Bridge classes
Down To Earth|September 01, 2021
More than 5,000 volunteers in villages of Odisha ensure that the lack of digital access does not hinder children's education amid the pandemic
PRIYA RANJAN SAHU

AT 7.30 AM every day, 23-year-old Babula Majhi spreads some straw carpets and bedsheets under a sprawling mango tree in his village of Kuabhadi, tucked away in the hills of Odisha’s Kandhamal district. He waits until 16 children gather under the tree. Then Kuabhadi’s Mo Chatashalee (literally, my school) begins its classes for the day.

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‘America's original social distancer'

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND LOCKDOWNS MADE DAVID GESSNER, PROFESSOR OF CREATIVE WRITING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA WILMINGTON, REVISIT HENRY DAVID THOREAU—THE 19 TH CENTURY AMERICAN NATURALIST, ESSAYIST, POET AND PHILOSOPHER WHO LIVED IN ISOLATION FOR TWO YEARS STARTING 1845. THOREAU SPENT HIS TIME GROWING HIS OWN FOOD, CONTEMPLATING AND WRITING. HIS STAY IN THE WOODS BY THE WALDEN POND IN CONCORD, MASSACHUSETTS, RESULTED IN HIS MOST-KNOWN WORK, WALDEN—A BOOK THAT DESCRIBES THE ACT OF LIVING DAY TO DAY AND IS CONSIDERED A CLASSIC ON NATURE WRITING AND INDIVIDUALISM. GESSNER COMPARES THOREAU’S SELF-IMPOSED ISOLATION TO HIS OWN FORCED SECLUSION DURING THE PANDEMIC IN HIS BOOK QUIET DESPERATION, SAVAGE DELIGHT TO CONCLUDE “JUST HOW INTENSELY RELEVANT THOREAU IS TO OUR TIMES”. EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOK:

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Toxic ignorance

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Supply snags

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‘Reality is not as fixed as people like to think'

Humans pride themselves on the fact that they cannot just see and perceive what is around them but also analyse their observations and form definite conclusions. However, this ability to understand reality is not foolproof, say researchers from the University College of London, UK, in a recent preprint paper published in the online repository PsyArXiv. Through a series of experiments, the researchers have determined that people are often akin to mistaking their imagination for real-life perception. DAKSHIANI PALICHA speaks to lead author of the study NADINE DIJKSTRA about the potential implications of their findings. Excerpts:

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The fading mirage of a TRIPS waiver

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Many hues of haldi

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HERO HERB

The pandemic years have witnessed a boom in the production and export of the humble underground stem called turmeric, along with a renewal of interest among the scientific community in the spice’s therapeutic qualities, especially against COVID-19. VIBHA VARSHNEY reports why inclusion of the household herb in our daily diet is a healthy idea

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With the world having lost 14 per cent of its coral reefs in just one decade, a marine devastation seems imminent. But there may be some hope yet

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BEYOND 100 DAYS

The national rural employment guarantee programme financially empowers village panchayats, thus making them an effective self-governing system

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