Archive | March 2013

Easter wishes to one and all!!

Today is Easter Sunday. Some may celebrate according to their faith and traditions and the others may enjoy multi-doses of chocolate in the form of Easter eggs and celebrate the  extra holiday in their calendars.

Whichever camp you like to pitch, I like to extend everyone a very peaceful Easter Sunday wishes.

(by the way today’s date is a palindrome – it reads the same way as back to front 31.3.13)

Below is an article which I wrote  2 years ago to the Transcurrents.com and Tamil week.com titled Easter and its tradition. Here I am republishing again….

(http://transcurrents.com/tc/2011/04/post_653.html)

Easter and its traditions

By Saba-Thambi

An egg painted red given at the end of a Sunday school session was my first ever memory of Easter Sunday. I was highly excited and vividly remember taking extreme care of this possession on the half -hour walk back home. I don’t remember how I cooked the egg, but I remember to this day when my mother told me that the egg represents new life and hope for Christians indicating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. My mother also mentioned the western custom of exchanging chocolate Easter eggs on Easter Sundays. At the age of nine and living in Jaffna, I was amazed by the thought of a chocolate egg being the size of a chicken egg!

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the focal point of the Christian faith and is the oldest and most important festival of the Christian church. It is celebrated on a Sunday and is referred to as Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday is also called Resurrection Sunday and it translates to “uyirtheluntha Gnayiru” or “uyirtheluntha thiru-naal” in the Tamil Language.

The English word “Easter” (in old English, “ēastre”) is believed to be borrowed from the German origin, “ostern” and from a goddess named “Ēastre” associated with spring or dawn. It is noted that in the olden days it was customary to worship goddesses around the world particularly associated with spring & harvest. Hinduism also has female idols (pathini thevangal), Thurgai, Kali, Kannagi etc. Most of these ‘amman kovils’ are situated in the middle of a paddy field or in close proximity to fields indicating these kovils may well have been erected to celebrate the festivals of harvest.

Easter Sunday does not have a fixed day and falls on different dates each year thus referred to as the movable feast. Jewish Passover and Islamic Ramadan celebrations are also classified as movable feasts.

According to the New Testament1 Jesus was crucified on the cross and rose again on the third day around the time of Jewish Passover. Jewish Passover is calculated according to the phases of the moon (lunar Hebrew calendar). Muslims also follow the lunar phase waiting for the first sighting of the moon in the month of Ramadan. In contrast, Egyptians have a calendar following the Sun (a solar calendar). When the Romans became the ‘powerhouse’ of the world they followed the Egyptian calendar.

Early Jewish Christians followed a “Christian Passover” remembering the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus by linking it to the Hebrew Calendar. The non-Jewish Christians did not like this idea and they followed according to the solar calendar. This confused many among the early churches and each one was celebrating the resurrection of Jesus at various times of the year. The confusion was unified by the first Christian Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (AD 285 – 337) who was the founder of Constantinople currently known as Istanbul. The Emperor formally recognised Christianity in AD 313.

Equinox is a time when the sun is directly over the earth’s equator and as a result divides equal lengths of day and night at all latitudes. In Tamil it’s called as “sama iravu kaalangal”. This event occurs twice a year, on the 21st March (spring or vernal) and 23rd of September (autumn). Emperor Constantine presided over the inaugural Christian council at Nicea (Turkey) in 325 AD and decreed that the Easter would be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon appears after the 21st of March each year. Therefore it’s calculated that Easter Sunday could fall at any time between March 21 and April 25 of each year. The system was slowly followed by western churches throughout the middle ages and is currently used in the standard calendar. This explains that some of the Easter celebration is overlapped with Tamil & Sinhala New year in April. However, the Eastern European orthodox churches follow the Julian calendar and have their Easter in a different week than the norm but it closely follows the current standard calendar by a week.

In recent years both governments and churches have tried to validate a fixed date for Easter Sunday. Secularists have suggested the second Sunday of April each year and the World Council of Churches suggested replacing the current equation-based system with direct astronomical observation. So Far nothing has eventuated.

