Reports : Ustaad Lightens the Tradition
The inaugural ceremony of the 20th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) was really unique and hearty, thanks to Tabla Maestro Ustaad Zakir Hussain. Ustad went down on his knees to light the lamp; he offered pranams to the lamp sitting on his knees. He expressed his commitment to the country’s rich cultural values in the presence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, other ministers of Kerala and MP Shashi Tharoor. Not only that, during his speech, he offered pranams to Goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati, Goddess of all arts. He added, Shiva Tandava was meant to destroy the asuras.
Maestro’s gesture, despite being a practising Muslim, assumes enormous significance in Kerala. Because, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), a major partner of the Congress-led ruling UDF, has instructed its leaders, workers and ministers not to light the lamp as it is against the Islamic faith. The IUML ministers PK Kunhalikutty and PK Abdu Rabb have embarrassed the dignitaries on and off the dais on several occasions by refusing to light the lamp. Once, Music Maestro KJ Yesudas even went to the extent of talking on top of his voice, on the dais itself, against Kunjalikkutti’s blatant refusal to light the lamp.
Ustad Zakir Hussain stands head and shoulders above most of the celebrities we do have in our country. He takes a transparent stand on the culture and tradition of the country. If our so-called celebrities learn from the life of Shehnai Maestro Bismillah Khan, Music Maestro Yesudas and Tabla Maestro Zakir Hussain! —T Satisan, Kerala
In his ‘Mann Ki Baat’, PM Shri Narendra Modi praised Jamunamani Singh, a tribal woman of Odisha, for her extraordinary efforts in combating malaria.
Not many knew where Tenda is, let alone Jamunamani Singh, wife of a daily wager. Not before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ was aired. The monthly radio programme of the Prime Minister not only put the non-descript Balasore village on national headlines but also made this 28 years old woman the face of thousands of ASHA ‘karmis’ who work tirelessly to change the health profile of remote villages of Bharat.
Jamuna learnt about the PM’s speech while she was working on her paddy field in the remote village as media people rushed to search her out. Immediately after congratulation call came from Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan. “Unthinkable has happened to me” that’s what her reaction was. “We have a network of ASHA workers in our country. Neither I nor you would have heard or talked about ASHA workers. We conferred Padma Bhusan on Bill and Melinda Gates last year for their contribution to social work through their foundation. The duo heaps praise on ASHA Karmis for their hard work and dedication. One such ASHA worker serves in a small village of Odisha’s malaria-infested region. Jamunamani Singh has resolved not to allow a single malaria related death in the village. I honour all Asha workers through Jamunamani,” said the Prime Minister.
Jamuna has been fighting against malaria and water-borne diseases like diarrhoea through spreading awareness for the last five years in the villages of Tenda and Sialghati, her native village in Nilagiri block of Balsore district. Jamuna, a Class-IX dropout, took the training as an ASHA worker in 2010. And she has not stopped on tracks ever since. “Earlier, people here did not believe that those were symptoms of diseases. They considered it ill effects of bad spirit and preferred to visit sorcerers. I interacted with them and made them understand” she said.
With her effort and hard work she has made her tribal dominated villages free of any malaria death. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan who felicitated her in Bhubaneswar described her as Brand Ambassador of Health Services in inaccessible areas of the country.
—Samanwaya Nanda, Odisha