareness against corruption and the role of the convention. It also aimed to raise people’s understanding of corruption and of the part of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in combating and preventing it. The Covid-19 pandemic has magnified all the challenges that exist in a society, and corruption in the healthcare sector has become an immediate concern. Appropriately the theme of this year’s observation is “Recover with integrity”. It urges everyone to stand united against corruption in the current global crisis. Corruption invariably evokes negative emotion. In developing societies, corruption by law-enforcing authorities is rampant. Each of us has a role to play, while it is the greed of the taker in authority is the prime reason, the giver is also equally guilty. Governments to make efforts to make ways the common man’s requirements are kept out of the heckles of corruption. The world can pay attention to corruption in high places.

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World Soil Day

Soil: The Incredible Intelligence Beneath Our Feet. What is the one thing we cannot live without, yet we do not value it enough? About 90% of living organisms live or spent part of their lifecycle in soils, yet we know only 1% of this hidden universe. “We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the ground underfoot”, observes Leonardo da Vinci. World Soil Day on 5 December is the United Nations Observance that celebrates healthy soils for a food-secure future. The movement to “Go Organic” is a welcome development. Observing days like this is to acknowledge the contributions of the farming community in ensuring food security and the drive to take care of the health of the soil.   

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International Day of Persons with Disabilities

15% of the world’s population, are disabled in some form or the other. 80% of them live in developing countries, ~ 46% of them are people aged 60 plus years. December 3rd is proclaimed as “International Day of Persons with Disabilities” by the UN in 1992 and is observed since then. It is a day to celebrate the achievements and contributions of people with disability and increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance. Unfortunately, not all disabilities are visible and understanding the same is the challenge. As Stephen Hawking demonstrated, concentrate on things your disability does not prevent you from doing well. All of us have the responsibility to make this world a better place. Bringing awareness goes a long way in bridging the gaps. Observation of days like these are opportunities to motivate people and societies to work to get that balance.

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National Pollution Control Day

Pollution is a global concern today which directly influences the future of all the organisms on the earth. In India, National pollution control day is observed on 2nd December annually to commemorate the memory of lives lost in the Bhopal gas tragedy. According to WHO, air pollution results in the death of seven million people every year and 9 out of 10 people do not have access to safe air. 13 of the world’s 20 cities with the highest annual levels of air pollution are in India. There is a need to develop stringent recycling systems for the industries to reduce pollution. New budding enterprises that work on reducing pollution and encouraging sustainable have seen success in recent times. When India is struggling to cope up with the COVID pandemic, and raising cases threatening the national capital of India, stubble burning in the neighbouring states is complicating the issue. Researchers have come out with novel methods to overcome this; brining awareness is essential to make such technologies to reach out to farmers. While the cause of pollution is known to everyone, it is raising awareness of managing pollution is the need of the hours. Humanity has the responsibility to leave the planet inhabitable to future generations.

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World Aids Day

World AIDS Day on December 1. It is an international day focussed on raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. Mourning those who have died of the disease.  AIDS has a far-reaching impact on the economic, cultural, and social aspects.  It drains the economy of the country and has a tremendous economic burden on the affected families. The stigma associated and lack of awareness and compassion for the people infected by AIDS are the issues the societies must ponder. A society like India where talking about sex is a taboo and no steps taken to educate the young on matters relating to sex, and a lot needs to be done. Bringing awareness and reaching out to the affected people needs to be given impetus. 
Word needs Solidarity, and it is a shared responsibility.

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Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare

Chemical warfare uses the toxic properties of chemical substances (manufactured) to kill, injure or incapacitate the enemy. The “Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare” is an annual event held on November 30 as a tribute to the victims of chemical warfare. More than 100 years after the first large‑scale use of chemical weapons in battle, they continue to inflict terror, suffering and death.  Chemical weapons meant for mass destruction were used during World War I. Used again during World War II, the Vietnam War in the 1960s and the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s taking lives of innocent civilians. Chemical weapons are of great concern because they are cheaper and easier to manufacture and deliver than nuclear or biological weapons. The use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anyone, under any circumstances, is intolerable. Those responsible must be brought to justice, and this independent of who is using such weapons.

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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Nothing good ever comes of violence. Hence the question, isn’t it silly that it still exists, then? Martin Luther questions.
1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner. 1 in 2 women killed worldwide were killed by their partners or family. The numbers speak for themselves and the challenge on hand! Violence is not merely killing another, it is using a sharp word, make a gesture to brush away a person, create fear, violence is much more subtle. UN-designated November 25 as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, in 1999. It is being observed to raise awareness about what women around the world are subjected to: rape, violence, including domestic. A Shadow Pandemic is growing during the COVID outbreak, an increase of all types of violence against women and girls, including domestic violence.  More needs to be done to address this and find solutions.

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International Children’s Day

It is International Children’s day, A day to reimagine a better future for every child. The United Nations on November 20 1959, adopted the declaration of rights of the child.  The declaration emphasises on the fundamental rights of children which are nutrition, safe environment, education, and moral support. It is reported that there are about 152 million children worldwide working as child labourers and India accounts for 7.3% of it. The current COVID19 pandemic has been a massive blow on the efforts of reducing child labour. It is also of utmost importance that we focus on the mental wellbeing of children in the post-pandemic period and be patient when the young ones gradually adapt to the system.