Even though Easter is a joyous observance, it is a season celebrated after the gloomy darkness of lent followed by a holy week comprising Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. The lent season indicates the fasting of Jesus and is the time for sacrifice and reflection. It starts on a Wednesday known as Ash Wednesday where the previous year’s palm crosses were burnt and the ashes worn as a cross on the forehead. Ash Wednesday is the day where Christian houses start their fasting period. Lenten sacrifices are personal choices. The most popular ones are, refraining from eating meat or breakfast and giving up alcohol for the season. Western custom is to eat fish on Fridays during the Lenten days. Children are also encouraged to sacrifice some activities or food dear to them such as chocolates, fizzy drinks or even to give up viewing television or movies. Nowadays some have gone to the length of giving up time on social networking sites (face book or twitter). Some denominations conduct Lenten bible studies to reflect the life of Jesus Christ. Christian weddings are overlooked during this solemn season.

Holy week follows the 40 days of lent starting on Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday celebrates the majestic entrance of Jesus to Jerusalem on a Donkey. He was welcomed by the young and old waving palm branches and chanting “Hosanna! Hosanna!” Palm Sunday service is an exciting service for the children as they join the church procession waving the palm leaves. In Jaffna, the young creamy coconut palm leaves, not yet exposed to the sun (kurutholai) are used to make the palm crosses thus referred to as “Kurutholai Gnayiru” in Tamil. The palm crosses are blessed at the service and distributed to the members. The members keep these crosses in special places in their homes or distribute them to their relatives, especially to the sick and the elderly. A well known Tamil lyric taught to Sunday school children during the Palm Sunday service includes “osanna paaduvom yesuvin thasare”, “thavithin kumaranukku unnathathil ossanah”.

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Palm crosses, photos: JJ

Churches organise activities depicting the passion of the Christ leading up to his crucifixion. The Catholic churches around the world organise A Passion Play in open air parks and theatres. A passion play is a dramatic presentation illustrating the Passion of Christ: his trial, suffering and death.

The St. Patrick’s college grounds are a well known venue in Jaffna for passion plays and people gather in droves to watch the play irrespective of their faith or religion. Forty years ago in April 1971 a passion play was held at the foreground of the Jaffna fort. The Pageants were cleverly created between the fortresses. This was the year JVP were plotting a coup against the government and were forcibly taking over the police stations around the Island. The Jaffna police station and a Prison were also situated on the grounds of the fort and due to the passion play; the plans of the insurgency were foiled.

The internationally renowned “Passion play of Oberammergau” is performed every ten years in the German Alps. It has been continued for more than 360 years to date and has become a multimillion dollar enterprise which originally started with a miracle and a vow taken by the villagers during the black Plague.

In 2004 Mel Gibson directed a film “The Passion of the Christ” and was released during the Lenten season. The film depicted the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life beginning with the agony of Jesus at the garden. This film was viewed by many and Gibson pocketed more than 600 millions. A Tamil Catholic song ‘Kelungal tharapadum, thattungal thirakapadum…” 3describes the life story of Jesus and is a favourite number for this season among Tamils.

Maundy Thursday institutes the ceremony of the washing of the feet indicating Jesus’ humility of washing his disciples’ feet. This is the night where Jesus held his final meal with his 12 disciples described as the Last supper.

This feast initiated the Holy Communion service where bread & wine are shared. The last supper has been a favourite theme for the Christian art. A popular 15th century mural4 of Leonardo da Vinci is a precious possession of the world. It is at Santa-Maria-grazie church in Milan, Italy and represents the scene according to one of the Gospel 2 in the New Testament. A decade ago this mural was a “hot-topic” relating to a fiction “The Davinci Code.” written by Dan Brown.

Good Friday reflects the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross by the Roman army. This is the most solemn day of the Christian calendar. Most of the church sanctuaries (altar) look empty with a single cross. No flowers will be seen on the sanctuary. The day provides an opportunity for the reflection and contemplation of his life. Each denomination has a different way of reflecting the sombre day. Methodist Churches in Jaffna conduct 3 hour services consisting of two sermons. Some denominations do not share the Holy Communion on this day. Church goers tend to wear black or white attire to mark the mourning. Good Friday has become a public holiday in the entire Christian countries calendar and most of the shops, pubs and the casinos are closed as a mark of respect.

