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Indian Muslim artisan fights virus slowdown with Hindu idols

first_imgThe Hindu festival traditionally ends with devotees leading massive processions to the Arabian Sea to immerse elaborately decorated figurines of the much-loved elephant god into the water.But this year’s celebrations are expected to be muted, with authorities in the virus-plagued city urging people to mark the 10-day festival at home in a bid to ensure social distancing.”As our pottery sales dwindled, I decided to make Ganesha statues… as a means of survival and also to promote environmentally friendly [alternatives],” 40-year-old Galwani told AFP.Activists have long criticized the practice of immersing the idols in the sea, arguing it contributes to water pollution, and Galwani agrees.  Topics : Since the coronavirus pandemic clobbered his pottery business, one Muslim artisan from India’s largest slum has turned to a Hindu god to revive his fortunes by making environmentally friendly Ganesha idols for an upcoming festival.Potter Yusuf Zakaria Galwani works with his two brothers in the Mumbai shanty town of Dharavi to create 13-inch-tall statues out of terracotta clay, counting on the god — who is revered as the remover of obstacles — to give his business a much-needed boost ahead of the celebrations.Ganesh Chaturthi — which kicks off on Saturday — is embraced with gusto in India’s financial hub.center_img “Every year, we see huge Ganesha statues made from plaster of Paris washing up on the shores after the immersion. This affects our local environment and marine life as well,” he said.His clay creations are designed to disintegrate quickly and turn into soil. They also contain a seed inside which can germinate if watered like a plant.Sold for 1,500 rupees ($20) each, Galwani has received orders for 800 statues so far and hopes to see his neighborhood bounce back economically after tackling the virus.Made famous by the 2008 Oscar-winner “Slumdog Millionaire”, Dharavi was thrown back into the spotlight in April over fears that the lack of social distancing or sanitation in its densely packed streets would make it an easy target for the virus.But a sharp focus on testing accompanied by tough quarantine and lockdown measures have seen infections plunge across the slum. “Previously I lost business as customers were wary of stepping into the slums,” Galwani said. “Now, things have changed and they’re willing to even come and pick up their own orders.” A third-generation potter, he said he saw no conflict in practicing his faith while catering to the needs of Hindu worshippers. “What’s the big deal if I am a Muslim making statues of Hindu deities like Ganesha? India is a secular democracy and we have grown up with many cultures living together,” Galwani added. Although officials have not issued an outright ban on sea immersions this year, they have imposed restrictions on local celebrations. Devotees are barred from making public offerings to the deity and organizers have been ordered to sanitize any outdoor marquees several times a day. India has registered over 2.6 million infections — the third-highest in the world — with western Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, responsible for a fifth of coronavirus cases nationwide. Pandemic deaths across the country passed 50,000 on Monday.last_img read more

