Omicron Variant and Our Concern

Covid-19 pandemic across the globe has taken a new turn on the discovery of a new variant, named Omicron. While there are many other variants of Covid-19, both active and inactive, the Omicron variant has taken the world media by storm. Let us find out in this article what exactly are the concerns in most people’s minds regarding this Omicron strain.

It is known that viruses not only transmit but also change their mutations in each transmission. Usually, these changes are too minute to be detected. However, large variations do occur, and in some cases may lead to a stronger virus with higher transmissibility, greater resistance to vaccines, or even more deadly. Covid-19 coronavirus also underwent several changes since its first detection in Wuhan. At first, the variants were popularly nicknamed from the country of origin. As they caused some kind of racism against a particular country or a particular race, the nomenclature shifted to Greek letters, alpha, beta, gamma, and delta.

WHO classified these variants into two categories – Variants of Interest and Variants of Concern. Variants of Interest are those variants that may in the future cause community transmissions or has the potential to become out of control. Variants of concern are those which have greater transmissibility, can cause severe symptoms, are more fatal, or develop resistance to vaccination. To date, only five of these variants – alpha, beta, gamma, delta and the newly added Omicron have been recognised as Variants of Concern. Variants of Interest at present are only two variations, lambda and mu.

Transmissibility of Omicron is considered much greater than delta, one of the most fatal and widely circulated variants of Covid-19 discovered to date. However, it is yet to be proved as data remains insufficient on the spread of this virus. Neither it has been proved that it is more harmful as it is still under research level. However, preliminary research suggests that it may be much less dangerous than the delta variant despite having greater transmissibility. Omicron has also not gone out of control in most countries, including Botswana and South Africa, the countries of origin of this variant.

South Africa did well to report globally that a new variant of Covid-19 has been detected within its borders. South Africa also did well to make sure awareness and research studies can spread to other nations to initiate effective measures to contain this strain. However, most countries around the world, except for African and some South American ones, are looking at South Africa with suspicion. Most countries have responded with travel bans to South Africa and other African countries, shutting down flights, ships, and different modes of transportation and communication.

This may set an example to other countries to remain silent on new variations, only to save their economy. Also, many countries around the world have significant Covid-19 caseload and high fatality rates from delta variants, who do not have even mandatory Covid-19 protocols such as mandatorily wearing a mask in public. Hence, it is not the right time to panic and stand against South Africa, but work all together to end the pandemic once and for all.

Written by – Himadri Paul

Racism- a pandemic

A race is a grouping of human beings based on an individual’s physical characteristics, such as skin, hair, or eye color as distinct by the society. Racism is the loathe towards people due to their difference in physical appearances. 

Racism – a pandemic

Racism affects an individual’s mental health. Their state of well being is deeply affected. Racism makes people feel uncomfortable for being born in a particular way or having a particular skin tone. There is nothing to be ashamed of their own skin color.

Racism remains as a barrier between social advancement in our society. No one is superior or inferior. We live in a world where all should to be treated equally. None has the right to dominate the others due to the genetic traits and the skin color they possess. It is a groundless method of judging people.

Causes of racism:





Why does it still exist?

Right from the ancient times, everyone grew the superstitious belief that black is a sign of bad omen. People even wear black attire to attend a funeral ceremony of the deceased. As a result, it has been practiced for years that black represents evil. Any individual who varies from the group in skin colour, religious practices is considered as the Outsider. This is where Xenophobia develops. Xenophobia is otherwise called Racism or the hate for people from other countries.

How to prevent Racism:

Creating awareness among people and to educate themselves about racial issues is the first step to reduce racist beliefs among people.

All are human beings, no matter what colour or country they belong to. Every person has different experiences. Share one such experience and listen to the experiences of other people irrespective of their physical appearances.

Speak out if you hear someone calling out racist comments and promote equality. All are humans. Everyone deserves to be loved.

