August 2016

Independence Day, is annually observed on 15 August as a national holiday in India commemorating the nation’s independence from the British Empire on 15 August 1947.India attained independence following an Independence Movement noted for largely nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience led by the Indian National Congress (INC). Independence Day is celebrated each year in the school where the Indian Flag is hoisted followed by the singing of the national anthem and other patriotic songs. Before Independence day, students are told about the struggle movement towards freedom of the nation and why the this day is of the utmost importance in the Indian history. After the flag hoisting ceremony, sweets and chocolates were distributed amongst the students. For teachers high tea was organised.

Followed by Independence day, Raksha Bandhan was celebrated. It is a hindu festival which is widely celebrated throughout India. The festival celebrates the love and duty between brothers and sisters.On Raksha Bandhan, sisters tie a rakhi (sacred thread) on her brother’s wrist. This symbolises the sister’s love and prayers for her brother’s well-being, and the brother’s lifelong vow to protect her.The festival falls on the full moon day (Shravan Poornima) of the Shravan month of the Hindu lunisolar Nepali calendar. The kids were told given a brief introduction about raksha bandana and made rakhi for their brothers and sisters. They also made cards to present it to their siblings at home.

August is a month which celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. Krishna Janmashtami also known as Krishnashtami, Gokulashtami, Srikrishna Jayanti or sometimes simply as Janmashtami, is an annual celebration of the birth of the Hindu deity Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. The festival is celebrated on the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Krishna Paksha (dark fortnight) of the month of Shravana (August–September) in the Hindu calendar. Various places in India celebrate this festival differently. In Varanasi, it is celebrated by decorating the Krishna mandir (temple) with garlands and flowers. The idol of Krishna is bathed in milk and is adorned with itrr (perfume), new clothes and chandan tick on the forehead. A fast is also observed on this day and delicacies are made in every household. At various places, Jhankis (tableau) is made and people of all age group visit to see the life of Krishna through the tableaus. At various places,Rasa lila, dramatic enactments of the life of Krishna, are a special feature mostly in the regions of Mathura and Vrindavan. While the Rasa lila re-creates the flirtatious aspects of Krishna’s youthful days, the Dahi Handi ( mostly celebrated in Maharashtra) celebrate God’s playful and mischievous side, where teams of young men form human towers to reach a high-hanging pot of curd and break it. The students at the school are told about various stories of Krishna and Indian mythology to give a brief introduction of the Indian culture. The school remained closed on this day as the city was flooded and all the schools and colleges were supposed to remain shut as per the District Magistrate’s order.

The weather took a humungous toll on the city. With Ganga showing no signs of relenting, Varanasi seems to be heading for the second worst flood in the last three years. The situation has been really bad in the past few weeks because of the continuous rains and the water level increasing up to alarming rates. Due to the increasing water levels and incessant rains, all the schools and colleges of the city were asked to remain shut as per the orders of the District Magistrate. The school remained closed till the 26th of August. Since 28th of August, the rains have stopped and water seems to be receding down. I am hopeful that the city will come to its previous state in a week’s time.

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