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The Root Causes of Alcoholism in India; Possible Solutions.

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Simple economic, age, gender and professional dimensions that define alcohol consumption patterns in small homogenous western nations are insufficient in a multilayered society like India. Despite adoption of western lifestyles, middle class in urban India has yet to entirely do away with the old mores and values. For few in the big city, the old values are still the core of their identity, while for others they are suitable pretences, resulting in schizophrenic environment where youngsters grow up absorbing the worst of both the eastern and the western influences.

Rural India is witnessing a different yet equally seismic shift, where the old joint-family value system and associated economic enterprises are collapsing and people are moving away from traditional professions. There is significant migration in search of livelihood due to ever shrinking size of the agricultural land holdings. Apart from the stress of displacement, a break from ones communities also removes the social safety net that keeps check on alcohol abuse. In some previously semi-arid and moderately populated regions, improvements in irrigation and industrialization of agriculture has created excess wealth and removed the need for few previously agricultural people to work with their own hands. Instant money for these people and also for the land holders in areas near big cities where prices of real estate have sky rocketed has resulted in youngsters who do not know how to handle their newfound wealth and are prone to addiction.

Alcohol abuse combined with ready availability of opium derived drugs seeping in from our western borders has resulted in a whole generation of addicts in Punjab, Jammu, Haryana and parts of Rajasthan. In the flux of values and economic relations of our multilayered society four denominators are can still describe the major pillars of alcohol related problems in India: 1) lack of information 2) adulteration of alcohol 3) inefficient alcohol regulation policies and 4) the paucity of appropriate medical intervention.

While the debate over the merits of alcohol consumption is hotly contested worldwide, the views about alcohol consumption in India usually do not come in shades of gray but often in black and white. There is a taboo concerning alcohol consumption in any amount, especially by women and conservative sections of society, but also in general due to religious teachings of the Vaishnav sect of Sanatan Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism, and Arya Samaj and the remnants of anti-alcohol Gandhian drive. Actual practice of alcohol consumption is altogether a different matter, which covers the whole gamut from healthy consumption to fatal abuse. History has taught us that making something a taboo does not solve the problem; it only makes the forbidden fruit more tempting. Taboos encourage closeted and unsafe behavior like binge drinking in the case of alcohol or unsafe sex in the case of premarital relationships. Humans have been enjoying alcoholic beverages since prehistoric times. Alcohol has been celebrated in the Vedic hymns, Shaivism, Buddhism, Tantra, streams of Catholicism, and many indigenous animist and tribal traditions that celebrate alcohol in moderation. In fact many anthropologists and biologists claim that it is likely that alcohol from fermented grains was used as food source much before the bread was invented. In fact, if consumed in moderate amounts over many years, alcohol can have numerous positive health consequences. Moderate amounts of alcohol have been correlated with reducing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, improving cardiac functioning, and reducing stroke incidences, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, gallbladder diseases, arthritis, renal cell carcinoma, thyroid cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma among many other diseases.

When alcohol is consumed in an uncontrolled and excessive manner however, the story is much different. Binge drinking, especially as a repeat pattern, is associated with many health problems including alcohol poisoning, liver sclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, sexual dysfunction, and fetal alcohol syndrome in unborn children of pregnant women. The World Health Organization estimates that 2.5 million deaths per year worldwide are caused by alcohol related incidents, mostly due to heavy inebriation. A strong correlation exists between heavy alcohol consumption and crime. Also, heavy drinking can result in blackouts that leave people vulnerable to crimes such as rape. Apart from health issues, the economic drain and the disruption of societal peace due to increased crime can be quite a big strain on society. Heavy alcoholics (not mild healthy drinkers) are more often involved in domestic abuse than rest of the population. So instead of making something taboo we need to understand a drink or two a day is good for health, unless the woman consuming is pregnant or if someone is patient of a kidney or a liver disease. On the other hand heavy amounts, i.e. more than three to five drinks a day, depending on the size of person, not just causes health issues but it wrecks families. The solution is in moderation for those who like to drink and not in professing abstinence.