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World Toilet Day

It was a mixed feeling at the time of writing the log for “ToonLogs” on the topic “World Toilet Day”.  That of discomfort and troubling questions! Why “Toilet Day” is being observed even after the world has made so much progress? Humans are planning a Mars mission,  thinking of building a transit colony for humans on Moon? The stark reality of the situation is worrisome. Over half of the global population lack safe sanitation, and 40% in the world – live without basic handwashing facilities like soap and water and more than 600 million people practice open defecation. What a frightening situation we are in? Inadequate sanitation is directly linked to various health issues.  Nearly half a million people die of diarrhoea every year. In rural areas, young girls drop out of schools due to inadequate sanitation facilities in schools. Since 2012, 17th of November is observed as World toilet day to spread awareness on the importance of sustainable sanitation and overcome the current sanitation crisis in many parts of the world. Recall PM Narendra Modi’s famous slogan, ‘Pehle shauchalaya, phir devalaya’ (first toilet only then Temple)! This was implemented as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission. Governments “Clean India” mission aims to construct more than 100 million latrines in five years. It is not only a problem of lack of infrastructure or facilities, the mindset and bringing awareness plays an important role.

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International Day for Tolerance

Human beings aim to achieve progress and enhance the quality of their lives. Governments and societies work towards realising the same- all the developments in Science and Technology aimed at attaining all-round development. In a hurry to progress and achieve success, people and societies are becoming less tolerant. Understanding the diversity and accepting the same is essential and the need of the times. Tolerance is an attribute that helps people to live together peacefully. International Day for Tolerance marked on November 16 is observed to build tolerance among the cultures and people. Newer forms of personnel expression and likes and dislikes are throwing up challenges, be it acknowledging the rights of LGBTQ community, same-sex marriages, or rights of transgender communities. Most of the toxic environments in the workplace are the result of deep-rooted beliefs based on gender, caste, religion, and race. Changing times is adding newer dimensions to being tolerant. Elders being unsuspecting to younger generation approach to life and the younger generation understanding the value systems of elders. Indian scriptures highlighted the importance of being with peace with oneself and work together to sharpen the intellect and eliminate hate. Let us all take a step forward and make the society to be more accepting, tolerant and make the world a better and safe place for everyone in it.

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World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

It is 25 years since a day dedicated to remembering road traffic victims began to be observed. Third Sunday in November is observed as the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, every year. Deaths and injuries are traumatic and their impact is long-lasting.  Each year, millions of newly injured and bereaved people are getting added. One person is killed every 25 seconds, with low-income countries having the highest annual fatality rates. The number of fatalities due to road accidents is more in India. ~17 accident-related deaths occur across India every hour. India has about 1% of the world’s vehicle population, but it accounts for about 6% of the road traffic incidents. Injuries due to traffic accidents are preventable. There is a need to take action to address road safety holistically. Involvement from various sectors, transport, police, health, education, is required.
One is to have rules and regulations, and more challenging is to ensure adherence of the same. Bringing awareness about the consequences of traffic accidents is essential and days like this to remember is in that direction. Life is precious to the individuals, it is as much to the families, societies, and countries. Each year, about three to five per cent of the country’s GDP was invested in road accidents. Sustainable Development Goals has an ambitious target of halving the global number of deaths and injuries from road traffic crashes.

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World Diabetes Day

One in ten people is living with diabetes. One in six in the world with diabetes is from India. One in two people with diabetes don does not know they have it. Globally, more than 420 million people are living with diabetes, with the prevalence of diabetes nearly doubling in the last forty years.  More worrisome is the faster rise of diabetes prevalence in low and middle-income countries. India is the second most affected by diabetes in the world after China. It has an estimated 77 million people with diabetes. The situation is alarming. Yes, it is a lifestyle disease. Sedentary lifestyles and overweight would significantly influence the way that your body utilizes insulin. Once you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is not the end of the road. With a healthy diet, exercise, yoga, and meditation, you will mostly be able to manage, and possibilities of reversing it are also being discussed. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2020 is “The Nurse and Diabetes”. It is essential to raise awareness about the role that nurses play in supporting people living with diabetes.

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World Science Day for Peace and Development

No aspect of human life is untouched by science and technology in some form or another.   Researchers while focussing on finding solutions to the problems being, less attention is being paid to bring awareness about the progress being made, leading to disconnect with the very people for whose benefit the R&D is being carried. There is a need to focus on arriving at the methodologies of creating awareness and among the public. World Science Day for Peace and Development is celebrated on 10 November every year, aims at highlighting the significant role of Science plays in Society and the need to engage Society and fostering cooperation amongst researchers across the continents and support researchers living in regions of conflicts and wars.   At a time when the world is struggling to cope up with the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus of researchers is and should be in finding solutions.  Actions that ensure public confidence in science and refute harmful misinformation are crucial. Public trust in science is essential for successful science-based policies.    
The advancements being made in Science and Technology can be a double-edged sword, and whether one uses it for finding solutions to the problems and enhancing them is in the hands of governments, policymakers, and people. Living in peace is a strong indicator of progress and quality of life of the citizens.  Science is for society and should always be with Society.

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World Tsunami Awareness Day

India woke up to the shocking realisation of what the sea can do. It was December 26, 2004, a major Tsunami has struck the southern coast of India. The loss of life was more due to a lack of awareness about Tsunami and what actions one should take. People tend to ignore many warnings, and the need for caution brought into their awareness. That is where observing “World Tsunami Awareness Day” is of significance.  November 5 was designated as World Tsunami Awareness Day by the UN in 2015, to raise awareness about Tsunami and share innovative approaches to risk reduction. Even though Tsunamis are rare events, the devastations caused by them and consequent economic costs are enormous.  The word “Tsunami” comprises the Japanese words “tsu” (meaning harbour) and “nami” (meaning wave). Though the reason for Tsunami is an earthquake, not all earthquakes cause tsunamis, it should be of at least 6.5 on the Richter Scale.

Kudos to Indian scientists.  A state-of-the-art warning centre has been established at INCOIS. And is an integral part of the Global Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System, established and coordinated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.

Let us bring awareness of the consequences of natural disasters, after all, life is precious, and that is what you have and real.

