Fish Prasadam: Miracle or myth?

Image: spokesman.com
Image: spokesman.com

Hyderabad: In a world where science and technology is paving way for advancement in the field of medicine, there still lies a plethora of ‘believers,’ who undoubtedly depend upon ancient techniques for treating incurable diseases like Asthma and Cancer.

Since 1998, an ancient practice takes place in different parts of Andhra Pradesh called the Fish Prasadam. The ancient remedy is said to be passed on to the Bathini Brothers, a Brahmin family that administers the proceedings where a little over 100,000 people gather to get treated for Asthma by the ‘miracle cure’ for free.

Fish Prasadam being given to a lady in Hyderabad, June 2013
Fish Prasadam being given to a lady in Hyderabad, June 2013

Bathini Mrugasira Fish or the Fish medicine is made into a small ball and packed inside the mouth of live murrel fish of nearly 6cm in size. The fish is then slipped into the mouth of the asthmatic patient by a technique initiated by the Bathini family.

“The fish is slippery, so there is no problem in swallowing it. The live fish moves, wagging it tail and fins, through the throat and negotiates the phlegm congestion, providing cure to asthma,” claimed Bathini Harinath Goud from the Bathini family.

Dr R.Vijay Kumar of Yashoda Hospital, Hyderabad said, “Psychologists and researchers have noticed a rise in the concept of the mass placebo effect. It parallels the very idea of a positive therapeutic effect claimed by a patient after receiving a placebo believed by him to be an active technique for treatment.”

Kumar also added that Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition for which several medicines are available. However, the latter can control and prevent attacks to a certain extent but can never cure the problem. “Doctors have never said asthma can be cured. That is why a lot of people opted for non-Allopathic treatments.”

Thousands had thronged to the fish prasadam mela at Exhibition Grounds in Hyderabad earlier in June this year. Asthma patients from across the country and abroad started queuing up for the tokens right from early hours where 23,000 murrel fingerlings were sold. The same medicine is treated to vegetarians but mixed in jaggery.

S G Koti, a driver with the road transport corporation hailing from Karnataka got 15 people including eight women battling asthma in the hope of getting a cure. “I took the prasadam for three years and I don’t need to depend on inhalers and medication anymore,” he said. Adding that before taking the fish prasadam, his monthly expenditure for the illness was around Rs 500 and but now he does not spend anything.

The medicine was declared harmless by the State Government after NGOs like Jana Vignana Vedika and Allopathic doctors protested against the distribution of the medicine couple years ago. “Treatments like ‘fish prasadam’ provide nothing but a placebo effect,” said Dr Sailaja of Apollo Hospital, New Delhi. He adds that the procedure could lead to diseases like hepatitis if hygiene is not considered by takers.

Bathini Fish Medicine is served and administered on a specific day called “Mrigishira Karthi”, which normally coincides with the arrival of monsoon rains, during the first or second week of June.

Bathini Harinath Goud throws light on the specifics of the traditional remedy, “The secret formula of this wonder cure was passed to Shiva Ram Goud who later passed it on to Shanker Goud. People from Middle East, UK and US also came this year. After taking the medicine the patient has to be under strict diet control for 45 days,” he said.

Pune mosques observe Ramadan, celebrate Iftar

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Pune: Nearly 200 people gathered at the historic Haji Mekkeshah Masjid at Deccan Gymkhana corner to break their fast right after sunset following the religious observances of Ramadan on Saturday.

Iftar is often celebrated by a community, with people gathering to break their fast together. Iftar is taken right after Maghrib time, which is around sunset.

The All-Pune Masjid Action Committee (APMAC) held the free Iftar party where Dalcha, Chola, mughlai paratha (stuffed with minced meat and spices), pitha, Halim, dates, samosas, Dal Puri (a type of lentil based savoury pastry) and  different types of fruits, such as watermelons and bananas, were served following the Iftar sirens and adhan.

“Through this month we give our humble prayers to Allah and observe this fast through the day with complete sincerity. To keep this fast and then break it following adhan, makes this religious experience all the more special for us as we all sit together and enjoy our meal. A sense of community and belonging is felt,” said Liyakat Khan, present during the Iftar party at Deccan corner.

Preparations for Iftar commenced hours before the Iftar sirens at Deccan. Roadside stalls were also set up where observers could buy their food of choice outside the mosque. “The fast can be broken by eating dates or drinking water, if the former is not available,” added Khan.

This year in Pune, Iftar is being celebrated with huge jolt and is being enjoyed tremendously through the city. It is the perfect time for succulent kebabs, sweet something’s and meaty treats for the fasting and the foodies.