Apart from lack of information on alcohol for people to make their own informed choice, adulteration of alcohol and lack evidence based regulation policy are reason for grave alcohol related health problems. Alcohol poisoning is due to non-ethanol alcohols: frequently methanol, also known as wood alcohol, which is highly toxic. Methanol can cause blindness and even death in sufficient quantity. It is sometimes added into illicit alcoholic beverages to increase their potency. In fact, most hooch related tragedies, like the recent one in Gujrat, have happened in dry states or on dry days in wet states. This is not surprising. When one cannot get regulated good quality alcohol and it is taboo to consume alcohol, people resort to shoddy alcohol consumption in hiding. Such prohibition on alcohol also results in binging due to fear of being caught. Failure of prohibition in Gujrat and Mizoram and earlier in Andhra should be an eye opener. This counterproductive nature of prohibition is a global trend and the disasters from the American prohibition era and Pakistani prohibition from the Zia time onwards should act as stern reminder for anyone professing prohibition. One of the most laughable and pretentious acts of alcohol regulation in India is the current ban on alcohol advertisements while allowing alcohol manufacturers to advertize low-selling, almost hypothetical products like music CDs and bottled water that have the same name as their alcoholic beverage. Well-intentioned grass roots movements due to lack of information frequently push for prohibition and so do the self-benefiting NGOs that are merely acting as fronts for converting black money to white through Hawala schemes. One needs a non-prohibitionist, informed grass root movement to set the minds of ruling political elite to focus on the problem of addiction and alcohol abuse in India.

We are also missing well-trained physicians with information on efficacy and availability of de-addiction drugs and an awareness of benefits of psychological, exercise and vocational therapies. Appropriate information to both the health professionals and the family of addicts can result in much needed counseling and support required for anyone wanting to quit alcohol addiction.

I hope as India strives to maintain its much hyped growth rate it also stops its infantile approach in dealing with alcoholism and many other health issues that are part of reason why people’s quality of life is not going up at the same rate as economy. What is needed of people is to be informed of the beneficial and harmful effects of alcohol, shed away taboos that do not serve any good and understand that addiction is a disease that can be cured in most instances and the sooner one intervenes the better one can expect the outcomes to be. What is needed of the government is to have a smart regulation of alcohol that will add to revenue, ensure quality of alcohol, and spread information on the ills of alcoholism without making it the forbidden fruit.

Dr. Sukant Khurana is a New York based scientist, artist and writer of Indian origin. His basic research involves neurophysiology, computational neuroscience, sensory perception, addiction, learning and memory, while his applied research extends into many areas of drug discovery and problems of the developing world. Both his visual art and writing explore the issues of modernization, displacement and identity.

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Culture and Lifestyle

The Best Art Galleries You Mustn’t Miss This Year

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“El Sol” Chema Gil Ramírez, Calavera Gallery.

Hey art lovers! We have created for you a list with the best art galleries you mustn’t miss this year. From the greatest masters from long time ago, to contemporary installations around the world, where you can find photography, painting, sculpture and all kind of art.

The Best Art Galleries Of The Year

The Hole, in New York City

Kathy Grayson founded The Hole Gallery in 2010. A space of young and ambitious art located on Bowery Street in New York City, where artists in the eighties used to live and party. It usually hosts two exhibitions at once.

Calavera Gallery, in Italy

Leaders of international art events all around the world, Calavera Gallery owns a prestigious collection of sculptures, paintings, photographs, illustrations and multimedia art works. This art gallery has offices in Tokyo, Paris, Switzerland, Mexico and Austria. Here you’ll find modern and contemporary art.

Levy Gorvy, in New York City and London

Founded by Dominique Lévy, this art gallery located in London and NY city is known for showing contemporary minimal, conceptual, abstract You may enjoy art of artists such as Yves Klein, Frank Stella, Pierre Soulages, Günther Uecker and Dan Colen.