Written by R.Varsha

Fair skin obsession in India

Indians have always been obsessed with fair skin because they compare fairness to beauty. Beauty and fairness are not synonymous and cannot be used interchangeably. Just because you are not fair does not mean that you would not be beautiful. With all the fairness creams and beauty products emerging in the market, we Indians assume fairness to be the reason of beauty and success. No, the fairness cream won’t give you a good job, the fairness cream cannot make you successful, the fairness cream won’t help you achieve your goals.

They are just the misconceptions which the companies create in the minds of people. This increases its sale and market value. The companies tried to fill our minds with their thoughts. They tried to make us see what they wanted us to see. Also, we got into what the commercials showed us and denied to know the reality. We started altering our minds and perspective based on the ones shown to us by the advertisements, celebrities and various companies. The viewers are also to be blamed because we started believing the unreality even after knowing the truth. We started being partial with the people around us on basis of their skin colour.

Indian society claims fairness to be an explanation of beauty. But little do they understand that beauty cannot be defined by fairness. You could be dark-skinned and yet be beautiful and flawless.

It is rightly said, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” and not in your skin colour or your complexion. The nation might be more successful the day it understands the true meaning of beauty.

10 ways to promote anti-racism at workplace.

  • Have a diverse group of employees who are so passionate about their work that they don’t have time for all this non-sense. Also create an environment where people don’t target each other. While calling people for interviews at your firm do run a background check at them and make sure to know about their behavior and their views and ideas on the topics which are in trend, by this we can look how the person feels and would express himself. This will bring out his natural character.
  • If you’re in a leadership position in your organization, don’t wait for a mentoring program. Find a young person of color in your organization that is doing great things and take them under your wing. Even better – encourage your peers in senior ranks to do the same. We all know the critical importance of access to power. Break that vicious cycle by providing that valuable access to some who may never otherwise have it.
  • It’s 2020. Barring a few extreme anomalies, there’s simply no reason for companies of any significant size to not be diverse. Period. One of the most soul stripping feelings knows that you’re working in an environment that isn’t consistent with your values so if you value racial justice and human rights and know that your company does not, leave.
  • Changing your behaviours and actions starts with changing your thoughts. Challenge yourself to identify your own deeply embedded stereotypes or bigoted thoughts. Did your parents make disparaging remarks about people of color while you were growing up which may have caused you to think of black people as lazy or not as smart. If you haven’t had direct experiences in college or graduate school (for example) to challenge that thinking, you may subtly maintain those stereotypes. While I’m thrilled to see that MIT has elected its first black female student body president ever (159 years), I can’t help but shake my head at the thought that it took that long.
  • Micro aggression’s and inequities are pervasive in the workplace, and it’s so important for white people to speak up when they happen. The simple truth is that most corporations do have a bit of a corporate caste system, and when those in positions of power stay silent, little changes.  So when you see something, say something. 
  • Fear is often the root of bigotry and one of the best antidotes for erasing fear is knowledge and familiarity. The saying is Know Me – Like Me – Trust Me, and that trust building process starts with simply knowing people better. It’s so much easier to fall victim to bigoted thinking and stereotypes when you don’t personally know people from that community and are completely ignorant of their culture, so get to know more people of color. For as much as we like to pat ourselves on the back for supporting “diversity in the workplace,” our society continues to be remarkably segregated.
  • If you have a relationship with a colleague in whom it feels appropriate to ask them about their experiences at work, ask them. The majority of the time, the minority is less likely to speak up about racial incidents at work for fear of being let go. Ask colleagues about their experiences at work and outside of work. Not only will it help you to realize that racism is a very real issue, it will also give you the opportunity to be an ally and speak up for that colleague if they have been having a negative experience.
  • It’s time to audit our outlook. There is always work to be done in the white mental schema, whether you think it or not. Take a look at your own conscious or unconscious biases. Think about times when you could have done better. Keep track of what happening around you can commits to holding yourself accountable for creating a better anti-racist workplace.
  • If your boss thinks less of you for asking the important questions, you probably need a new boss. Ask your higher-ups what they’re doing to promote equality and inclusivity across the team. Ask them about pay, ask them about diversity workshops, and ask them if the company cares.The more people who put pressure on now, the better for everyone. By staying quiet, you are supporting white supremacy.
  • For most the important things upgrade your thoughts and beliefs. Its 2020 we are living in an open world with all sorts of people around us. We have to take care of each other and must support each one of us because humanity is all that matters.