Photo: Badri Chatterjee
People offer prayers at the Haji Mekkeshah Masjid in Pune. Photo: Badri Chatterjee

Shariff Caterers near Poona College is one of the many places serving delicious Chicken Kababs — shredded chicken with mayonnaise and bits of capsicum and grated carrots. The other specials here are the mutton chops and Kadi Gosht — a mutton strip hammered absolutely thin and fried in egg batter.

Other places to visit for Iftar delicacies are Imdadi at Baba Jaan chowk, Alifiya Caterers at Kausar Baugh, NIBM Rd, Kondhwa, New India at Ravivar Peth and Food Art Caterers at Salunke Road.

Iftar is being celebrated around the world; US President Barack Obama has praised Muslim-Americans for their contributions in helping build the country when he hosted an Iftar party at the White House. “Ramadan is a time of reflection, a chance to demonstrate ones devotion to God through prayer and through fasting, but it’s also a time for family and friends to come together,” said Obama addressing the gathering.

A special time in the Muslim calendar through the month as the ongoing festival continues. ‘Oh Allah! It is for thee that I observe fast and it is with Thine blessing that I break it,’ – prayer at the time of Iftar.

Canvas 4 fails to live up to its name

Micromax-Canvas-4

Rating – 3.5/5

Pune: As the newest smartphone, Micromax Canvas 4 A210 hit commercial markets across the country on July 8; the flagship product was estimated to set the market on fire. However, the response received since the launch seems to be weak as compared to the previous phones launched by the company.

Essentially, the phone was endorsed during the Indian Premier League (IPL) setting high expectations as it barged into the markets, competing with some of the biggest names in this smartphone era. In light of its massive advertising, the phone seems to have received the tag from tech experts as ‘only above average.’ At the same time, buyers across the country ‘expected more’ from the brand value of the phone, which has made a name by setting a low price for the phone in comparison to its features.

Without the software and camera upgrades, the device is essentially the Canvas HD. It just doesn’t justify the Rs. 18,000 price point. The good thing about the smartphone is that there is no reduction in performance when compared to its predecessor.

The phone succeeds in two specific areas, the added software features work well and the phone has a spellbinding camera features (13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front facing). An interesting feature is that the phone carries an in-built camera app which includes Normal, HDR, Face Beauty, Smile detection, Exposure compensation, Panorama, Photosphere (multi angle view) modes. It also offers a burst mode, letting users click up to 99 shots at once. The photo mode allows users to modify settings like Exposure, colour effect, ISO and white balance, among others. There’s a self timer of up to 10 seconds as well.

canvas4-UI-1

Hopes were high after the release of Canvas HD that the successor would have a full HD (1080p) display. However, Micromax decided to skip the upgrade and included a 720p display with a resolution of 720×1280 pixels. The red tinge display error carried by the predecessors of Canvas 4 was rectified by the manufacturer, this phone has higher resolution, text, icons and images look much sharper as compared to similar phones in its range.

The device available in Dual SIM mode and dual standby and is powered by 1.2 GHz Quad core MT6589T processor and 1 GB of RAM. Initially, the device was enormously in demand in the market but within a week of its launch, it failed to grab its target market.

The Canvas 4 A210 has been given a stiff competition by the latest iBerry Auxus Nuclea N1. This new iBerry gadget has the competitive features as compared to the Micromax’s flagship phone and due to being a new unique product; it has managed set a name in the markets as of now.

Canvas 4 runs on the Jelly Bean 4.2.1 and is further upgradable. Four distinct themes have been assigned to the phone; mint, mocha, raspberry and the default theme that bring minor changes in the phone’s colour scheme.

Apart from being slightly bigger in size from its predecessors and having specifically awe-striking camera features, Micromax’s newest toy does not bring much to the table when compared to a Samsung S4 or even the Blackberry Z10. In the new age of techno-buzz, Micromax has to aim higher to match the existing standards; however, the perk that remains is the price!

 

Shiv Chhattrapati Stadium, Balewadi, best venue to host games: AFI President

balewaadi
Children perform Mallakhamb during the opening ceremony of the 20th Asian Athletic Championships at the Balewadi Sports complex | 
Image courtesy: deccan herald

Pune (Balewadi): The 20th Asian Athletics Championship kicked off on July 3 at the Shiv Chhattrapati stadium, Balewadi and will continue till July 7. The event was inaugurated by Maharatra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan along with other officials present during the opening ceremony  in Pune. Artists performed Koli dance and children performed Mallakhamb during the opening ceremony.

