“The Leaders Need To Come Together”: African Nationals Speak Out

Sa’ad Ahmed Shaikh

Attacks earlier this year (2017), on African nationals in Greater Noida, has again raised the issue of the unwarranted racism on foreigners in India. In March 2017, African nationals were targeted when a 19 year old student, Manish Khari, reportedly died of a drug overdose. From beating African students mercilessly with steel chairs in shopping mallsto dragging a Kenyan woman out of a cab and assaulting her; the attacks have re-ignited the bitter animosity harboured by misguided Indians towards those with a darker skin tone than their own. Some’n Unique Magazine spoke to African nationals living in India.

Endurance Amarawa, a victim of the mob attack recuperating in a hospital. || Image courtesy: Narendra Kaushik, Firstpost.com, April 2017, Web.

Their replies echoed the message of love and peace for all. This is what Jorge, an Arts student from Mozambique, had to say:

“It is shameful and sad when instead of unifying ourselves, we are discriminating against each other. Racial discrimination destroys nations, families, culture and basically the identity of one country. I cannot feel indifferent towards this situation; there is no superior race than another, we all share the same environment and the colour of our skin should not engender struggles. . . Let’s stand together against racism, let’s stop destroying nations.”

Indian policemen and onlookers surround African nationals in a shopping mall in Greater Noida, India. || Image courtesy: AFP, scmp.com, Web, April 2017.

Another African student requesting anonymity for security purposes implored that the leaders of the African nations and India address this issue as a priority. She says:

“The attack in Noida is just absolutely terrifying and sad because it’s not the first attack in India against Africans. This is my third year in India and over the years I’ve seen many such assaults. . . I think this needs to go out there to the leaders, our diplomats, all those repre-sentatives in Delhi; those representing the unions and the relationship between India and Africa, they need to stand together with the leaders from India to spread the message that truly there is beauty in diversity. . .I just want to say that the leaders need to come together and inform and educate everyone because that’s an essential need of the hour. Because awareness is better than silence.

2016, African students holding a protest against the racial assault on a Tanzanian woman. || Image courtesy: AP, livemint.com, Web, April 2017.

Edgar, a Zimbabwean student, adds, “I haven’t been attacked physically but I have been on the receiving end of insults and derogatory terms whilst in and around the city. My message to the Indians who engage in such acts of violence is that; do to others as you would want them to do unto you. We live in a global village and such mindless actions should be avoided because it will only reflect a biased outlook of the psyche of the Indian people.”

One thing is clear. This irrational fear and hatred needs to stop now. This can only be achieved by properly educating the masses and with the help of Indian leaders addressing the matter on a national level. Some Unique Magazine, LLC stands in solidarity with all those suffering from racial abuse around the world. Peace and understanding is the way forward.

Foreign students protest in Jalandhar
Students in Jalandhar, India, holding a peaceful protest against the recent racial attacks. || Image Courtesy: PTI, Web, April 2017, indianexpress.com



Power of Meditation

Sourav “Teddy” Biswas

“Effects of meditation on human brain”. Sources: <https://blog.bufferapp.com&gt;. Dated: 21 Aug 2013

Meditation is the simple practice of mind control which has enormous benefits to us. Over the years, various studies have shown, and scientists have proven that meditation does actually stimulates our brain. Meditation dates back to the Prehistoric Era, approximately, 1500 BCE in Hindu tradition. The technique of meditation includes a person focusing on one specific thing; it could be breathing, a sensation in our body, or an object. The point of this type of meditation is to focus strongly on one point and continually bring our attention back to that focal point when it wanders away.

Changes In The Brain:

Using modern techniques such as MRI scans, allows scientists to visually witness and inspect the changes that take place during and after meditation. The most significant difference is that our brain stops processing information as it normally would. The beta waves, which indicates how much our brain processes information, reduces considerably during meditation. This becomes evident even after a 20 minute meditation session.

Increased Focus & Reduced Anxiety:

Because meditation is a practice in focusing our attention and being aware of when it drifts, this actually improves our focus when we’re not meditating, as well. It’s a lasting effect that comes from regular bouts of meditation.

“A Buddhist Monk meditating”. Sources:  < https://en.wikipedia.org> Dated: 01 Jan 2009Reduced Anxiety:

There is a part in our brain known as the “Me Center,” technically, the Medial Prefontal Cortex The “Me Center” processes information related to fear and body sensation. The neural pathway is pretty strong here. When we meditate, we weaken this neural connection. This means we don’t react abruptly to strong sensations. So when we experience scary or upsetting sensation, we can rationalize them more easily.

Better Memory:

One of the things meditation has been linked to is improving rapid memory reminiscence. Catherine Kerr, a researcher at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging and the Osher Research Center, found that people who practiced mindful meditation were able to adjust the brain wave that screens out distractions and increase their productivity more quickly that those that did not meditate.

More Gray Matter & Heightened Creativity:

Meditation has been linked to larger amounts of Gray Matter in the hippocampal and frontal areas of the brain. More gray matter means more positive emotions, long lasting emotional stability and increased focusing power during our day-to-day work.

“Brain sync illustration”. Sources: <http://www.social-consciousness.com/&gt; Dated: 09 Oct 2011Heightened Creativity:

Researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands studied both, Focused-Attention and Open-Monitoring mediation to discover the possibility of a heightened sense of creativity after meditation. They found that people who practiced Focused-Attention meditation did not show any obvious signs of improvement in the creativity task following their meditation. For those who did Open-Monitoring meditation, however, they performed better displayed significantly more creativity in completing their assigned tasks. Thus meditation can lead us to a much better lifestyle. With all the benefits combined, no doubt meditation can enhance efficiency of a human to a whole new level.



