Saturday, May 23, 2020

The right song at the right place at the right time

The establishment of Zangley Muenselling School for the Blind in Khaling in 1973 brought new hopes and dreams for the visually impaired people of Bhutan. His Royal Highness Prince Namgyel Wangchuck and the missionaries from Norway who founded the school had a common dream, a dream to help every visually impaired Bhutanese see the world through education. One of the biggest responsibilities the founding fathers of the school had was to shift the social paradigm from “We are blind. We cannot do anything!” to “We shall overcome!” And so had the students first learned to sing the nursery song ‘We shall overcome’ the lyrics of which contained the ultimate vision of the school. Over the years, the school has opened the horizon of opportunities and unlocked the door to a promising future for all its visually impaired students, and this is what the song was all about.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Life under the shadow of Coronavirus

Photo of flowers on the mountain with Sun rising in the horizon. Image courtesy: www.businessinsider.com.

The month of May is here in all its natural grandeur. The tender blossoms from the balconies of buildings, gardens and forests are seen rejoicing in the cool breath of Nature, with their colorful petals smiling at the Spring Sun. The mountains and valleys have rolled back to life after being withered by the freezing temperatures of winter. The blessings of Nature are everywhere, in the tender petals of flowers, in the singing of the seasonal birds, or in the beautiful rivers flowing through the valleys. But this year, something is missing in the air. With COVID-19 pandemic still looming round the corner, the feeling of serene calmness and tranquility the Spring season usually brings has not yet sunk in.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Revisiting the past through digitized news archives

The New York Times, which is one of the oldest newspapers in the world has digitized all its news archives starting from its first publication in 1851, giving us the opportunity to travel back in time to look at some of the most important historical events just as they happened. The stories written years after the events have taken place can help us get a glimpse of what had happened in the past but they do not take us back to feel the actual atmosphere of the time when they happened. The original news articles on the Assassination of the US President, Abraham Lincoln on 14th April 1865, published on 15th April 1865; The collision of two jumbo jets on the runway at Tenerife on 27th March 1977, published on 28th March 1977; and The assassination of Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi on 31st October 1984, published on the same day, all took me several years back in time and I felt as though I was there when those events unfolded. I had heard these stories through history books and articles written at a later date by scholars and authors, but these digitized original news reports really made me feel as though I was on a time-machine, flying backwards to see the history myself.