In an interview with SIMC Wire, the President of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), Adille J Sumariwalla has claimed that the allotted venue at Pune is the best choice for the games, even though Chennai, Jharkhand and New Delhi were potential place to host the games.

“We did not choose Shiv Chhattrapati Stadium, Balewadi for the games. We had actually planned Jharkhand, which is a new stadium with better infrastructure for the games. However, due to Naxalism prevailing in Jharkhand and nearby areas, the Government decided to push the venue to Delhi but the capital’s answer was no. So, we finally resorted to Pune as the venue, when we requested the honourable chief minister of Maharshtra, Prithviraj Chavan, who gave the nod for the games to commence,” said Sumariwalla.

With over 577 athletes from 43 countries excepting Bhutan and Myanmar in the fight, the championship is already on the record books as the biggest Asian meet ever and the winners of the various events will be directly entering into the World championships to be held in Moscow next month.

The AFI President said, “It was a tough job because something like this takes nearly two years in terms of preparation and we were given something like three weeks. However, due to the unprecedented support of the government of Maharashtra and the aid from the chief minister and the sports minister, we were able to pull this off.”

“Particularly, the additional chief secretary was posted here in Pune, the divisional-commissioner along with Municipal commissioner of Pune, Pimpri and Chinchwad, Water department were also present in full support for any requirement for the Athletics Federation of India. Be it up-gradation of the stadium or the accommodation of the players, the authorities supported us in full swing and as you can see the games have begun,” added Sumariwalla.

Due to only being provided with a little more than 21 days for the athletic meet to commence, an array of problems was posed before the federation.

Sumariwalla expressed the difficulties as the tournament begun, “We faced tremendous amount of challenges for the games, and there was transport, accommodation, security, food, technical, accreditation, visas and various other challenges. I can safely say after all the effort put in the last three weeks; we are practically the best venue in the world to host these games. This system can run the Olympic games.”

SIMC Wire discovered during the proceedings of the event that there was no specific security check at the entry gates of the stadium. Neither were there any metal detectors in place to check the bags of fans, media persons and people within the sports complex.

When Wire enquired about the same from the Federations President, he said, “There are absolutely no problems with regard to security, the Mahrashtra police is on constant standby throughout the five day period of the tournament. The Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi, is also in the loop. There is special security for the players while they are travelling, outside their hotels. So security is not a concern.”

India began their campaign at the 20th Asian Athletics Championships on a mixed note on a rain-marred opening day in Pune on Wednesday. “The rains will not pose any threat to the games. The tracks are all weather synthetic, so, rain or no rain, the games will go on,” said Sumariwalla.

He also added, “I hope the athletes have the fairest and fiercest competition through the tournament.”

Shot putter Om Prakash Karhana and long jumper Mayookha Johny won a bronze each at the opening day for India. Om Prakash hurled the iron ball to a distance of 19.45 in his second attempt, his season’s best though it was way less than his national record of 20.09m, to give India the first medal of the Championships. Mayookha bagged a bronze in long jump after the event was stopped mid-way due to rain only to resume later.

20th Asian Athletics Championships in Pune, July 3 - July 7.
20th Asian Athletics Championships in Pune, July 3 – July 7.
President of Athletics Federation of India - Adille J Sumariwalla
President of Athletics Federation of India – Adille J Sumariwalla

DU cut-offs scale sky high, students under pressure

New Delhi: As the Delhi University’s cut-off list touches 100 percent for various colleges as declared on Thursday, it is clear that receiving education at this prestigious University will not be any easier for aspirants. The high cut-off legacy continues even though DU introduced the four year course pattern with enhanced course structures and increased seats, the admission process, however, does not provide any solace for those, only other than the best.

This year, Ram Lal Anand college posed stiff competition with its 100 percent cut-off for the computer science program for non-science aspirants, as against last year’s 100 percent cut-off by Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) that sparked numerous problems wherein the then HRD Minister Kapil Sibal had to intervene and ask the Vice Chancellor to look into the issue. It might seem that an outcry by DU aspirants is on the cards, posing stiff questions with regard to this year’s cut-offs and it’s criteria.

The Delhi University has announced its first cut-off list for the new four-year undergraduate programme.
The Delhi University has announced its first cut-off list for the new four-year undergraduate programme.

A new four-year course structure has been implemented by Delhi University from this session onwards.
A new four-year course structure has been implemented by Delhi University from this session onwards.