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, in Paris, Pantin, Salzburg, and London

The Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac was founded in Austria in 1983. It is now an international art gallery who represents around 60 artists such as Robert Longo, Imran Qureshi, Alex Katz, Gilbert & George, and Cory Arcangel. It’s known for its Drawings Department in Paris and its ironworks factory located in Pantin.

Lehmann Maupin, in New York and Hong Kong

Founded by Rachel Lehmann and David Maupin, Lehmann Maupin art gallery was founded in SoHo in 1996. Artists such as Os Gemeos, Mr., Mickalene Thomas, Gilbert & George, or Alex Prager are represented in this contemporary space. This gallery is known for giving new artists the opportunity of showing their works of art for the first time.

Sean Kelly Gallery in New York

Sean Kelly founded this gallery focused on performance and installation art in New York City in 1991, after his career at the British Museum. His gallery is located in SoHo, and has exhibited Robert Mapplethorpe and Marina Abramović first works of art.

The Saatchi Gallery, in London

This worldwide gallery may be the number one for young artists in UK. Since its opening, it is known for representing debutants. Let yourself get amazed by recent contemporary art.

Sprueth Magers in Berlin, London, and Los Angeles

At the beginning, Monika Sprüth founded this gallery in Cologne due to the lack of female artists in the city. She opened her art gallery to support art made by women. Artists such as Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, Ryan Trecartin and John Baldessari have been represented by Sprueth Magers.

Hans Mayer in Düsseldorf, Germany

This art gallery is specially known for its outdoor sculptures, which are surprisingly amazing. The exciting thing about this site is that it’s home of many types of art, such as dance, theater, music and even fashion shows. Check out its schedule!

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How the world of Harry Potter changed us forever

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Harry potter movie castle

When the first Harry Potter book hit the shelves of bookstores in 1997, JK Rowling could only dream of what would happen next. Over 20 years later and we have seen 6 more books, one play, 8 major motion pictures, merchandise, video games, visitor attraction, a dedicated website in Pottermore, and now a series of prequels revolving around the earlier life of the much loved Albus Dumbledore.

Harry Potter changed everything for both children and adults. It really bought reading, especially among teens, back to life for everyone and now translated into 80 languages it really is leaving a worldwide legacy.

Everyday new young people of discovering the world of Harry Potter

As children are getting older, parents are passing down their owner love of all things Harry Potter to their children, and the lessons given in those books are still more relevant than ever in this increasingly technological world. Friendship, courage, making mistakes and carrying on are so vital to be able to see. The more subtle adult themes around prejudice, politics and media are especially important.

The ability of JK Rowling to weave this wonderfully complex storyline around loveable yet flawed characters is fantastic, and to do all this in a way that resonates with children and young adults is quite a skill. Most Potter fans were not surprised at their great sense of loss when the books finally ended.

Immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter

One of the great ways to really get into the world is through the Harry Potter videogame, where you can actually become the characters and fight your way through to take down Voldemort yourself.

Rumour has is that Warner Bros are planning a brand new RPG game very soon, although there is nothing official yet. However, there was the incident of a Youtube video leaked online of a new game, very quickly taken down by Warner Bros, which seems to suggest there is some truth in the rumour. It seems at this moment that you will be able to create characters and play in an open world and make potions and cast spells. What else you will be able to do is as yet unknown but it is certainly exciting.

There is a whole world of fantasy fiction out there

If videogames are not your thing and you are looking for the next great epic to read then there are plenty of books like Harry Potter.

Take for example the three book saga, The Magicians trilogy. This tells the story of a high school student Quentin, who discovers he is a magician and heads to a magical college in New York. It has also been made into a TV series if you prefer to watch instead of read.

It is certainly a bit more adult than the Harry Potter books but is definitely worth a read for older teens and grown ups.