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Blue Moon

“Once in a Blue Moon”, one says when something rare happens and today is one of those days. The night of October 31 (tonight) will host the Blue Moon. This night the Blue Moon will appear close to Mars, adding to the spectacle. This Blue Moon coincides with Halloween, and one needs to wait till 2039 for a Blue Moon day on Halloween. It is also the Northern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon, or Full Moon nearest the September equinox. Not so common that a seasonal Blue Moon and a monthly Blue Moon occur in the same calendar year. Next time it would happen in the year 2048 and then in 2067. The moon always evoked romantic emotions. Poets emoted “Blue Moon” as a symbol of sadness and loneliness and turns to gold when he gets his love at the end of the song. Hopefully, we would never see a real, blue-coloured moon in the sky. If it were to happen, Earth’s atmosphere should contain dust or smoke particles slightly more expansive than 900 nanometres. The way the pollution goes up every year at this time of the year in Delhi and surrounding areas hope it does not end up making the moon blue. For now, it is time to enjoy the “Blue Moon” in the company of Mars. This year also saw the Super Pink Moon & Super Flower Moon.

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World Cities Day

More than half of the world’s population lives in cities and more than 80% of global GDP generated in cities. UN estimates that it goes up to 68% by 2050, 35% of urbanisation happening in India, China and Nigeria. Unplanned and rapid urbanisation has been the bane the humanity is living with. Promoting cooperation and address the challenges of urbanisation and contributing to sustainable urban development is essential. To achieve this goal, in 2014 the UN, designated 31st of October as World Cities Day.

Policymakers and governments need to engage communities in urban planning, implementation, and monitoring to co-create the cities of the future. Indian government embarked on the Smart City Initiative. It was introduced to drive economic growth and improve the quality of life through local development with the use of technology. The devised approach included retrofitting and/or redevelopment of cities and Greenfield projects. For sustaining urban development, the world needs participatory, inclusive, and sustainable development. Collectively, we can genuinely promote sustainable cities for all.

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Victory of Good over Evil

“Dashahara” is a compound Sanskrit word composed of “dasham” (10) and “ahar” (day) . UNESCO describes it as the tradition of performance arts  one of the “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”. Vijayadashami is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of India and the neighbourhood. While the observation of Vijayadashami is on the same day across India, the festivities leading to it vary.

O COVID what have you done! Taken away, the spirit of coming together and celebrating. Hopefully, we restrain ourselves only for this year and come next year, we would get back to our old routine.

In the fight against evil to be successful, we all need to cooperate and leave the destruction job to the Almighty. Let good sense prevail, and all of us contribute for the victory of Good over Evil.

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World Development Information Day

Development plays a crucial role in our lives and has many connotations. It is essential to bring awareness and to provide information is the first step in that direction to bring a change. In 1972 the UN decided to institute a World Development Information Day. It is commemorated along with the UN Day on October 24. It aims at mobilizing public opinion and draw attention and create awareness of the problems surrounding development. It is every individual’s responsibility to act towards meeting sustainable goals. 2030 is only ten more years to go. Let us work toward the betterment of our homes, our countries, our world by harnessing the power of information and witness drastic game-changing improved results!

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The ideas around the UN were developed in the last years of World War II, beginning on 25 April 1945. With the ratification of the charter, the UN officially came into being. There is no other global organisation with the legitimacy, convening power that survived this long. In 1947, the General Assembly declared 24 October, as UN day to commemorate the anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations and is celebrated since 1948. This anniversary comes in a time of an unprecedented global health crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent severe economic and social impacts.  

UN @75 and the world needs to contemplate. What led to the failure of “League of Nations” and whether the world is seeing semblances of the same. 75 is an age reflecting the maturity, experience, and wisdom acquired witnessing the way the world has been shaped. It is time to reform and move forward. Humanity has the responsibility to move forward and more importantly “Shape the future together”.

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World Statistics Day

It is once in five years celebrations. World Statistics Day is an international day to celebrate statistics. It all started in 2010 with 103 countries joining the celebration. In 2015, the UN has designated 20 October as the World Statistics Day and decided to celebrate the Day every five years. Mathematics deals with numbers, patterns, and their relationships, whereas statistics is concerned with systematic representation and analysis of data. Statistics is the discipline that involves the collection, organisation, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of data. Statistics deals with every aspect of data, including the planning of data collection. “Data is the new oil” Said Clive Robert Humby, British mathematician and entrepreneur in 2006. Like oil, data is “valuable, but if unrefined, it cannot really be used”. Data needs to be analysed for it to become significant and to benefit the people.

COVID pandemic brought to the fore the importance of the statistics. Not a day passes without seeing the statistics of the pandemic, modelling of the data and predictions and so on. Statistics is a twin edged sword. With more data and reliable modelling and statistical analysis, the world is seeing so much of change. The advancements being made in the front of weather predictions stands testimony to this. With Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning making tremendous progress, data and reliable data become important with Data Analytics playing a crucial role. Let us celebrate World Statistics Day by recognising the need for reliable data.

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International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

We are living in a world characterised by an unprecedented level of economic development, technological means, and financial resources. However, still, millions of people live in extreme poverty.  Poverty has different dimensions, lack of income and the essential capabilities to live in dignity, experience dangerous work conditions, lack of access to justice and health care. This year marks the 27th Anniversary of the UN declaration of 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Almost 8% of the world population lives in poverty, most of them belong to Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa regions. People living in small, fragile, and conflict-affected countries are more vulnerable to be pushed to live in poverty.  Children, women and people living in rural areas are more affected due to poverty. Ending poverty in all its forms is the first of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. While global poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 2000, the pace of change is decelerating, and the COVID-19 crisis risks reversing decades of progress in the fight against poverty. Participation of people living below the poverty line in the decisions that affect their lives is essential to build a sustainable future.  Communities world over should work to fulfil the needs and aspirations of everyone to make this world a better place to live.