Different cultures have different meals on this day. Fish is cooked for the family meal in Western cultures whereas a vegetarian meal, sambar or egg based meal is served in Jaffna Christian households. Hot cross buns are served on the mornings of Good Fridays, a tradition which originated in England. They are eaten hot or toasted with the cross standing as the symbol of crucifixion. The Nursery Rhyme “Hot cross bun” initially was used as a street cry by the vendors in England and has become a popular rhyme around the world. The commercialisation of Easter festivities means that the buns are marketed well before the Lenten period. Business entrepreneurs have taken the “buns” to a higher notch by making it with chocolates nowadays.

The Nursery Rhyme:

Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!
One a penny two a penny – Hot cross buns
If you have no daughters, give them to your sons
One a penny two a penny – Hot cross buns

During the season a rough cut wooden cross is often kept at the altar or outside the churches. Various sizes of crosses are used for this purpose and some are 6 to 7 feet high. Three metal nails are driven into wood at the palms & feet of the cross and a crown is made of thorny vines and an inscription “INRI” is written at the top of the cross. The cross is draped in purple during Lenten followed by red on Palm Sunday; black on Good Friday provides a graphic visual sign of the Lenten journey.

Easter vigil was observed by the early Christians on Easter Sunday. Catholic churches observe the midnight mass and the protestants observe as Easter Sun rise service to reflect the expression of hope and new life. Easter carries the colour white with gold/yellow symbolising hope of the new life and the altars are decorated with flowers especially with white Easter lilies. Depending on the weather some dawn services are conducted outdoors.

The traditional way of celebrating Easter among the Protestants and evangelicals is the Easter musical Cantata or Bajanai consisting of special music and songs. Easter Bajans are a popular session among the Tamil Christians. Many traditional Tamil lyrics are sung in the Bajans at the churches and in the open-air theatres. The Easter service marks the end of the fasting period. Families gather together in their homes to celebrate an Easter feast after the Service. Every year a traditional Easter blessing is delivered by the Pope, the head of Catholicism to a packed St Peter’s Square in Rome and to all Catholics around the world.

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Sanctuary at the Noranda Anglican Church, WA, Australia. Palm Sunday ~ Apr 17, 2011 (photo by JJ)

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Easter eggs and Easter bunnies are the other features relating to Easter. These symbols have spawned extensive debate in relation to the origin of some customs used in Easter celebrations. Some argue that Easter is a little more than an adaptation of a pagan fertility festival and has little to do with Christian tradition. There is no doubt that many signs and symbols have been adopted from various cultures. Egg represents new life and the rabbit is reminder of spring and is believed to be the favourite animal of goddess Eastre. Early Easter eggs originated from Germany as goose or duck eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are also used as gifts and nowadays artificial chocolate eggs are popular.

Intricately patterned Easter eggs (pysanky) are popular among the Ukrainian populations. Children eagerly anticipate an Easter egg hunt on Easter Mornings. Nowadays Easter eggs and its clones are a big market in affluent society similar to the hot cross buns.

Other themes referred to Easter

An unexpected surprise product attached to the computer software or DVD in Microsoft’s early products is also referred to as hidden Easter eggs. However, Microsoft formally stopped including the Easter eggs in 2002.

An Island is also named after the Easter. Admiral Roggeveen who discovered the Island on an Easter day in 1722 named it Easter Island. Is also known as Rapa nui in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Easter Island is well known for its monolithic stone statues of human form..

References

1 Gospel of Luke Chapters 22-24

2 Gospel of John 13:21

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OQ54MRkdcU

http://milan.arounder.com/en/churches/santa-maria-delle-grazie-church/the-last-supper-leonardo-da-vinci.html

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A new queuing system

A new queuing system

Why stand in a queue when your pair of slippers can do the job for you …

It  could be possible only in Sri Lanka

A new queuing system

India Got Talent

India Got Talent

Each country has their own competition to bring out the talents of amateur artistes whether they are musicians, magicians or dancers. The competition becomes a launching pad for many successful entertainers such as Susan Boyle from Britain.

Below is a You-tube video link from India-Got -Talent  performed by Sumanth (13 years) and Sonali (7 years) .