Is the world becoming Anti-China?

The world as we know it today seems to be forming an alliance against China, mostly because of suspicions behind the widespread Covid19, due to which as many as 552K people succumbed to their deaths (as of 10/07/2020).

There were many accusations thrown at China, most of which were conspiracies like the Coronavirus being released and created on purpose, and some were serious accusations like the “late transmission of data about the virus to other countries”.

With all of this, Australia, backed by its neighbour New Zealand, was the first to demand a probe into the matter.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief also called for an “independent and scientific” probe.

Meanwhile, the US insisted on investigating on its own.

But this is not all, China’s relationship with Taiwan and India and its disregard for territorial sovereignty has already made people question its authority in the United Nation’s Security Council.

According to India Today, “most of those calling for China’s removal from the UNSC are Indians, clearly a result of the Chinese aggression at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh.”

When non-WHO member Taiwan, reached out for support from other countries for gaining membership in the World Health Organization, the countries who pledged support to Taiwan were shunned and threatened by China since it considers Taiwan to be one of its provinces.

People all across the globe are calling China out for its human rights violations. In August 2018, a human rights committee was provided with credible reports of China turning ” the Uighur autonomous region into something that resembles a massive internment camp”

 In 2018, Human Rights Watch revealed details about the Chinese government’s mass arbitrary detention, forced political indoctrination, torture, and mass surveillance of Uighur Muslims. 

According to HRW, people were being detained for reasons like: “His wife wore veils.” “He has one more child than allowed by the family planning policy.” “He prayed after each meal.”

More than a million people are detained and are forced to eat pork, drink, and pledge alliance to Xi JinPing.

The Human Rights Watch also slammed China for its treatment of Africans and discrimination against them in its Guangzhou Province.

Economically, the United States, Japan, and India have started to distance themselves from China.

The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has asked American firms to leave China.

Meanwhile, India has banned 59 of China’s apps and has tightened its foreign investment rules.

The US has also extended its ban on Huawei for another year and is asking allies to keep a check on Chinese Tech Giants.

Japan has set up a 2.2 billion dollar fund to help pull away from its companies from China.

 In its expansionist mind-set, China does not keep its relations with its neighbours ideal either.

Protests in Hong Kong have been going on for about a year against plans to allow extradition to mainland China.

Because of its increased naval and military presence in the South China Sea during the pandemic, and the territorial disputes over the Spratly Islands and Parcel Islands in the middle of the South China Sea, China does not have strong relations with its neighbours Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam, and Brunei either.

China’s border disputes with Bhutan which was initially confined to Central and Western sectors is now expanding to the Eastern sector as well.

China is now claiming the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary which adjoins the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, as its territory. Since Bhutan is a close ally of India it does not have diplomatic ties with China. Many now claim that the move to claim Bhutan’s Eastern Sector was a bid to put pressure on India.

Even though the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in India has said, that the boundary between Bhutan and China is under negotiation and has not been demarcated, this power-flex comes off as a shock to India, which fears another dispute with China in the case of Arunachal Pradesh, after the LAC face-off in Ladakh which happened not even a month ago. According to Hindustan Times, India was backed by several countries including the US, UK, France, Australia, and Japan, in its border stand-off with China.

China’s unpopularity is not limited to countries and their governments anymore.

In April 2020, an internal report circulated by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, a government-affiliated think tank associated with China’s top intelligence agency, concluded that “global anti-China sentiment is at its highest since the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.”

With the world standing against China, it’s not hard to see whether its authoritarian regime will fall or not.

The question is, how soon?

                                                                – Aanandita Singh