Surprise, surprise! We have none, but Narendra Modi offered one. This morning, he landed in Nimmoo in Ladakh to take stock of the situation. You can take stock of what is happening not just in Ladakh, but also London, by staying stationed in Delhi. But staying stationed in Delhi sends no message to your adversary across the border. Landing in Ladakh does. Speaking directly to the soldiers in Ladakh does some more. Echoing slogans of Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata Ki Jai does most of what remains to be done.
Speaking in Nimu. India is proud of the courage of our armed forces. https://t.co/juUjqkAp6v— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) July 3, 2020
Modi’s landing and speaking must have bumped up the morale of the men in uniform who are stationed at a height of over 3,000 metres above sea level, where oxygen is so thin you got to work for every breath you take.
In 1962, India fought a war at those heights and no one wants an encore of that year this year. The war that year was forced upon India by China. India was barely 15 then. We mean India is an old civilisation, but was struggling to find its feet after the British left, after plundering the country for over 200 years. So, when the 1962 war came, India lacked the resources to fight. The government under former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru requested people to donate – warm clothes, money and gold. Estimates suggest over US $220 million were collected in cash for the Defence of India Fund.
It is difficult to say how much gold was contributed, but much of that gold was not used. Wondering what happened to it? It still lies in the vaults of the Reserve Bank of India.
The gold may have been forgotten but China’s treachery hasn’t been. To be honest, China has never allowed us to forget. It keeps doing something or the other at the border for us to remember that China is not to be trusted. Not just India, but the world realises the risk of keeping borders with China open. Where Xi Jinping can’t send his men to occupy territories, he can send viruses. Most recent viruses have been traced back to China, including H1N1 and this coronavirus.
US President Donald Trump has been attacking China pointedly for the outbreak in China’s Wuhan wet market turning into a pandemic. Only, he called the pandemic a plague. It could have been metaphorical, you know. “Plague from China, that is what it is, should have never happened but they did allow it to happen. We had just signed a brand new trade deal and the ink wasn't even dry when it came over,” Trump said.
Now, plague is a disease spread by rats. Covid-19 is one spread by bats, probably using an intermediary like pangolin. But plague is also any disease that spreads rapidly and kills a lot of people. Major population declines have happened after some of the world’s worst plague outbreaks. Plague, therefore, is our Word Of The Day.
Plague traces its origin to Latin ‘plaga’ meaning stroke or wound. It probably comes from Greek (Doric dialect) ‘plaga’, meaning strike. According to Oxford dictionary, plague is a disease spread by rats that causes a high temperature, swellings on the body and usually death. At least 7,50,00,000 are estimated to have died due to the Black Plague that peaked in Europe in 1346-53. Oxford also defines plague as any disease that spreads rapidly. At least 1,10,00,000 people in the world have so far been tested positive for Covid-19. Close to 5,24,406 have died.
Amid the rising numbers, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in a letter has set an ambitious launch date of August 15 for the public use of the Coronavirus vaccine, Covaxin. Now, no official statement has been made regarding the vaccine. News reports say the letter was only meant for internal communication. So do not set your hopes too high. The higher the high, the sharper (and more painful) the fall.
Forget the highs and lows, let us first talk about the demise of choreographer Saroj Khan. We told you a few days ago why Saroj Khan born as Nirmala Nagpal converted to Islam. If you missed that story, you can catch up with it here.
She died today morning, after remaining in hospital for about two weeks. Khan suffered a cardiac arrest at about 1.52 am Friday. By 7 am, her family laid her to rest at a cemetery in Mumbai's Malad. Khan was 71 and had a career spanning about four decades. During those four decades, she choreographed about 2,000 songs. But towards the fag end of her career, Khan began to run out of work. It’s then that another Khan reached out to her. That Khan is Salman Khan. Saroj told reporters that Salman called her to his home and promised to offer her work. She was sure that Salman would remain a man of his words. But many years ago, Salman’s words had hurt Saroj.
It so happened that during the shooting of Andaz Apna Apna (1994), when Saroj was choreographing the song ‘Ye Raat Aur Ye Doori’, Salman was miffed that Saroj was giving better steps to the third Khan in this story - Aamir. Salman broached his concern with Saroj who told him that she was only doing what the director wanted her to do, which meant giving steps that would suit the characters of the movie.
Salman didn’t buy the argument. A miffed Salman reportedly told Saroj that once he becomes a star, he wouldn’t work with her. When he indeed became one and Saroj ran out of work, Salman stepped in to help. Today, she is no more. The best way to keep going on in life is to let bygones be bygones. We have no evidence to prove how this is the best way, so you will have to figure that out on your own.
Now, while Saroj Khan died today, yesterday in Myanmar 162 people died while mining for jade. In 2015, 113 people had died in a similar incident. Yesterday’s incident happened after a pile of mine waste collapsed into a lake. This waste triggered a wave of mud and water which buried hundreds of workers – all caught on camera.
A landslide at a jade mine in northern Myanmar killed at least 113 people, after a pile of mine waste collapsed into a lake, triggering a wave of mud and water that buried scores of workers. Read more https://t.co/SSP9L9XUTO pic.twitter.com/XcW2Dzwjy4— Reuters India (@ReutersIndia) July 2, 2020
The accident has left hundreds of families in pain, but do you know that the discovery of jade in Myanmar - then Burma - also happened by accident? The fact that fine-quality green jade existed in Burma wasn’t known till the 13th century. This was when a Yunnanese trader was passing by an area in Northern Burma. Yunnan, by the way, is in southwestern China. The trader realised the weight on his mule wasn’t balanced, so he picked up a piece of stone to balance the load. He realised later what he had chanced upon and then another party went in search of more jade. They came back empty-handed because they couldn’t find the exact spot.
Explorers much later could reach the jade mines. Today, unfortunately rescue efforts are on to reach all the bodies.
That's all for today. See you Monday.