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Global Handwashing Day

Three words echoed umpteen times this year are “Wash your Hands”. In the fight against the COVID19, one thing that we cannot forget is the importance of handwashing. A simpler  method to prevent the spread of any virus and ensures better health outcomes overall. Global Handwashing Day is being observed since 2008. It is a day that is designed to foster and support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap, showing the importance of handwashing across the world. The fight against COVID pandemic continues and with determination and adopting simple precautionary steps like washing hands and not touching the nose goes a long way, stopping the spread of COVID.

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International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

A mere rise of just 1˚C above the global average temperature is causing havoc to the environment. On-going COVID-19 pandemic is turning out to be unprecedented in the history of mankind, causing massive loss of lives and resources. People started wondering whether the world would be the same ever. With the passing of every year, disaster is taking on a new form. Unfortunately, disasters never wait for their turn. A disaster occurs when hazards and vulnerability meet. The world is seeing both natural and human-made disasters. The International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction is observed each year on 13 October. It is to celebrate the efforts of people and communities around the world in reducing their exposure to disasters and raise awareness. This year the celebration of the day is all about governance. Good disaster risk governance can be measured in the lives saved, reduction in the number of disaster-affected people, and reduced economic losses. It requires a proper national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction in place by the end of the year.  The situation arising from COVID19 pandemic is a warning that the world should not ignore.

It is the people who matter most, and without the people, we have no disaster.

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International Day of the Girl Child

International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the UN, started in 2012. Aims at Increasing awareness of inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. There are many challenges: inequality caused by lack of access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination, violence against women and forced child marriage.  2020 also saw the launch of “Generation Equality” a multi-year, multi-partner campaign and movement for bold action on gender equality. Nearly 1 in 4 girls is neither employed nor in education, 1 in 3 women has experienced physical or sexual violence. In India, there are almost 5 crores more males, can you imagine the type of social imbalance and the consequences it creates.          

Preference to boy child leading to female foeticide, discrimination by family members, sexual exploitation is prevalent. Government has come out with excellent schemes be it “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” or measures for women empowerment. A lot is yet to be done; it is work in progress. Girls are breaking boundaries and barriers, including those with disabilities and marginalized. As entrepreneurs, innovators girls are creating a world that is relevant for them and future generations.

This year’s Noble winners are an inspiration.

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World Migratory Bird Day

Migratory Birds have lessons to teach to humanity. The will to survive, the intelligence to preserve, plan and the determination to survive. More importantly, the willingness to go through the struggle. Travelling such long distances, facing harsh environments, surviving the predators, human-made obstructions. What a journey they make. Year after year, demonstrating that mother earth belongs to everyone. It is the humans who have created the boundaries, entry restrictions. Birds Connect Our World and are central to our cultures and have been reflected in our art, music, and belief systems throughout history. World Migratory Day is an annual awareness campaign to highlight the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats and Initiated in 2006. From 2018, it is being observed twice a year: on the Second Saturday in May and in October. It is an effort to bring awareness about the dangers faced by migratory birds, their biological significance, and the requirement for global participation to preserve them. India is a winter home for most of the Siberian birds such as Siberian Cranes, Greater Flamingo and Demoiselle Crane, also numerous species of birds from other regions of the world.

We have the responsibility to “Make the world a better place, For you, me and the entire human race and species on mother earth”.

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World Post Day

Post connects and includes people around the world

Not long ago, many used to wait for the arrival of Post, in anticipation of communication form the near and dear ones. Birthdays, New year and other special occasions, people use to spend time in selecting cards with impactful messages to convey the greetings and share happiness. It is the arrival of the Post that used to make their day.  “The Post Office” in India, it is the most widely distributed postal system in the world. With changing times like many other things, Posts must innovate to remain relevant in the changing communication landscape. Indian Government finding innovative ways of utilising this sizeable nationwide network, for the last mile connectivity of many governmental services. During COVID pandemic times, postal services remained practically uninterrupted and reaching essential supplies to many.

Celebrating “World Post Day” is more relevant than any time before, as the new generation may not even know what it means to carry the message and deliver. The story must be told lest it is forgotten.

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Wildlife Week

Nature is our Password..
Conservation the Creed

Survival of mother earth largely depends on the realisation that it is not an exclusive possession of humans. In the pursuit of finding pathways for enhancing the quality of life, the sensitivity to the environment and other species has diminished. Rapid urbanisation and overexploiting the natural resources have created an imbalance. Wildlife plays an essential role in the ecological and biological processes that are significant to life. The importance of coexisting of all living species and preserving the forest cover and wildlife is more relevant now than at any time. Bringing awareness about preserving wildlife becomes very important. Wildlife Week is an annual event and is celebrated all over India.  Being sensitive and learning to Coexist is vital for the survival of mother earth and preserving wildlife is an essential component of it.

It is time, humanity comes together and RoaR

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International Day of Non-Violence

The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, to “disseminate the message of nonviolence, including through education and public awareness”. The name of Mahatma Gandhi transcends the bounds of race, religion and nations. Violence is self-directed, interpersonal or collective that is likely to result in injury, psychological harm, or death. WHO estimates indicate that every year 1.6 million people worldwide die from violence. Gender-based violence and domestic violence occurs across the world. Lower socioeconomic status has been shown to be risk factors for higher levels of domestic violence.  Any form of abuse can leave deep psychological scars. Violence places a massive burden on national economies. When the world is celebrating 151st birthday of the great soul, Mahatma Gandhi, it is the time to resolve and reaffirm the commitment to work towards a world free of violence, not only the armed conflicts but all forms. May good sense prevails, and humans use its intelligence and ability to make this world a better place to live. Sarvesham Shnatir Bhavatu, Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavatu.