Father’s Day Across The World!

Sa’ad Ahmed Shaikh

Father’s Day has been around since the Middle Ages, when it was celebrated on St. Joseph’s Day (March 19th) in Catholic Europe. Over the years, many countries have adopted this tradition. Most countries like those in Europe and America celebrate it on the third Sunday of June, while a few like Spain, Portugal, and Latin American countries continue to celebrate it on March 19th. Let’s have a look at the varying traditions spread across the world concerning this significant occasion.

A special Father’s Day outing in Germany, the males dragging along the hand-driven carts filled with alcoholic beverages and traditional food. || Photo by Frank May(dpa), Web, 29 June 2017, source: dw.com

Father’s Day (Vatertag) in Germany is celebrated in a distinct manner, quite different from the rest of the world. It is observed on Ascension Day (the Thursday 40 days after Easter); it’s a federal holiday. It is also referred to as, Men’s Day or Gentlemen’s Day(Männertag and Herrentag). The traditional approach involves a male group embarking on a hiking tour, manually dragging one or more small wagons(Bollerwagen). The wagons are filled with alcoholic beverages and other traditional food. The opportunity is often used by men to get drunk.

Hugh Jackman, Australian actor, took to the social media to wish his father on Father’s Day. || source: Instagram

Father’s Day in Australia is celebrated on the first Sunday of September. The reason behind the September placement pertains to the retail and marketing sector. April to June is stacked with a number of holidays, as is December and January. Owing to this ‘holiday fatigue’, September proves to be the most convenient option and it also coincides with the beginning of Spring. The coming of Spring also seems to decide the various gifts related to the season, like camping, fishing, and sports equipment. Families come together for a meal and a day out to show their appreciation for fathers.

Children show their drawings for Father’s Day. || Web, 29 June 2017, absolutechinatours.com

In China, Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June, like most countries. However, it is not widely observed among the Chinese, though some expatriates may celebrate it. Before the People’s Republic, during the reign of the Republic of China(1912-1949), Father’s Day was observed on August 8th. Eight (8) in the regional language is ba(八); thus, August being the 8th month, the date would be spoken as ba ba, which colloquially sounds similar to the regional term for father(ba-ba, 爸爸). It is still recognised on this date in areas under the control of the Republic of China, such as Taiwan.

Old advertisement for Flaminaire lighters. || Web, 29 June 2017, source: hprints.com

France has an amusing history with its modern-day commemoration of Father’s Day. In 1946, a gas-lighter company, Flaminaire, was founded in Brittany by Marcel Quercia. Owing to the low sales, Quercia began advertising its lighters under the banner of Father’s Day in 1949 on the third Sunday of June, just like the American celebration. The slogans for the campaign read…

Nos papas nous l’ont dit, pour la fête des pères, ils désirent tous un Flaminaire‘(Our fathers told us, for father’s day, they all want is a Flaminaire).

It gained traction and in three years Father’s Day was officially decreed into existence on the same date. Families gather together for the whole day to acknowledge the importance of the father-figure in the family. It is usually a quiet event.

People gather in large numbers to perform traditional rites for Gokarna Aunsi. || Web, 29 June 2017, source: welcomenepal.com

Father’s Day tradition in Nepal has a religious significance in its majority population of Hindus. It is celebrated according to the lunar calendar and thus usually falls in late August or early September. The occasion is known as Gokarna Aunsi, where gokarna and aunsi literally mean ‘cow-eared’ and ‘no moon night’ in Nepali. Hindus worship the cow-eared incarnations of Lord Shiv,  and pay respects to their fathers. It is also called Buwaako mukh herne din which means ‘day for looking at father’s face’; this is because of the tradition where sons touch their father’s feet with their forehead before in his eyes, while daughters simply touch their father’s hand before doing the same. Fathers are also presented with gifts by their children. Many go to the famous Shiv Temple near Kathmandu where they bathe and perform rites on the day following the new moon. People whose fathers have passed away, too, visit to carry out Yearly Death Rituals.

nepal 2
A son makes Pinda, a traditional Nepali dish, on the occasion of Father’s Day. || Web, 29 June 2017, source: wikipedia.org


Ratchadamnoen Road decorated in honour of Father’s Day, celebrated on the king’s birthday. || Web, 29 June 2017, source: bangkokhasyou.com

Thailand’s Father’s Day is honoured on the birthday of the king, the last event being held on December 5th, the birthday of the late king, Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). Though not widely practiced today, tradition had the people presenting fathers with the Canna Flower, which is considered to be a masculine flower. The whole country is decorated lavishly and the skies are brought alive with extravagant fireworks; it is a National holiday, unlike most other countries of the world. As the late king’s birthday fell on a Monday; people wore yellow as it was the colour of that particular weekday. The late king used to give his trademark birthday speeches addressing his subjects. People gather at main avenues in their respective areas to pay respects to the king.

The royal family of Thailand, addressing the nation. || Web, 29 June 2017, source: learnthaiwithmod.com

It is now well-established that Father’s Day all over the world, though differing in some key concepts, is a significant occasion: it celebrates the same core value of honouring the father-figures that play a pivotal role in any institution.