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Kamod’s Nameplate Girls

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The door to Sarpanch Sudarshan Kumar’s home in Kamod village

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Rio and Dangal have energised and mobilised Meri Beti Meri Pehchan, a campaign for gender equality in the badlands of Haryana

By Karan Kaushik

It’s a hazy and cold afternoon in Kamod, a village in the Charkhi Dadri district of Haryana, about 90 km from the national capital. A tractor offers me a lift to the sarpanch’s house from the spot on the highway where I have been dropped by a state bus.

Buffalos seem to be in a lazy mood as they relish their freshly cut fodder. A snake-charmer and his pets are entertaining the village folk. Kids clap and smartly click pictures of the show on their mobiles. While tradition still rules, this tiny village is determined to usher in a significant social change—that of equal respect, freedom and opportunity for girls and boys, men and women.

And for this, they have taken the important first step—nameplates on the houses here will sport the name of the eldest daughter, followed by those of his mother and father, under the Meri Beti Meri Pehchan campaign, which owes much of its momentum to the Aamir Khan starrer wrestling biopic—Dangal.

Now, Haryana has always had this image of a state unfair, even misogynistic, towards its women. Having one of the worst sex ratios, it has been witness to rapes, honour killings, cultural oppression of women, and more. But social change has been taking place, incrementally as well as radically, quite inexorably, with the rise of the Phogat sisters, Rohtak sisters and the Selfie with Your Daughter campaign, and now this, and Kamod is an apt example.

Shruti Kumar, daughter of Sudarshan

Shruti Kumar, daughter of Sudarshan

Meet nine-year-old Shruti Kumar, who studies in Third C. The little lady is excited to have ‘occupied’ the nameplate of her house. But it is the excitement of a child. Her father Sudarshan Kumar, the village sarpanch, however, shares with us the rationale of the move. He also lets us know how the campaign will pan out.

The gram panchayat has started with houses belonging to 20 anganwadi workers first and plans to expand it to include 500 anganwadi workers’ homes.

“Our village has taken this initiative because we saw that in the Rio Olympics, it was our women who saved the day,” says Kumar. “In our own village a few days ago, a girl named Preeti won a prize for making a documentary about legal literacy on female foeticides. Our daughters have also won first position in sports at state level,” he recounted, adding, significantly, “We, too, here recognise that women are not far behind than men in any field.”

It was Aamir Khan’s blockbuster Dangal that inspired many in the village though Kumar adds that the campaign had been planned before the film’s release. Says he: “The movie made us think, if we can use our daughters to do all the daily chores, why can’t we give them a chance to prove themselves in other fields?”

“Since the Sarpanch has initiated this campaign, everyone is excited and motivated,” says Jagdish Chahar, a village landlord.

Rajwani, Poonam and Sujata pose for a photograph

Rajwani, Poonam and Sujata pose for a photograph

Rajwanti Devi, who is in her late 50s, is one of the anganwadi workers whose home sports her granddaughter’s name on the door and who has played an active role in the campaign. “We want to set an example for other villages,” says she. She, too, admits, that the “story of the Balali sisters” inspired her and her daughter-in-law Poonam Devi, Sujata’s proud mother.

Cinema is a powerful catalyst for social change and Kamod’s story proves it. Having an impressive child sex ratio (0-6 years) of 1,300 girls against 1,000 boys (When the panchayat was formed, members had decided they will honor those homes where a girl was born during Independence Day and Republic Day, says Kumar), Kamod village has around 450 houses and a population of 2,100. It is 15km from Balali village, where wrestler sisters Geeta and Babita live with their father Mahavir Singh Phogat.

The man who started it all, Mahavir Phogat of Balali village

The man who started it all, Mahavir Phogat of Balali village

Mahavir Phogat told India Legal: “This is a great initiative. It will set a good example for the rest of the villages so that they can give their daughters the real honour that they deserve. Through this initiative, girls will claim their identity. When such initiatives are started, it also gives the girls a chance to remain in news and be treated equally also by the media.” In chaste Haryanvi, the proud father added: “Dekho bhai nameplate pe naam aaega to charche to honge hi. Isse badi kya baat ho sakti hai bacchio ke liye? (When their names will appear on the nameplates, it will definitely bring much-needed attention to the girls, and what could be better?)”

Manju Rani travels daily to the city to attend her BA first year classes. All she wants is employment and autonomy before she gets married, she says. Then there is Vandana, an eighth grader, who wants to be a doctor because she likes studying. The teen feels that Dangal is a “wonderful film which left a mark” on her mind.

The village struggles with its own share of problems.  Lack of an internet connection, no hospital and no playground (eventhough the panchayat has purchased sports gear for youngsters) are some of them.

Sarpanch Kumar and his team are working on these. As of now, they are getting a new sewerage system laid. A playground is next on their agenda.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

India News

Instagram could soon charge for blue verification mark, check deets here

Reports said reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi discovered a code that revealed that Instagram and Facebook are working on a paid verification feature.