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International Day for Older Persons

The year 2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons. The day is a celebration and respecting the contributions of the older individuals make to society. The COVID fatality rate for older people is higher, and five times the global average for those over 80. Globally, there were 703 million persons aged 65 or over in 2019. The global population of the “oldest old”, people aged 80 and older, is expected to more than triple between 2015 and 2050 and predicted to be quadruple in Asian and Latin American countries. People are living longer, but that does not necessarily mean that they are living healthier. People work through their lives to fulfil the requirements of life for the family and contribute to the growth of the siblings, and as one age, health issues would crop up. Word is seeing more nuclear families, single-parent households and young people travelling to far off places in search of prosperity, a situation is developing where care for old is becoming a challenge. In a society like ours, older people living on their own is not being accepted with grace, putting that much extra burden for the elderly to lead peaceful lives. Society must be prepared to tackle it. There is a need to build more inclusive, sustainable, and age-friendly communities that are fit for the future. No person is expendable. Older people have the same rights to life and health as everyone else.

Leave no one behind.

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International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Global nuclear disarmament is the primary goal. In 2014UN passed a resolution to observe26 September as “The International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons“.  It is estimated that various countries in possession have nuclear arsenal in excess of 13,000.  Going by the record of testing, US, Russia, France, UK, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, are in possession of nuclear weapons. Strategists believe that Israel has nuclear weapons. The worrying factor is that there are no nuclear disarmament negotiations are currently underway. US’s withdrawal spelt the end of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, fearing the possibility of further escalation of testing and accumulating of nuclear weapons.  Nuclear energy offers a source of abundant clean energy, if harnessed it would be able to meet the energy demands of the world, without CO2 addition. The fear of the possibilities of nuclear technology be used for destruction led to people becoming apprehensive about this form of energy. The race to achieve the mastery of nuclear weapons, in a way, demonstrates the capability of humanity to come together to achieve breakthroughs. Can the world come together and do it again to solve problems like “Climate Change” which are threatening the survival of humanity? More immediate to find solutions to COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted humanity, transcending rich, poor, famous or whoever. The world must come together to find a solution and that too in the shortest time possible. Someone somewhere in the universe, while writing about human history, would write “here was a race did not survive as it has failed to put together all its strength and capability to find solutions”.

Let us hope that one day all nuclear weapons are eliminated, and we live nuclear-weapon-free world.

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International Day of Peace

Indian Scriptures have been emphasising the importance of being at Peace.
Today humanity is split based on an individual’s sense of greatness and intolerance to different choices. Society is searching for solutions to end the misery despite all the progress made. 21 September is being observed as “The International Day of Peace”.
Several Conflicts are going on in the world for several years. More people are getting killed because of conflicts in the world.  Conflict and violence have multiple dimensions. Prolonged war keeps countries poor, and it takes a long time to return to normalcy. Gender-based violence too is on the rise, Casualties due to ware are civilians, most of them being women and children. Celebrate the International Day of Peace by spreading compassion, kindness, and hope in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stand together with the UN against attempts to use the virus to promote discrimination or hatred.
Let us all create Peace Day every day!

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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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International Youth Day

With the world getting more and more connected and turning into a global village, the expectations of the aspiring younger generation are skyrocketing. The gap between your aspirations and ability to realise them is increasing and youth finds themselves being subjected to stress, anxiety, and depression. There are many issues relating to youth which needs the attention of the governments, societies, more importantly, the family members. “International Youth Day” is being commemorated on 12 August and the theme for 2020 is “Youth Engagement for Global Action”.

One in every six persons worldwide belong to the younger generation and projected to peak around 2065, with the growth being more in the poorest countries. Education and youth employment are essential for reaping the “demographic dividend” and harness the same to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Empower the youth to find out what their strength is and providing avenues to realise the same is the responsibility of the societies.  Pursuing sports, fine arts and learning to live in congruence with the surrounding and accepting the diversity is to be taught.

Most of the challenges humanity currently faces, such as the COVID-19 outbreak and climate change require concerted global action, meaningful engagement and participation of the younger generation to be addressed effectively.

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World Elephant Day

World Elephant Day is launched to bring attention to the condition of Asian and African elephants and is celebrated every year on 12 August. Elephant is a sacred animal in many cultures around the world, but poaching, habitat loss, human-animal conflict and exploitation in captivity are some major threats to elephants which can push them on the brink of endangered species. Elephants are social animals’ livings in herds and they display intricate social and emotional behaviour and value their families more than other animals. Elephants are long-lived animals with great memory and are extremely adaptable, occupying a variety of habitats from desert to savannah to dense forests. Elephant families have a female head; the oldest experienced female elephant is responsible to lead the herd and are called “matriarchs”. Elephants communicate in a many ways – including sounds like trumpet calls, body language, touch and scent and sometimes vibration in ground. Elephants play an important role in maintaining the biodiversity of the ecosystems.

Shrinking habitats forces the elephants to come into closer contact with people which results in more frequent conflict over land and resources with consequences such as crop raiding and reciprocal loss of life. Human-elephant conflict has become a risk to biodiversity conservation, and the management of such conflict is a primary goal for elephant conservation.        
We need to bring the world together to help elephants

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International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Human beings have always been inquisitive and explored the world, the advancement of Science and Technology made the world a “Global Village”. While enhanced connectivity is bringing people of diverse backgrounds to come together, also posing challenges in adapting to the local situation. The dying of folk arts, indigenous traditions are becoming a concern to societies across the world. The situation with indigenous tribes is very bad. Humans in their greed to harness the natural resources, started encroaching into the landscapes of indigenous people. is happening to such a large extent that the very existence of the indigenous communities is being threatened.