Provost creates task force to reconsider campus symbols

first_imgMany students and organizations have called on the University to change the name of Von KleinSmid Center — a building named after USC’s fifth president, Rufus B. Von KleinSmid, an active member of the eugenics movement who advocated for forced sterilization practices. “Last spring, USG passed a resolution about changing the name of [Von KleinSmid Center] and in conjunction with that over the summer, myself and Emmett wrote a resolution that the GSG executive board put out about … the history of racism on campus,” said Quinn Anex-Ries, GSG’s director of diversity and equity advocacy. “[We] both worked together to result in the creation of the University Task Force.” “This has been part of a national movement … for a number of institutions like ourselves, including Michigan, Yale, Princeton, Harvard and Stanford,” Carry told the Daily Trojan. “They have done exactly what we are getting ready to do … through whatever [ways] it came to their attention … so University’s had to create a process to interrogate this.” Provost Michael Quick announced the creation of a Task Force on University Nomenclature Monday. The group will be responsible for defining a set of principles and processes for faculty, staff and students to submit concerns regarding campus building names, symbols and monuments, according to a memo sent to the USC community. Though the official Task Force was announced Monday, the Undergraduate and Graduate student governments previously passed resolutions in requesting the administration to acknowledge USC’s troubled history and to facilitate open discussions to reexamine building names. Ebadi said she hopes the task force will also shed light on historical injustice at the University. “Tough conversations must be had on the impact of the various monuments and symbols that we administer across campus, but the work cannot stop at mere conversations,” Ebadi wrote in an email to the Daily Trojan. “A mission statement praising equity and diversity ultimately loses its value if an administration cannot effectively implement action to change its own harmful practices.” Shaghayegh Ebadi, co-chief diversity director of USG, said the task force is a necessary step toward increasing support for marginalized communities on campus. Carry said the decision to create the task force comes on the heels of a national movement across many American universities to rethink the names of campus landmarks that may threaten certain populations. While the task force does not deal with a particular building or name, its members will help develop a way for the USC community to voice their concerns regarding campus nomenclature. The Task Force comprises nine architecture, design, public policy, philosophy, history and law professors, as well as three undergraduate and two graduate students. center_img “Let me emphasize, this task force will not end in a result,” Carry said. “There will not be any specific name changes as a result of this task force, but what will be crystal clear is a step by step sequence of how members in our community … can submit a request for that level of interrogation.” “The principles should be broad enough to be applied to a variety of circumstances rather than tailored to a particular issue or controversy, and the Task Force should not deal with any particular issue or controversy,” Quick wrote. “The Task Force should weigh all relevant considerations and develop criteria for making such decisions.” Carry said the task force is meant to outline the sequence of steps students, faculty and staff can take to help the University address change. “As we grow as a university community and as we grow as a nation, we are having important conversations about the names of certain buildings, monuments and symbols,” Quick wrote. “Many of these from our past may evoke views and practices that we no longer support and may cause pain for members of our community.” Anex-Ries said he is pleased with the diversity of voices represented on the task force. “This task force must embody a progressive mission to shed light on USC’s … cultural hegemony that continue to harm our marginalized student communities,” Ebadi wrote. “New naming policies must be developed to address these inequities alongside formative solutions and help guide the University into an age of true commitment to diversity and inclusion.” Paula Cannon, a professor of molecular microbiology and former president of the Academic Senate and Ainsley Carry, vice president of Student Affairs, will lead the task force. “The University itself needs a systemized way of changing things,” Anex-Ries said. “More specifically, [the Task Force] allows for us to create the framework to have more complex conversations across the University about why it is even important to consider why something is named.” “I definitely think [the task force] is a group that will definitely have very spirited debate,” Anex-Ries said. “Of course, I would always love to see more students on the task force, but for USC and for previous instances, I actually am impressed with the breadth of people they have been able to put on the task force.” last_img read more

Milan court suspends Mediapro Serie A TV tender

first_img“The announcement of Mediapro being assigned Serie A’s television rights raises so many doubts that it’s necessary to verify its legality before any significant offers can be presented,” Sky Italia said in the statement.In February Mediapro outbid Sky for domestic television rights to Serie A, agreeing to pay 1.05 billion euros ($1.3 billion) a year for the period 2018 to 2021, but Sky argued that the Spanish company was not in a legal position to make an offer.The suspension means a further extension of the deadline for the assignment of offers from broadcasters interested in buying Serie A rights beyond the original limit of April 21.“Sky has invested in Italian football for a number of years, reaching millions of homes, families and enthusiasts, and given great satisfaction to all its subscribers and the clubs within a competitive system, while respecting Italian rules and laws,” the statement continued.“Because of our desire to keep contributing to the growth of Italian football … while respecting the values ​​of a free market and all laws, Sky has turned to the courts which, after immediately suspending Mediapro’s tender, will give its verdict on May 4.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Action from Sunday’s Rome derby in Serie A between Roma and Lazio © AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTEMILAN, Italy, Apr 16 – A Milan court on Monday suspended Spanish group Mediapro’s tender for television rights for Italy’s Serie A matches for the next four years until May 4.Sky Italia said in a statement it had requested that the court verify whether Mediapro’s tender respected Italian laws.last_img read more