DANCING NANA

I wish that I could be dancing like this “young lady”  in my old age rather  than complaining about my body aches and pains.

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul”  ― Martha Graham

“Dance like there’s nobody watching. Or filming. Never mind that creepy guy in the corner with the camcorder. Just keep dancing.” ― Jarod Kintz

DANCING NANA.

The Catholic Heart Attack !

While the Cardinals are sitting at the conclave…. I just couldn’t go pass this joke

You don’t have to be Catholic to appreciate this one!!!

A man suffered a serious heart attack while shopping in a store. The clerks called the ambulance when they saw him collapse to the floor.

The paramedics rushed the man to the nearest hospital where he had emergency open heart bypass surgery. He awakened from the surgery to find himself in the care of nuns at the
Catholic Hospital he was taken to.

A nun was seated next to his bed holding a clip board loaded with several forms and a pen. She asked him how he was going to pay for his treatment.

“Do you have health insurance?” she asked.

He replied in a raspy voice, “No health insurance.”

The nun asked, “Do you have money in the bank?”

He replied, “No money in the bank.”

“Do you have a relative who could help you with the payments, asked the irritated nun?

He said, “I only have a spinster sister and she is a nun.”

The nun became agitated and announced loudly, “Nuns are not spinsters! Nuns are married to God.”

The patient replied, “Perfect. Send the bill to my brother-in-law.”

One-month-wives in Hyderabad-India

Hi viewers

Below is an article published in Indian express written by Sreenivas Janyala:

One of the main reason for exploitation of young girls is poverty and lack of education.

Please do spread the wrong doings  to protect  the young girls and their families.

The One month wives

Osama Ibrahim arrived in Hyderabad a month ago with very specific requirements: he wanted to marry a girl below 20; he would pay Rs 1 lakh to her family as bride price; the marriage would last a month; and that he would leave the country after a divorce.

The 44-year-old Sudanese engineer, who has a wife and two children back home, had no problem finding what he wanted. At least five brokers agreed to provide girls and families meeting his specifications. He rejected three brides-to-be, before selecting a 17-year-old.

To continue reading : The -One -Month- Wives

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/the-onemonth-wives/1085706/0

Eighth of March – International Women’s Day

Hello friends

The article below  was published in Transcurrents.com  and  Tamil Week.com ,   to mark the International women’s day. I have   republished the same article on this  blog without any changes.
At this juncture, another young lady should  also be remembered for her courage is Malala Yousafzai.  The fifteen year old Pakistani who was recently shot  for speaking against Taliban. Malala has been nominated for  the 2013  Nobel peace Prize. We  wish her a speedy recovery and  best wishes for her nomination.
Saba
Eighth of March – International Women’s Day
7 March 2012, 6:30 pm

By Saba-Thambi

International Women’ Day (IWD) is celebrated worldwide on the 8th of March. IWD symbolises the economic, political and social achievements of the women past, present and the future. Events are organised around the world to mark the celebrations.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Rangoon, Burma, on December 1, 2011-pic – US Dept. of State

In some countries the day is declared as a National holiday. Today will be one hundred and one year since the inception of IWD.

Origins

At the beginning of the 20th century (1908), when 15,000 courageous women marched through New York City for better pay, shorter hours and the right to vote paved the way for the voice of women. Two years later the first IWD was held in Germany on the 19th march 1911.

IWD’s 50th Anniversary was held in 1960 and more than 700 delegates participated from 73 countries. United Nations gave a general recognition to IWD in 1975 and the endorsement was adopted by other governments which were not part of conferences previously. The United Nations also declared the year 1975 as the international year of women.

Since then IWD had many conferences and tackled many challenges and issues to push women’s rights on to the political arena of each country.

In later years IWD is seen as a celebration of women of the past than focusing on the downbeats. Many women personas have succeeded in the man’s world to make their stand and are continuing to do so in the future as well. What more of a day than today to remember some of those women who have contributed immensely to the world.