9 August is International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and being observed to create awareness about the rights of indigenous people. Except for Antarctica, indigenous people are inhabited along every continent of the world. In the era of COVID, Indigenous peoples are seeking their solutions to tackle pandemic.

By employing their traditional knowledge and practices and demonstrating their capability to adapt. Indigenous people are limited in number which is fast dwindling, if we do not take steps soon we would lose them. Future generations would see and know them only from what has been written about them.

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International Tiger Day

The magnificent Bengal Tiger is the national animal of India. But a worrying factor is that Tigers are one of the most endangered species. July 29 is “International Tiger Day” to raise awareness and to encourage tiger conservation. This year marks the tenth International Tiger Day. India is doing well, with 6% a year increase in its population.  50 tiger reserves across Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains Landscape, Central Indian Landscape and Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats Landscape, North East Hills and Brahmaputra plains Landscape and the Sundarbans. Significance of conservation of tiger gains importance as the tiger is an “umbrella species”, its conservation enables the conservation of their entire ecosystems. What are fingerprints to humans, stripes are to tigers with no two tigers having the same stripes.  As per the latest count, India has less than 3000 tigers,
75% of the world tiger population. Such low numerical numbers are too fragile to give us comfort.

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World Hepatitis Day

Diseases like TB, Hepatitis continue to threaten humanity. WHO notes that Hepatitis is the second-most killer disease after TB. World Hepatitis Day provides an opportunity to join hands to educate about hepatitis being a global public health concern and development of new technologies for early diagnosis, prevention, cure and treatment. A hepatitis-free future is achievable, WHO given a call to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 and is included in the SDGs. Organising Hepatitis Day has a Cuttack link, with Prof SP Singh proposing 28th July be designated as Hepatitis day. Treatment options for hepatitis depend on the type of hepatitis (acute or chronic). Vaccines are available for some and others it is work in progress. There are other forms like alcoholic hepatitis and autoimmune hepatitis, threatening humanity. With many people infected by Hepatitis, it has become one of the pressing public health concerns in India. World Hepatitis Day is an occasion to call on people and governments across the world to act and raise awareness to find the “missing millions”.

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World Nature Conservation Day

There is a realisation about the importance of pancha bhutas in the Indian ancient Knowledge systems and profess the need to maintain a balance. The journey of mankind and hurry to achieve progress and enhance the quality of life has missed the destination. This has resulted in imbalance, overexploitation of resources and the very survival of the planet is being challenged.  Conservation of nature is of utmost priority for all human beings and their life on this planet. World Nature Conservation Day is observed on July 28 to raise awareness about the importance of preserving natural resources and protecting them.  Nature is threatened by many of our actions and It is the responsibility of human beings to protect nature and create a healthy environment in the present to leave something behind for future generations. Natural resources are limited and took millions of years for the formation of minerals and humans are exploiting them at a pace difficult to sustain the resources. The origin of commemorating and the history of World Conservation Day is unknown. It is good to see people across the world come together and organise events to bring awareness for preserving precious natural resources.

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The International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem

The Sundarbans (beautiful forest) is the world’s largest area of mangrove forest. Mangroves are a type of tropical forest that originates at the boundary of land and sea flooded regularly by tidal water. Mangroves are home to the diverse array of plants, invertebrates and abundant wildlife. The coastal ecosystems of mangroves capture and hold significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and ocean (blue carbon) contributing to the mitigation of climate change. Urbanisation, industrialisation, and discharge of domestic sewage, industrial effluents, pesticides, aquaculture and salt pans are making Mangroves the most threatened ecosystems on earth, with serious ecological and socio-economic impacts. July 26 celebrated as “The International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem”, to raise awareness of the importance of mangrove ecosystems and to promote solutions for their sustainable management, conservation and uses. Mangroves act as a natural coastal defence against storm surges, tsunamis, rising sea levels and erosion. It’s important to protect mangroves because they are difficult to replant. No other species of tree in the world can survive in saltwater.

Our Solutions are in Nature!

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World Brain Day

World Brain Day” is celebrated on 22 July to increase public awareness about brain health. The theme of the year long events is “Move Together to End Parkinson’s Disease”. Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative brain disease effecting the whole-body and of all ages. It is estimated that there are more than 7 million people effected and likely to reach 12 million by  2050. Research is on to find out the reasons of onset and treatment. The disease identified way back in 1817 by British physician, James Parkinson, and named after him. Human Brain is the largest brain organ of all living organisms in terms of relative to body mass/size. Our brain is divided into two lobes, right and left. It is important is to have a balance between the left and right brain is what makes the brain perform at its optimal capacity. Like any other organ, the brain too needs nutrients. The difference between brain and mind has been a subject of debate since ancient times.  It is said that “Brain” is considered a physical manifestation of the “Mind”. Need to take care of both your body and mind (or should it be Brain)!

Happy World Brain Day!

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World Snake Day

World Snake Day is celebrated to increase the awareness about snakes and conservation of
a sometimes dangerous but often misrepresented reptile. Their prehistoric lineage, snakes give a glimpse to prehistoric times. Göbekli Tepe in Turkey estimated to have been built 11-12 thousand years ago, have carvings of abstract symbols of snakes. One finds their mention in religion and mythology, from the Bible, ancient Egyptian texts to Puranas. Description of Krishna’s Kalinda Mardhanam on a multi-hooded snake in the River Yamuna is cherished by many. Maximum snake bite incidents occur when humans inadvertently step on or otherwise disturb the peaceful creatures. Snake venom has been used for anti-tumour treatments to antibacterial properties. Climate change, habitat loss, and exploitation threaten many snakes. Snakes are an important part of our community and a vibrant, functioning planet. Fear and negative attitudes about snakes are the biggest barriers to their conservation.

Next time you see a snake, move away, take precautions to be safe but leave it to itself.
And snakes need our help.

