Kamal ka phool hamari bhool: Rajputs rally against BJP in Rajasthan

Vasundhara Raje

Rajputs feel Jaswant Singh Jasol was denied a ticket from Jaisalmer Barmer constituency in the last lok sabha elections at the behest of Vasundhara Raje (in pic). (Photo: Twitter/@VasundharaBJP)

Nagaur district in Rajasthan, which is around 200 kms from the state capital of Jaipur, was the epicentre of Rajput protests last year as the district had flared up over the alleged fake encounter of Anandpal Singh, a history-sheeter with several cases of murder, dacoity and kidnapping against him.

Rajput community members had alleged that Anandpal Singh was killed in a fake encounter despite his willingness to surrender.

This election year, members of the Ravana Rajput community, of which Anandpal Singh was a part of, and the Rajput community have come together in their fight against the Vasundhara Raje-led Government in Rajasthan with the sole purpose of defeating the BJP in the upcoming Assembly elections.

In Nagaur’s Ladnun, where Anandpal hails from, anger against the BJP has surged over time.

“We are together in our fight against the BJP. Whether it is the Ravana Rajputs or the Rajputs, we are working together towards defeating the BJP in the upcoming elections in Rajasthan,” a member of the Ravana Rajput community told India Today.

“We have realised the BJP has been working against the Rajput community. There have been several issues including the encounter of Anandpal Singh, the Chatur Singh encounter and the Padmaavat issue which has led to bad blood between the BJP and Rajputs. We have realised that kamal ka phool is hamari bhool,” another Ravana Rajput member said.

Nagaur district has a total of 10 assembly seats out of which Rajputs are considered to hold sway over at least seven seats. Family members of Anandpal Singh, including his mother and daughter, have been travelling to different parts to rally against the BJP in a bid to oust the party from power. They have been raising the Anandpal Singh encounter and other issues regarding the community.

“Thirty six communities in Rajasthan are working together to defeat the BJP. My father was killed in a fake encounter. There have been several issues over which these different communities in Rajasthan have been working to defeat the BJP. The response was good where ever we went to hold rallies and campaign against the BJP,” Anandpal Singh’s daughter Yogita said.

“My son was killed in a fake encounter. I have been protesting, fighting, campaigning against the BJP to ensure justice. We have made ‘Kamal ka phool hamari bhool’ a part of our campaign,” Nirmal Kanwar, Anandpal Singh’s mother, told India Today.

Even as the encounter of Anandpal Singh remains the rallying point for the protesting members of the Rajput community, it is not the only issue over which the BJP has been targeted by Rajputs and Ravana Rajputs.

Rajputs, considered an influential section in Rajasthan, comprise around 8 to 10 per cent of the state’s population. Anger within the community seems to have spread across the state over the latter half of Vasundhara Raje’s tenure.

Several of its members, who claimed to be BJP loyalists, have accused the party and Vasundhara Raje in particular of rubbing the community the wrong way.

Apart from the Anandpal Singh encounter, the community has been at loggerheads with the BJP over the manner in which the BJP state president was handpicked by denying the opportunity to a Rajput.

Apart from this, the community felt insulted when Jaswant Singh Jasol, a former BJP stalwart, was denied a ticket from Jaisalmer Barmer constituency for the last Lok Sabha elections, allegedly at the behest of Vasundhara Raje.

“There is no infighting within the BJP. The Rajputs are together and supporting the party. Earlier, there were some people who had filed their nomination but some of them have already withdrawn it,” Raghuraj Singh, BJP candidate from Ladnun, said.

The BJP has been trying to prevent the prevailing mood in the Rajput community from boiling over in the poll-bound state. In a bid to quell the anger within the Rajput community, the party has given tickets to 28 Rajput candidates, substantially more than the 13 tickets given to Rajput candidates by the Congress for the upcoming elections in the state.

However, whether the ruling party will be able to tide over the wave of seething anger prevailing within the community is something only results can tell.


Can the Mediterranean Diet Protect You Against Air Pollution Health Risks?

Image result for The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and olive oil. G.steph.rocket / CC BY-SA 4.0The Mediterranean diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and olive oil. G.steph.rocket / CC BY-SA 4.0

Air pollution is a serious and growing public health concern. Ninety-five percent of the Earth’s population breathes unsafe air, and scientists are discovering more and more health risks associated with doing so.

However, since the solution to air pollution depends on political decisions and technological innovation, it is hard for individuals to know how to protect themselves. Until now. A new study has found that eating a Mediterranean diet might limit the long-term health impacts of certain types of deadly air pollution, Time reported Monday.

Researchers at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine compared the health outcomes for almost 550,000 Americans near the age of 62 over 17 years based on their exposure to particulate matter, nitrous oxide and ozone and how closely their eating habits matched the Mediterranean diet of fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, legumes, whole grains and olive oil. They found that Mediterranean-type eaters were less likely than others to die after exposure to particulate matter and nitrous oxide.

The findings were presented at the American Thoracic Society 2018 International Conference taking place from May 18 to 23 in San Diego.

“[A]doption of a Mediterranean diet has the potential to reduce the effects of air pollution in a substantial population in the United States,” senior study author George Thurston said in a press release published by ScienceDaily.

Thurston explained that the Mediterranean diet is high in antioxidants, so the findings backed the hypothesis that air pollution harms human health by increasing inflammation.

“Given the benefits we found of a diet high in anti-oxidants, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that particle air pollution caused by fossil fuel combustion adversely affects health by inducing oxidative stress and inflammation,” he said.

The study builds on previous research indicating that an antioxidant rich diet can mitigate the health impacts of short-term exposure to air pollution.

“What we did not know was whether diet can influence the association between long-term air pollution exposure and health effects,” NYU School of Medicine doctoral student Chris C. Lim said in the press release.

They found that, for those who did not stick to a Mediterranean diet, deaths overall increased by 5 percent for every 10 parts per billion (ppb) increase in long-term nitrous oxide exposure, compared to 2 percent for those who followed the diet most strictly.

When it came to cardiovascular disease deaths, those increased by 10 percent per 10 ppb increase in nitrous oxide exposure for those who least followed the diet compared to two percent for those who most followed it.

Heart attack deaths due to nitrous oxide exposure increased by 12 percent per ppb compared to 4 percent per ppb for the least and most adherent to the diet.

For particulate matter, cardiac disease deaths increased by 17 percent per 10 micrgrams per cubic meter of increased exposure for those who least followed the diet compared to 5 percent per 10 micrograms per cubic meter for those who most followed it, and heart attack deaths increased by 20 percent per 10 micrograms per cubic meter for the least adherent compared to 5 percent for the most faithful.

Following a Mediterranean diet was not found to improve health outcomes following ozone exposure.

While Time pointed out that more research needs to be done before it is assured that a dietary change can provide a bulwark against air pollution, you won’t hurt your health, or your taste buds, by switching to a Mediterranean diet just in case.

As Lim told Time, “Eat your veggies.”