Over the next week, Solanki’s situation deteriorated steadily and he died on April 20. The children had barely had any time to process their father’s death, when, on May 1, they got the news of their mother’s passing. In a matter of a few weeks, their world had come crashing down. The eldest daughter, a first-year college student, was left with the task of taking care of her younger, school-going siblings. Nothing had ever prepared them for this. The Solankis did not leave behind any cultivable land or major assets. The children currently remain in the care of Shrikant Solanki, who runs a small shop in Bagratawa and is a father of two.
“Once reports of children orphaned by Covid started pouring in, we activated our network of anganwadi workers to identify and collect information on them,” says Dhananjay Bhadoria, district magistrate, Hoshangabad. “The Solanki children have been registered under the newly announced Mukhyamantri Covid-19 Bal Kalyan Yojana.”
The staggering national Covid death toll of 354,000 and counting has created a war-like situation—like war orphans, there are now Covid orphans. An affidavit filed in the Supreme Court by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) records that 3,621 children were orphaned between April 1 and June 5. Another 26,176 children had lost one parent and 274 were abandoned. The NCPCR, however, clarified that the parent deaths recorded in its affidavit were not just related to Covid.
AS PER THE NCPCR, 3,621 CHILDREN WERE ORPHANED BETWEEN APRIL 1 AND JUNE 5; 26,176 LOST ONE PARENT; AND 274 WERE ABANDONED
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THE RUMBLINGS WITHIN
EVEN AS THE BJP’S EXPANSIONIST DRIVE CONTINUES AT A NATIONAL LEVEL, IT IS BATTLING ATTRITION IN SEVERAL KEY STATES IT RULES, INCLUDING SOME THAT GO TO POLLS EARLY NEXT YEAR
THE YOUNG SURVIVORS
On April 8, Deepak Solanki, resident of Bagratawa, a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Hoshangabad district, tested positive for the coronavirus. Two days earlier, Solanki and his wife Anita developed a fever and other flu-like symptoms, but they thought it was likely just about of common flu—it hadn’t yet sunk in that Covid was no longer the urban phenomenon they imagined it to be. However, an RT-PCR test, done on the insistence of Deepak, 45, a district medical representative, proved otherwise. Deepak was admitted to a private medical facility the same day and Anita two days later. Their children—two daughters, aged 18 and 15, and a son, 12—were left in the care of their nephew Shrikant Solanki. All three children, too, had tested positive.
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The dramatic and hostile reord er ing of Jammu and Kashmir’s political status visavis the Indian state on August 5, 2019 was followed by a systematic emasculation of the old political order and its replacement by a new set of elected lead ers. The BJPled central government felt that taking control of local governance institutions (panchayat and municipal committees) was the best way to neutralise the traditional political parties and its legislators in the absence of a functioning assembly. But nearly two years down the line, grassroots democ racy has become a hostage in the battle between the militants and government forces. There have been threats and executions and instances of elected representatives fleeing their native villages.
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BASS CENTRE Ashbory
Time for something a little different, suggests our Editor...
In every issue, we bring you a noteworthy interview from the bass vaults, from far-off times when gigs were plentiful and a virus meant no more than a day in bed. This month: Marcus Miller, interviewed in 2012
FOUR of the BEST
It’s 50 years this year since Led Zeppelin released their immense fourth album, cementing their position in music history and inspiring the playing of a million guitar-shop visitors. The band’s Quiet One, bassist John Paul Jones, was on astounding form throughout Half a century since that high point, we revisit his bass parts and ask how it was that JPJ became the leading rock bassist of his generation...
Bassist and songwriter Lena Morris on the catalyst that sent her into the low frequencies
Spice up your bass tones, says Mike Brooks
PICKING LARGE INTERVALS
Welcome! To finish off our exploration of pick playing, we’re going to look at a couple of things related to playing bigger intervals. As we’ve noted before, every technique takes on a whole new level of difficulty when we start to move it across the strings, but it can get even harder when we want to be able to control how long each note lasts.
With his new album, Two Roses, Israeli upright bassist Avishai Cohen achieves a career high. We meet the master
PUTT IT THERE
We meet the veteran jazz bassist— and occasional James Bond adversary —Putter Smith.
Carlos Santana’s long-time bassist Benny Rietveld reflects on a career at the front line of expression
The Atlanta-based rock quintet Blackberry Smoke return with a new album, You Hear Georgia. Bassist Richard Turner explains the thinking behind the big tones