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World Population Day

To make people aware of the issues related to overpopulation, in 1989, the UN passed a resolution to observe July 11 of every year as World Population Day.  The purpose of observing this day is to bring attention to the burden being created by the rapid population growth.  Such uncontrolled growth puts uncertain pressure on natural resources, wildlife extinction and habitat loss. Moreover, the population growth is not uniform nor the natural resources and addition of every million people the imbalance is getting enhanced.  COVID19 pandemic is impacting the world differently, it is estimated that six months continuous lockdown with major disruption of health services became a cause of seven million unintended pregnancies in low and middle-income countries. This problem of overpopulation cannot be solved by magic in a day, educating and bringing awareness is the only option.

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National Doctor’s Day

National Doctor’s Day is celebrated on July 1 to honour and recognise the services of great physician Dr BC Roy, who often described as the Dhanvantari of the modern era.  Doctor’s Day is observed on different dates across the world.  The theme for this year being “Lessen the mortality of COVID 19”. In the current times of the health pandemic caused by COVID19, all of us realise the importance of the doctors, health workers and their commitment to providing health care more than ever.

Doctors are special, and the health pandemic brought to the fore they being our real-life heroes. Doctor’s Day is an opportunity to thank all the heroes in the medical fraternity for their selfless contributions.

The presence of the doctor is the beginning of the cure.
Vaidyo Narayano Hari

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International Asteroid Day

Space is home to millions of galaxies inhabited by countless celestial objects with only a few of these have been discovered.  Researchers believe that celestial objects like as asteroids, meteoroids, comets have hidden secrets which can help to solve the mysteries of the universe. In 1801, the first and largest asteroid, Ceres, orbiting between Mars and Jupiter was discovered. “Tunguska asteroid event in Siberia” on 30 June 1908 lead the UN adopting that day as International Asteroid Day with the aims to raise public awareness about the asteroid and its impacts. There are lots of asteroids in the solar system and positioned in the main asteroid belt – a region between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. By landing two hopping robots onto asteroid Ryugu, Japan has become the first country in the world to land rovers on an asteroid. Several NASA Space missions have flown by and observed asteroids.  Indian students (trained by organisation SPACE) discovered two Asteroids. Only a few weeks ago (April 2020), one of the asteroids, passed by relatively close to Earth. Let us celebrate “World Asteroid Day” and continue research and observations to unravel the mysteries of the universe.

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World Music Day

Life is a journey. Bharata Muni describes the emotions humans go through in “Navarasa”.  
All humans go through the feelings but in varied proportions. Success-Failure, happiness-sorrow, Victory-loss, all are there and many times cyclic, as if a shadow of one another.

In pursuit of success, humans have drifted away from remaining to be in equilibrium. 
The more technology entered the lives, the more drifted the humans are and have increasingly become hollow. To lead a satisfying life, balance is needed, and it comes in pursuit of fine arts, be it learning, practising or just listening/watching.
21 June is celebrated world over as “World Music Day” the world over.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought unthought-of restrictions and fear of the possibilities. One de-stressing instrument is music.  
Let us celebrate Music.

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International Yoga Day

“Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action, a holistic approach that is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and nature.” PM Narendra Modi to UN General Assembly.

UN declared 21 June as “International Yoga Day”. The practise of Yoga was started during the Indus-Sarasvati civilization over 5,000 years ago. It was first mentioned in the Rig Veda. Yoga is a combination of physical, mental, and spiritual practices and brings spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science. Yoga does not adhere to any religion, belief system or community; it has always been approached as a technology for inner wellbeing.

While fighting the battle against COVID-19 epidemic, there is a need to keep ourselves strong both physically and mentally. Practising Yoga and meditation are our ammunition in our fight against the unprecedented health pandemic.

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Ring of Fire

Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences in which Indians had mastery. Aryabhata almost 1,500 years ago, explained the reasons for the eclipses. When the moon covers the sun from the centre leaving the outer rim of the sun, an annual solar eclipse happens and ‘Ring of Fire’, is seen. On 21st June, people from different parts of the world will be able to witness the beauty of ‘Ring of Fire’ for about 30 seconds.

This is the first Solar Eclipse in 2020 and one more would be in December. If you miss them, you need to wait till March 2034 to see one in India. “Presence of Helium in Sun’s atmosphere” was discovered during one of the solar eclipses way back in 1868. Vigyan Prasar has been organizing several activities around the astronomy for the last 20 years.  

Interestingly one question uppermost in many people’s mind: Will the solar eclipse kill corona virus?  
The solar eclipse won’t kill corona virus – that’s entirely in your hands. Literally.

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Desertification and Drought Day

Our Planet is Ailing.
Through international action and solidarity, we can scale up, land restoration and nature-based solutions for climate action and the benefit of future generations.
By doing so, we can deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals and leave no one behind.

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World Against Child Labour – Anti-Child Labour Day

According to the latest report of ILO, there are 152 million child labourers (42% of them being girls) across the globe, nearly half of them engaged in hazardous work.  Child labour prevalent in labour industries like Diamond industry, Fireworks manufacture, Silk manufacture, Carpet weaving, Domestic labour and  Mining with agriculture accounting for 71% of them.  Africa, Asia and the Pacific regions have the largest share of child labour (9 out of 10) in the globe. Low income, poverty, lack of resources forces the families in taking the children to take up works. The National Anti-Child Labour Day is observed every year in India on April 30.

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World Ocean Day

In the race of development, all countries are competing to get ahead of each other, and one major calamity is the overexploiting the natural resources. Exploiting the ocean resources is no exception. The societies which will promote sustainable development would win the race.

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World Environment Day

Celebrate Biodiversity
The world belongs to every creature and the sooner we realise the better placed we all would be. Every living thing is connected to another living thing, and together it forms a network of diverse life forms on the planet.