Marie Curie (1867 – 1934)

Marie Skoldowska was born in 1867 in Russian dominated Poland in the era where women could not attend Universities. Her family, who valued education, sent her to Sorbonne University in Paris to study Science and she became the first woman to teach in that campus. Marie married her associate Pierre Curie a professor in Physics and both jointly researched on radioactive substances. Many years of research earned the couple a Nobel Prize in 1903 for physics which was shared by another French Physicist A.H Becquerel. Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.

A word coined by Marie as “Curies” is still used as a unit measurement to evaluate the level of radioactivity. Tragedy trapped Marie when her husband died in an accident. Marie, with 2 young children took his position as professor of Physics as the first woman to the post. She went on to discover radioactive elements Radium & Polonium. Polonium was named after her polish genesis. She won her second Nobel Prize in 1911 for isolating and studying the radioactive properties of Radium.

Radium was used to destroy cancerous cells in the body and the use of x-rays to find the bullets in wounded soldiers during the First World War. Marie Curie’s work was recorded in many scientific journals and was highly admired by the scientists around the world. Mari Curie died at the age of 67 of Leukaemia probably caused by the exposure to radiation during her research days.

Mothe Teresa receiving the Nobel Peace Prize

Mother Teresa (1910 – 1997)

A wrinkled face and a covered head with the edge of a white sari was a familiar face to the world, when Mother Teresa accepted her Nobel peace prize in 1979. Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born in Macedonia to an Albanian family. Young Agnes accepted a call from the above to become a Roman Catholic nun in her teens. She received the name Sister Mary Teresa after she was accepted as a nun and later became Mother Teresa after taking her final vows.

Mother Teresa was transferred to Calcutta initially as a teacher and from the very beginning she was drawn to help the poor and the needy. On a journey from Calcutta to Darjeeling, she received a “call within a call” to initiate the missionaries of charity. She followed her inner urge to leave the convent to work among the under-privileged. Vatican gave her the green light to start the group “Sisters of Missionaries of Charities” under the guidance of archbishop of Calcutta.

“Love begins at home” became Mother Teresa’s motto and she started to provide free help to the impoverished, homes for orphans and the lepers. White sari with the blue lined border became the uniform for her and her co-workers around Calcutta. Her absolute dedication to serve the poor caught the attention of the entire world and was affectionately referred to as “the saints of the gutters”.

Apart from the Nobel Prize, Mother Teresa has also received many awards locally and internationally. India honoured her with Padmashree award and Bharat Ratna and the Queen honoured Mother Teresa with the Order of Merit .

Mother Teresa passed away after a brief illness at the age of 87. Her body was kept in a church next to the Loreto convent in Calcutta where she arrived 69 years earlier. Many thousands of people lined the streets to pay their last respects irrespective of their religion & race.

India gave Mother Teresa, a state funeral and her body was carried on the gun carriage which also carried the bodies of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Heads of the countries, Royals and special envoys were present at her funeral to bid her a final farewell.

At the time of her death Sisters of Missionaries of Charity were established in nearly 600 communities in 123 countries. Her work is still continuing under the guidance of Sister Nirmala in Calcutta.

Shirley Chisholm (1924 – 2005)

An African American activist, Shirley Chisholm was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1924 to a poor immigrant West Indian family. Shirley majored in Sociology at Brooklyn College and became an active advocate for minority rights. Shirley won a seat in New York assembly for democrats as the first black congress woman. In her famous address to the house of representative she quoted that “I have been far oftener discriminated against because I am a woman than because I am black”. Shirley passionately believed in improving the life of socially disadvantaged and the unfair treatment of women. She also proposed equal rights for all regardless of colour and gender. Shirley was the first African American woman to seek nomination for the presidency in 1972.

Even though she was unsuccessful she continued to be a voice for the women’s rights.

Indira Gandhi (1917 – 1984) & Sirimao Bandaranayke (1916 – 2000)

Prime ministers and heads of states

The world’s first female Prime Minister Mrs. Sirimao Bandaranayke (1916 – 2000) was elected to the Office in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) when her husband was assassinated in Colombo. A soft-spoken Sirimavo was persuaded by her late husband’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to take over the leadership of the party. The following year, she won the general election for her party and became the first female Prime Minister. She carried the policies and legacies of her husband.

There were many female leaders who have been persuaded to take over the political mantle after the tragic deaths of their husbands or fathers.

