Striving For A More Inclusive Society
Here are some positive stories that came our way in October
Equality: Looks like eating out in India just got a whole lot more inclusive! After a transgender individual was allegedly denied entry into a mall in Pune, 45 hotels, restaurants and service companies, including UrbanClap and the Olive Bar & Kitchen, have pledged to make all people feel more welcome, regardless of gender and sexual preference.
Keshav Suri, executive director of the Lalit Suri Hospitality Group and one of the petitioners for decrimina-lizing Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, has been a vocal advocate for gay rights in India. “It begins with a fundamental concept such as not assuming that if two men are checking in together, they have to be provided with twin beds; and changing the concept of a couple, which people still define as a man and woman together. We have started addressing a couple as a twosome instead,” he told Hindustan Times.
The establishments will make various changes such as training their staff to provide more inclusive service, better hiring processes and gender-neutral bathrooms wherever possible. This is another big step in the right direction for India and will hopefully pave the way for a safer, happier, more embracing society for all.
An epic find
Space: Ever dreamt of discovering a planet in a solar system far, far away? A team of Indian scientists, led by Professor Abhijit Chakraborty, from the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad, recently did just that. The planet in question, named EPIC, is located 600 light years away from Earth. That means it would take a space shuttle from Earth a whopping 22 million years to reach it! EPIC is six times the size of Earth’s radius, but still smaller than Saturn (which is nine times Earth’s size).
The discovery was made possible by a spectrograph designed at PRL that was able to measure the planet’s mass, which is 27 times denser than Earth’s. Because it is closer to its star than we are to our Sun, EPIC’s surface temperatures reach up to 600°C—much too hot for life forms to exist. Scientists speculate that the planet’s heavy mass may be made up of elements such as ice and iron. Here’s hoping the team will continue to unravel more mysteries of the universe!
The good doctor
Health: What happens when roads are blocked by a procession, but you need to reach a patient who needs immediate surgery? If you are Dr Sushil J. Deshmukh, you will make the eight-kilometre trip on foot to perform an emergency laparoscopy. Parking his car at Hadapsar, Pune, at 10 a.m., the doctor walked for four hours until he reached Vishwaraj Hospital, where he works. Deshmukh later said, “RLA (ruptured liver abscess) can be fatal and can lead to sepsis, empyema or peritonitis. I am the only surgeon at Vishwaraj. I had to get there by any means possible.”
The food ATM
Giving: Students from Mahadevi Birla World Academy, Kolkata, have been helping feed 150 children living in the Tiljala slum since July this year. With the help of teachers, they have set up an Any Time Food (ATF) Fridge, so food can be distributed to kids between the ages of six and 14, Monday to Friday from 2:45 to 3 p.m.
Organized with the intention of sensitizing kids to the needs of others, the initiative began after thorough research on how food ATMs work and what kind of food Tiljala’s children needed. “With 4,000 students, I was sure we could make a difference,” said school principal, Anjana Saha.
Sources: Equality—The Better India, 26.6.18. Space—FirstPost, 23.6.18. Health—The Logical Indian, 18.7.18. Giving—Dailyhunt, 25.7.17