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International Day of UN Peacekeepers

Be peaceful, the scriptures have been advising mankind from ancient times. The feeling of peace and harmony towards each other not only brings people closer but would give an opportunity of being there in happiness and sorrow. Over the period, countries across the world, pursued diversified paths to achieve progress to bring prosperity. We stand today being silent spectators to very disturbing situations and differences, not learned to live within and accept diversity both in thought and action. To help countries torn by conflicts and to create the conditions for lasting peace, the peacekeeping force by the UN. This year’s theme “Women in Peacekeeping – A key to Peace” has been decided to celebrate the role of women in the forces. On this special day (May 29) let us all pay tribute to all the men and women who have served and continue to serve in UN peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication, and courage and to honour the memory of those who have lost.

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International Biodiversity Day

Variety and variability are inherent in life on Earth. Biodiversity is a measure of variation at the genetic, species and ecosystem across the globe. May 22 is celebrated as International Day for Biodiversity and has the aim of saving the lives of living organisms and biodiversity. Every year it is celebrated with a specific theme, and for the year 2020 it is “Our Solutions are in Nature”. The decade 2011–2020 has been designated as the UN Decade on Biodiversity. It is said that human beings are the most intelligent creature on this earth and possess the discerning power. Ironically the reason for earth’s biodiversity being in grave danger are the human beings.

If we must sustain the path of development, we must learn to live in harmony with nature.
If not, do we have the right to call ourselves the most intelligent creature on the earth?

The Clock is Ticking…

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The International Museum Day

Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion

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International Day of Families

Theme “Families in Development: Copenhagen & Beijing + 25”

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National Technology Day: Empowering Society by Harnessing the Technology

National Technology Day is celebrated to commemorate the quest for scientific inquiry, technological creativity and translating them into meeting the needs of the society. The successful conduct of “Smiling Buddha” (May 1974), “Shakti” and making India part of the elite club of countries with nuclear capability in May 1998. The month May that year, has also seen the first indigenous two-seater aircraft Hansa-3, developed by the NAL (a CSIR lab) being flown in Bangalore and DRDO completing the final test-fire of the “Trishul” missile, leading to its induction into the services. The celebrations highlight the importance of science & technology in daily life and encourage the younger generation to consider pursuing science as a career option. At a time when the country is struggling to cope up with the corona, celebrations like these are reassuring to the people that we could do in the past and can and will do it now. Let us celebrate and look through the prism of these successes with hope to conquer the COVID pandemic.

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Super Flower Moon

Continuing with the fascination with the moon, this time it is about “Super Flower Moon”. This is one of the four Super Moons of the year 2020, and the last Supermoon of the year. It is called Super Flower Moon due to the flowers spring forth in abundance this month. These names of Full Moons were used by Algonquin tribes of Native Americans to estimate the seasons that we still follow today. Unfortunately, Moon lovers in India won’t be able to enjoy the spectacular view as it embraces the sky and reach full glory at 4.15 pm. The day coincides with Buddha Purnima and be inspired by the beauty of the moon and the teachings of “Buddha”.

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Gene Deitch: The Great Pollyanna

Gene Deitch, 8 August 1924-16 April 2020

A few days back many of us woke up to the news of the demise of legendary Gene Deitch, the creator of characters like “Tom & Jerry”. The one and only, Gene Deitch, Oscar-winning illustrator and animator who entertained the world with his illustrations and animation. Animated cartoons are an embodiment of a fantasy world which can be remembered repeatedly at any time and place. Having recently started “ToonLogs” to use the medium of cartoons and blogs for science communication, this “ToonLogs” is for paying tribute to Gene Deitch, one of the great communicators through the medium of cartoons.

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World Earth Day!

Environmental challenges of larger dimensions continue to haunt the wold. it is our inability to balance the requirement and renewable equilibrium limits of mother earth. The Intelligence of the humans is reflected in the ability to commission space odysseys, travel to far off planets. In the hurry to conquer things, moved away from keeping balance and equilibrium. Humanity found wanting in taking steps to protect mother earth. Can we hope that the world would learn to live within its limits? Let’s promote harmony with nature and the Earth.
Earth Day 2020 is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. Celebrations will include activities such as the Great Global Clean Up, Citizen Science, Advocacy, Education, and Art.

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Our heritage is our pride

In the journey of mankind, human beings always looked to progress and make this world a better place. It has been recognised that we should traverse back in time and recognise the extraordinary ability our ancestors possessed. World Heritage is mankind’s priceless possession and it becomes our responsibility to preserve these assets to the generations to come. This year the World Heritage Day is being celebrated as the one with ‘Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility’

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Super Pink Moon

When the world welcomed 2020, being very special if not for anything for its symmetry, it did not realize what is in store in the year ahead. At a time when all our thoughts are cluttered around the Corona virus, making us believe as if we are all going through a period where everything has stopped, It is an appropriate time to distract from this. Moon has always fascinated humankind, for mothers inspiring to sing a lullaby when feeding the child (recall the lullaby in Telugu “Chanda Mama Raave, Jabilli Raave, Kondekki Raave, Koti poolu theve…”), for the aspiring lover reminding the beauty of the sweetheart or for the sheer beauty of it. No matter how 2020 started, in the month of April this year, the moon is going to come closest to Earth. People are also calling it “Super Pink Moon”, but why? Is it going to change its colour to look pink? Let’s know.

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Pandemics like COVID-19 are great equalizers. it does not differentiate rich and poor, nor religion, colour and creed. Time to put our differences, prejudices, personal preferences behind and be together to fight: to save the humanity, reduce the pain and minimize the losses. Ultimately when we win our fight against this threatening virus, Does the world learn from this challenge and internalize and become a better place to live?

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