To mark the centenary of the first women in the UK winning the right to vote, and to drive forward gender equality across the London today, the Mayor of London and the London Assembly has launched a year-long women’s equality campaign: #BehindEveryGreatCity.The campaign includes a year-long programme of public art by women artists on the London Underground, the unveiling of the first statue of a women in Parliament Square – suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett – and launching an initiative to support women into leadership roles.
Women make extraordinary contributions to their communities and London, but they’re not always recognised. That’s why the Mayor and the London Assembly created the Hidden Credits campaign – a crowd-sourced celebration of fantastic women from all backgrounds. You will be glad to learn that our own WZCC Chair Shernaz Engineer has been nominated.
Celebrity chef and restauranteur Cyrus Todiwala has joined the Marine Conservation Society as an “ocean ambassador”, the charity has announced.
Todiwala, chef patron of Cafe Spice Namaste in London and one half of the UK’s BBC series ‘The Incredible Spice Men’, has already been a seafood sustainability campaigner for many years.
“I have been involved in the area of marine conservation since 1983 when I worked with the government of Goa [India] on a number of environmental initiatives, including helping to achieve protected status for turtles and dugongs,” said Todiwala.
“In the UK, like in several countries, people get addicted to certain kinds of fish only and will not deviate to trying other equally great fish. This puts serious pressures on certain species,” Todiwala added.
“It’s one reason why we must, as an island nation, support our fisher-folk and also ensure that we take precautions to leave a good legacy behind with an abundance of fish for an ever-increasing fish loving population.”
MCS said that Mr Todiwala was the first chef to become an ocean ambassador for the charity.
“His amazing knowledge of fish from catching to cooking and his reputation as a restaurateur is a fantastic opportunity for MCS,” said Nicole Greaves, MCS head of marketing.
Indian-American Neomi Jehangir Rao has been sworn in as US Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, widely considered to be the second most powerful court in the US, next only to the US Supreme Court, reports Press Trust of India (PTI).
With this swearing in, she became the second Indian-American after Sri Srinivasan to be part of the DC Court. Nominated by the Republican President Donald Trump, she will now replace Justice Brett Kavanaugh who was recently elevated to the Supreme Court.
Rao was confirmed by the US Senate last week by 53-46 votes. Joined by her husband Alan Lefkowitz, Rao was sworn in by the US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Tuesday (19 March). “She is going to be fantastic. Great person,” Trump had said about her.
Born in Detroit to Parsi physicians from India – Zerin Rao and Jehangir Narioshang – Neomi Rao received her B.A. from Yale University and her J.D. from the University of Chicago.
Before her elevation to the Court, Rao had served as the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) of the Office of Management and Budget.
In a previous stint, she was also a professor of structural constitutional law, administrative law, and legislation and statutory interpretation at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.
The Parsis are one of the smallest religious communities in the world. To understand the population structure and demographic history of this group in detail, we analyzed Indian and Pakistani Parsi populations using high-resolution genetic variation data on autosomal and uniparental loci (Y-chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA). Additionally, we also assayed mitochondrial DNA polymorphisms among ancient Parsi DNA samples excavated from Sanjan, in present day Gujarat, the place of their original settlement in India.
Among present-day populations, the Parsis are genetically closest to Iranian and the Caucasus populations rather than their South Asian neighbors. They also share the highest number of haplotypes with present-day Iranians and we estimate that the admixture of the Parsis with Indian populations occurred ~1,200 years ago. Enriched homozygosity in the Parsi reflects their recent isolation and inbreeding. We also observed 48% South-Asian-specific mitochondrial lineages among the ancient samples, which might have resulted from the assimilation of local females during the initial settlement. Finally, we show that Parsis are genetically closer to Neolithic Iranians than to modern Iranians, who have witnessed a more recent wave of admixture from the Near East.
Our results are consistent with the historically-recorded migration of the Parsi populations to South Asia in the 7th century and in agreement with their assimilation into the Indian sub-continent’s population and cultural milieu “like sugar in milk”. Moreover, in a wider context our results support a major demographic transition in West Asia due to the Islamic conquest.
Independent India was gearing up to hold its first elections in 1952 and inside a factory in the marshy suburbs of Mumbai’s Vikhroli, the workers were making history, literally.
It was the latter half of 1951 and from the outside, it was business as usual at Plant 1 of the Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. But unbeknownst to many, the workers were part of a nationbuilding project, assigned the task of speedily manufacturing the first ever ballot boxes to be used in general elections in India.
Archives of the company indicate that a total of 12.83 lakh ballot boxes were produced in the Vikhroli factory in barely four months. “A newspaper, Bombay Chronicle, had printed an article on December 15, 1951, saying the factory was manufacturing 15,000 ballot boxes a day.
This, without affecting the production of any of their other products like safes, cupboards, cabinets and locks, proves that the workers at the factory were putting in extra hours every day to ensure that the ballot boxes were readied in time,” said Vrunda Pathare, chief archivist at Godrej.
An official from the archives division said an ad in The Times of India published by Godrej shows that the original order was for 12.24 lakh ballot boxes but they ended up making 12.83 lakh. “It’s probably because orders were given to other companies as well and those who did not finish them in time passed the order on to Godrej in the end,” said the official.
The production cost of one ‘olive green’ box came to Rs 5 and the model was finalised after testing 50 designs. The internal locking system in the ballot box was designed by a factory hand, Nathalal Panchal, after it was found that an external lock would inflate the making cost.
“We have anecdotal evidence that Panchal played a key role in suggesting the design for the internal locking mechanism,” said Pathare. That story is now part of an oral history project of 2006 when company officials interviewed KR Thanewala, the plant manager of Plant 1 in 1951, who is now no more. Thanewala had recalled during the interview that Plant 1 had just started in May 1951.
“Pirojsha Godrej (the owner) would come to the factory at 3 o’clock every afternoon asking us how it was going. And he got orders from other companies who had not somehow or the other managed to make them (ballot boxes). The mechanism was tested. Every box had to be checked. Click when it closes and click it should open. Once it was closed, without putting your finger inside and pulling the string, you cannot unlock it,” he said.
By February 1952, all the ballot boxes were manufactured, loaded onto railway wagons and sent to the 22 states in preparation for the holding of the polls. Thanewala, in his interview, describes how the boxes were moved: “…We had to walk to the station and back. And…I did a lot of night shifts. At night we (used to) light mashaals (torches) and with the mashaal, I used to walk from the railway tracks up to Vikhroli station. It was great fun.”
SAFE KEEPING: Bombay policemen guarding the ballot boxes that were used in the first Lok Sabha polls held over 1951-52
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