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Instagram

After Twitter, Instagram can soon charge for its blue verification badge that allows stars and public figures to get their accounts recognised by their followers.

Reports said reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi discovered a code that revealed that Instagram and Facebook are working on a paid verification feature.

The code reads, IG_NME_PAID_BLUE_BADGE_IDV and FB_NME_PAID_BLUE_BADGE_IDV. It is speculated that it stands for identity verification. However, nothing as such has been confirmed by the Meta platforms.

Have a look at the tweet by Alessandro Paluzzi:

In November 2022, Twitter started to roll out its Blue service which included verification tags in India. This service is expensive in India as compared to the US and cost Rs 719 per month.

Elon Musk owned Twitter and also launched a modified version of its verification system that includes gold checkmarks for businesses and grey labels for official accounts.

Reports said the new system aims to correct problems that occurred during the initial rollout of the verified program on the platform that allowed anyone to purchase a blue tick mark for $8 a month.

Last year, Twitter also laid off more than 200 of its employees in India as part of mass layoffs across the globe directed by Elon Musk.

The micro-blogging platform also has ruled to get the blue tick. The user applying for one should have an active Twitter account and needs to be older than 90 days. The user also needs to verify their phone numbers. Further, Twitter will also check if your account has ever engaged in misleading or deceptive manipulation and spam.

The new terms and conditions also warn users to take away their blue ticks if they fail to follow the rules. Also, if the user changes its display name or username, the blue tick will be removed. These rules have been implemented to reduce confusion and promote integrity on the platform.

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India News

IndiGo flies Patna-bound passenger to Udaipur, DGCA orders probe

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In yet another blooper by an airline operator, budget airliner IndiGo reportedly flew a passenger bound for Bihar’s Patna to around 1,400 kilometers from his intended destination- Udaipur in Rajasthan.

According to reports, the passenger was supposed to board an IndiGo flight to Patna, instead he boarded another flight of the same airline bound for Rajasthan’s Udaipur. The incident came to light on January 30 and the passenger was sent to his original destination the next day.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered a probe into the incident. In a statement, the regulatory body said that the passenger, Afsar Hussain, had booked a ticket to Patna for Indigo flight 6E-214 and reached Delhi airport on January 30 to board the scheduled flight. But he mistakenly boarded Udaipur-bound flight 6E-319 of Indigo.

The passenger only realised the mistake after landing at Udaipur Airport and informed the airport officials who then alerted IndiGo about the incident.

The passenger was then flown back to Delhi by IndiGo on the same day and then to Patna on January 31.

A DGCA official said that the airline has been asked to submit a report explaining why the boarding pass of the passenger was not scanned thoroughly and how he boarded the wrong flight when as per the rule boarding passes are checked at two points before the boarding.

The official added that appropriate action will be taken against the airline.

IndiGo in a statement on Friday acknowledged the incident and issued an official apology to the aggrieved passenger, adding that the airline is engaged with the authorities on this matter

This is the second such incident reported in an Indigo flight in the last 20 days. On January 13, a passenger who had the airline’s ticket and boarding pass for an Indore-bound flight boarded a wrong flight and was taken to Nagpur airport.

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India News

Rajasthan: NEET aspirant dies after accidentally falling from 6th floor balcony in Kota, video captured on CCTV | Watch

It was reported that 22-year-old along with his friends had been playing mobile games together while they were spending time together on the balcony.

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A harrowing story has come to light from Rajasthan’s Kota where a student accidentally fell from the balcony while wearing his slippers. The student was accompanied by his friends and was sitting on the balcony.

The student has been identified as Ishanshu Bhattacharya who hailed from West Bengal’s Dhupguri region.

It was reported that the unfortunate accident unfolded late at night around 11:15 when the 4 students were getting up and retiring to their rooms. However, when the three friends got up and started to return to their rooms, things took an awry turn after that.

In the video, the 20-year-old student can be seen fetching his slippers in order to make way to his room, however, while fetching his slippers, Ishanshu slipped and fell out of the fully fenced window of the residency hotel.

The video also shows his friend realising what just happened and then rushing to see what happened, however, by that time it was too late for anything to be done as his friends can be seen in a state of panic and fear.

It was reported that the friends had been playing mobile games together while they were spending time together on the balcony.

Watch video here:

Police’s statement

The DSP, while talking about the incident, told the media that as soon as every student in the building learnt about the accident. Everyone rushed to the spot and called the hospital to take the boy to hospital.

Ishanshu was reportedly rushed to a private hospital in Talwandi, however, the doctors pronounced the 20-year-old dead upon his arrival. The police also told the media that they have informed the family about the unfortunate news and will send the body for post mortem after the family arrives.

Another incident

Another incident came to light recently from Kota where a student hung himself to death after being in a bad mental health state. The 22-year-old NEET aspirant had come to Kota to study at the coaching institute. The police found a 4-page long letter at his residence where the man’s body was recovered.

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