Another series that will fill the hole left by Potter is the Bartimaeus trilogy, that mixes real historic events with magic and revolves around the character of Nathaniel, an 11 year old apprentice of magic. The fun thing about alternative history is that it had endless possibilities and outcomes.

Of course, one of the other all time great trilogies is the His Dark Materials books. This one is a fantastic story, filled with complicated relationships, great characters and a huge number of emotional ups and downs. It touches on concepts of philosophy and religion and some complex concepts that are somehow made completely understandable. This book will have you in tears at some point, and laughing at others.

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Easy, Safe and Without Ads: the Best Websites to Watch Movies Online in 2019

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Movies can reach our hearts and make us feel unforgettable moments, catching us from the beginning to an end, and that is why we all like to watch a good one once in a while. However, we do not always feel like going to the movie theater. A few decades ago, films were in black and white and had to be seen in the cinema or on a television, but now it is possible to enjoy the best audiovisual content anytime and anywhere You just have to connect to a computer and watch one of the newly released films at no cost. At one time or another, all of us have looked for websites to watch movies online in order to enjoy an afternoon of home cinema. The problem with most of these free online movie viewing sites is that they are full of invasive advertising, spam, viruses and in many cases are a scam.

In this article we have browsed the Internet looking for the best websites to watch movies for free so you can enjoy watching movies and TV series without worrying about anything else –like annoying ad sor malware. Sometimes it can be a problem to find good websites to enjoy a good film, because some websites are full of invasive advertising, but luckily there are some sites that can be useful and allow us to have a great time watching movies from home.

After all the research we have been able to verify that websites without invasive advertising or Spam are few. Although if you check the different sites that we recommend in this summary of the best pages to watch free movies, you will find some good options. The following websites offer free audiovisual material. However, since we don’t agree with any type of infringement of intellectual property laws that protect the copyrights of cinematographic works, it is under your responsibility that these contents do not contravene any law or regulation in the country you are streaming from.

123movies

123Movies is a video streaming site that allows users to watch movies online for free. 123Movies provide visitors with a large catalog of titles, including new releases. Due to the variety of content, 123Movies has become one of the most popular streaming sites. You can find most movies and television shows on 123Movies. Besides new blockbuster films that have just recently appeared in theaters, you can find titles from other popular streaming sites, such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.

You do not need to login or create an account. You simply click on the title that you want to watch and begin streaming on your computer or internet-connected device. You can watch movies from the browser on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. In most of the Western world, displaying content that was not obtained through the proper licenses is illegal. However, 123Movies operates in other parts of the world. They are often based out of countries that do not have strict anti-piracy or copyright laws. Plus, instead of hosting the content on their website, they link to external servers and the content is streamed from a secure cyber locker or another online source.

YouTube

Youtube is the only one source through which people can enjoy and look at any kind of movies or videos. Being accessible to people throughout the globe it also facilitates an individual with various options and desires according to their needs. If you have an Internet connection or even can use mobile data to open a site called Youtube and watch every movie you want without any problems. Google’s YouTube.com provides hundreds of good free movies, and it is also available in various languages. If you are interested, you can also rent or buy movies there.

YesMovies

When talking about free movie streaming one of the most visited site by many is Yes!Movies. This site has a good reputation when it comes to providing free access to movies from different countries. The site has an extensive list of TVSeries and movies at a fast loading speed. Also the video quality of the video can be adjusted to match the device that you are currently using.

IMDb

IMDb is not just a popular movie database but also an excellent resource for watching documentaries and films. They have a separate section for listing various films and documentaries. Often avoided but yet this site is featured in almost every list of streaming sites.

WatchMovieStream

WatchMovieStream offers thousands of free movies available for online streaming. The website works perfectly on all devices, so those of you who enjoy watching movies online on their mobile phone will be pleased. Watch Movie Stream is very easy to use, and movies are listed in 22 different genres.


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