Corie Aquino of Philippines, Chandrika Kumaratunga of Sri Lanka, Sonia Gandhi of India, Megawati Sukanoputri of Indonesia and Benazir Bhutto were among the many who stood the political litmus test.

Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the only child of the first prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru became a well accomplished politician. After graduating from Oxford, Indira returned to her motherland and joined the National Congress Party. The Congress party was the vanguard for the struggle for independence of India from the clutches of Britain and her parents have been active members of this party. Politics was in young Indira’s vein and she was elected as party president in 1959.

After the death of her father, she was appointed as the minister for information and broadcasting under the Prime Ministership of Lal Bahadur Shastri. Unfortunately Shastri died 2 years later and Mrs. Gandhi was promoted as the first female prime minister of the world’s largest democracy.

Initially nick-named as “goongi gudia” (dumb-doll), she slowly silenced the critics by nationalising the banks and initiating programmes for India’s self sufficiency. She proved herself as one of the tough politicians in the region and was described by Henry Kissinger as the “tough-minded and cold-blooded lady”. Indira Gandhi never shied from the extreme pressures and assisted in the creation of the independent state of Bangladesh.

In one of her speeches for women she quoted,
“An ancient Sanskrit saying says, woman is the home and the home is the basis of society. It is as we build our homes that we can build our country. If the home is inadequate – either inadequate in material goods & necessities or inadequate in the sort of friendly, loving atmosphere that every child need s to grow and develop- then the country cannot have harmony and no country which does not have harmony can grow in any direction at all.

That is why womens’s education is almost more important than the education of boys and men. We – and by ‘we’ I do not only we in India but the entire world around……..” (At Indraprastha College for women, New Delhi, India 23.11. 1974)

On October 1984, Mrs. Gandi was assassinated by two of her Sikh body guards as a revenge for sending the army to crush the Sikh occupation of the Golden temple. Prior to her death she has quoted “If I die a violent death as some fear and a few are plotting, I know the violence will be in the thought and the action of the assassin, not in my dying”. Indira Gandhi was admired by many and hated by some like any other
politician in the world.

Aung San suu Kyi

Aung San suu Kyi was two years old when her father General Aung san Kyi , national leader of Burma (now Myanmar)was assassinated in 1947. Aung was initially educated in Rangoon and later studied politics at Delhi University in India. She was also educated at the Oxford University and while working abroad met her future husband Michael Aris . The couple had 2 children and the family was living in England.

The death of her father made a deep impact on Aung’s life and made her to fight for the peace and independence of Burma from the military rule. Politics played a major role in Aungs life when she returned to Burma in 1988 leaving her young family in England to care for her ailing mother. During her stay she joined the pro-democracy movement and addressed the people in a public rally, calling for a democratic government. Many months later Aung was placed under house arrest by the ruling military leaders ever since.

The general elections were held in 1990 and her candidacy was declared null. Even in the absence of Aung the National League Party won a landslide victory. During her house arrest she wrote many speeches and books and she won her Nobel peace prize in 1991. She spent the winning prize of 1.3 million dollars in establishing a health and education trust fund for the people of Burma. Her struggle for democracy for Burma is still continuing…to this date.

Some women have utilised their public life from the entertainment industry to enter a political career. Special mention goes to the South Indian Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms. Jayalalitha and the Argentinian Radio & film actress Eva Peron. Glamorous first lady, Eva Peron affectionately named as” Evita” fought for the women’s right to vote and initiated a charity for the children and the under-privileged. She died at the age of 32 after suffering from Cancer. Evita became a house hold name after her death when Andrew Lloyd Webber made a Broadway musical “Evita” in 1976 and “Don’t cry for me Argentina” has become a favourite song across the world. In the eighties musical was made into a movie with Madonna as Evita.

Julie Covington on Evita

The world has seen many females from astronauts to political leaders, to crime novelists, to film directors and even a television talk back queen! The unfortunate truth is that in some countries women are still not paid equally. Globally women’s education, health and violence against them are worse than that of men. One can only hope that these conditions will change for the better at least at the end of the twenty-first century.

The world can only hope so!

Courtesy of:  http://transcurrents.com/news-views/archives/9197