The cut-off for other courses for colleges such as Lady Shri Ram is set at a whopping  97.5%-98.5% for Journalism where as  cutoff set by Hindu is 97.75%-98.5% and similar for Economics and Commerce. SRCC, however, brought down their cut-off for their prestigious B.Com and Economics courses to 97 and 97.5 per cent respectively.

After the rejection of the Common Entrance Test (CATE) for English and Journalism from this year onwards, cut-offs for both courses ranged till 98.5 per cent with the highest being at Hindu college, the first ever cut-off marks for the Journalism course were above the 90 per cent mark in six colleges; IP College, Hansraj, Miranda House, Ramjas, Kirori Mal and Daulat Ram, offering the course.

In Science courses, Maths and Physics saw an all time high in their cut-offs followed by Computer Science and Electronics in close proximity.

Nearly a month back, DU had announced the increase in seats throughout various reputed colleges as well as off-campus colleges; however, with regard to the coveted courses being offered, admission seems to be a major hassle for aspirants as they await the next three cut-off lists.

According to a notification from Dean of Students’ Welfare Office, the registration process will begin from June 5, 2013 and will continue till June 19, 2013 for admission to DU’s four-year undergraduate courses.

This year, Delhi University introduced the four-year structure which will be a shift from the present 10+2+3 scheme. The course entails awarding a diploma if a student exits after two years, a bachelor’s degree after three years and a bachelor’s degree with honours or a B Tech degree on completion of four years. Thus, it is on a selection basis, where one can choose their own qualifying degree by the time they decide to leave the college.

DU also introduced a course, where a compilation of various different subjects can be integrated together for a combined course of the student’s choice, a course structure generally seen at various international universities. Even though, courses such as this are a respite for students from basic courses, if the next three cut-offs continue in a similar fashion, the student population at DU is likely to change drastically.

Death toll rises to 600 in rain-ravaged Uttarkhand

Flash floods that hit Uttarkhand last week
Flash floods that hit Uttarkhand last week

Dehradun: Nearly 18,000 people, rescued by the Indian Army, were shifted to safer areas on Saturday, even though the death toll due to the flash floods and landslides neared 600 as rains struck the Himalayan state of Uttarkhand last week.

Government reports claim that more than 30,000 people are still stranded in the hilly regions as rescue teams make their way to areas such as Gangotri, Joshimath, Badrinath, Kedarnath and Pindari glacier region.

GOC-in-Chief of Central Command, Lt Gen Anil Chait told reporters in Lucknow, “About 8,500 Army jawans are continuously working to locate the people still stranded in most difficult of places and shift them to safer areas and so far some 18,000 people from various parts of the state of Uttarkhand have been evacuated.”

Officials stated that majority of the flash floods in the rivers occurred due to cloud bursts in the Char Dham region blocking over 400 km of road network. “About 40,000 square km area in the hill state has been affected by the floods but along with the dispatched rescue teams, we have set up nearly 19 medical centres and rest houses for providing medical aid and rest to the rescued people,” added Chait.

Nearly 18,000 stranded victims were rescued by the Indian army from the flash floods in Uttarkhand on Saturday.
Nearly 18,000 stranded victims were rescued by the Indian army from the flash floods in Uttarkhand on Saturday.

Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde, who arrived in state capital Dehradun on Saturday, said a total of 73,000 people had been rescued so far with up to 32,000 still stranded. Shinde also added that the rescue operations were being speeded up as a fresh downpour is being expected in the next 48 hours in the state.

26-year-old, Kavita Tyagi, who had been stranded, for more than a week, at the pilgrimage spot of Badrinath was rescued by army choppers on Saturday morning and dropped at Gauchar, a hill town in Chamoli district of the state.

“We had been stuck for more than a week. We ran out of food and all our money. My three-year-old son is with me and we can’t describe the harrowing times that we have faced,” Kavita told AFP. She added that her mother and brother were yet to be rescued from Badrinath. “I am just praying that they too land safely,” said Kavita.

Special trains and buses have been acquired to ferry tourists back home while medical and food supplies were also being flown in to the stranded people.

“We are trying our very best to efficiently carry out rescue operations to save the remaining victims by Sunday,” said Lt Gen Anil Chait.

Oscar Pistorius set free, gets bail on $113,000

Oscar Pistorius adheres to court’s decision granting him bail

‘Blade Runner’, Oscar Pistorius accused of shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on Valentines Day was granted bail on 22nd Feburary, 2013. The ruling that came on Friday was announced by Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair after four days of rigorous arguments. The bail has been set at 1 million rand ($113,00) in cash and has been asked to turn in any other guns that he owns. Nail also announced that Pistorius cannot leave the district of Pretoria , South Africa as he is on probation.

 

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