The Hindu Important Articles 31 March 2018

In Haryana, the making of an Indian brain template

The archetype will be constructed from the scans of 150 Indians


New map: Dr. Pravat Mandal, centre, during a MRI scan at the National Brain Research Centre. Shanker ChakravartyThe Hindu

At the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC) here, a group of scientists is preparing a one-of-its-kind database of brain images that, when compiled together, could result in a so-called Indian Brain Template (IBT).
This archetype, to be constructed from a composite of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans from 150 adult Indians, will likely include at least one person from every State and Union Territory, and serve as a guide to neuroscientists and surgeons, who have so far based their knowledge of intricate brain anatomy on Caucasian models.
Significant variations
Over the years, scientists from across the world have been pointing out that there are significant variations in the location of key brain regions and the density of neurons in various brain areas between racial types.
Drawing from this, several countries, including China, South Korea and Canada, have brain templates of their population and it is time, say researchers, that India had one of its own, too.
“There are variations in the size, volume and location of certain brain regions in Indian populations compared to, say, the Canadians,” said Pravat Mandal, a neuroscientist and project leader at the National Brain Research Centre here.
A tough job
Of the 150 healthy participants that they hope to recruit over the year, “about 40%,” according to Dr. Mandal’s estimates, are expected to be scanned at the NBRC in the next two months.
“It’s a tough job recruiting and cajoling participants to spend 10 minutes inside an MRI scanner, which is about the time required for a detailed scan,” he added.
By way of comparison, China’s template rests on a bank of about 1,000 volunteers and the Canadian template (called the Montreal Neurological Institute template and a key reference point in the field) is built on about 300 healthy volunteers.
The IBT is funded by the Department of Science and Technology. While other research groups in India have attempted similar databases, none have aspired to the geographical and chronological spread of participants envisaged by Professor Mandal’s initiative.
Naren Rao, a neuropsychiatrist at the Bengaluru-based National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), and his colleagues had embarked on building an IBT. They, however, had only 27 recruits, all from Aurangabad and this was, said Dr. Rao, “due to logistical challenges.”

In that study of 17 men and 10 women — all certified as mentally fit by a neuropsychiatrist — it emerged that Indian brains “significantly differed” in length and width, but not in their height, from Caucasian brains, according to a 2016 report in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a peer-reviewed journal. “They were smaller but that doesn’t mean Indians have lesser intelligence,” Dr. Rao clarified to The Hindu in a phone conversation.

Robbers loot passengers of Ambala-bound train in Delhi

the hindu important article 31 march

The robbers got off at the Tilak Bridge station. file photo

Four armed men looted passengers on board an Ambala-bound train soon after it departed from the Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station here early on Friday morning. At least 10 passengers were robbed.
The incident took place around 4 a.m. when the Nizamuddin-Ambala passenger train neared the Tilak Bridge station. The whole episode lasted less than 10 minutes
Eighteen-year-old B.Tech student Sameer Tripathi, who was sitting with his mother Haridulari and sister, recalled that they were barely five minutes into the journey when four persons, one of whom was carrying a knife, entered the coach and asked them to part with their valuables.
“One of them flashed a knife and asked my mother to hand over her purse and my sister her earrings. They were not wearing any masks, but one of them had a turban,” said Sameer.
He alleged that a middle aged man and a youth sitting next to them were also robbed.
“A young man stood up for us and slapped one of them. In revenge, they dragged him to the door and threw him out as the train stopped briefly at Tilak Bridge before reaching the New Delhi railway station,” he said, adding that the robbers decamped with wallets, jewellery and mobile phones.
Sameer claimed that once the robbers left five persons from another coach came and told them they too had been robbed at knifepoint, and also that one of them had been attacked with a rod.
Northern Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Nitin Chaudhary said: “From the New Delhi railway station, all the victim were taken to the Hazrat Nizamuddin police station to record their statements. One person sustained minor injuries, the rest are physically fine” he said.
Sameer alleged that at the police station the victims were dissuaded from filing a complaint.
“We were told that registering an FIR would mean long hours in court and numerous visits to the police station. Many then decided against filing a case,” he said.
However, Ms. Haridulari, who lost valuables and cash worth ₹40,000, insisted on an FIR. Though her complaint was received, the officers allegedly did not take down her version. “In fact, they wrote the complaint themselves and gave us a copy,” she said.
Based on the complaint, a case of theft was registered by the police.

‘One year has passed, but U.P. government has done nothing’

State Minister says despite a change of guard, it is the same machine that worked during SP and BSP rule that is operating


ThoughOm Prakash Rajbhar, Uttar Pradesh Minister and president of the Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party, has just four MLAs under his fold, the OBC leader is an important part of the BJP’s outreach among the most backward castes in eastern U.P. A year after he aligned with the BJP, which stormed to power with over 300 seats, he is today, however, disgruntled with the way the BJP is treating him. Excerpts from an interview in Lucknow:

The Yogi Adityanath government has completed one year and you are constantly complaining that not much has been done for the poor, backwards and Dalits.
The work is only on paper. The officials have completed all work on paper and submitted it to the government, but there is nothing on the ground. For example, the Chief Minister recently said that 11.5 lakh new houses have been built [for the poor]. Such high number of houses can be approved, yes, but how many can be built in just four or five months? The first instalment itself takes six months and during the monsoon, sand and morang are unavailable for construction.
Where is the lapse? The government or the officials?
The officials are solely responsible. They don’t listen to the government. Despite a change in government, it is the same machine that worked during SP and BSP rule that’s operating. The engine and coaches [of the train] are the same, only the driver and guard have changed.
Soon after you met BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi, you decided to restore support to the BJP. What assurances did he give you?
I informed Amit Shah that there is anger against the government on the ground. Those entitled to ration cards, toilets, homes and pension are being deprived of it, whereas those ineligible are enjoying all the benefits. During the elections, I campaigned for the sub-categorisation of OBC reservation into three groups: the Pichda (backward), those dominant castes who have got a share more than their population; the Ati Pichda (very backward), who have got a share but not according to their population, and the Sarvadik Pichda (most backward), those who have not got any benefits. One year has passed but the government has done nothing. Mr. Shah told me that there are elections coming up in Karnataka and the OBC sub-categorisation would be implemented a month after that. He also told me that not just at the national level, it would be implemented in the State as well. Meanwhile, I have demanded that till that happens, no new recruitment must take place in the State.
So your main demand is sub-categorisation of the OBC quota?
The V.P. Singh government granted 27% reservation to OBC castes in 1990. But the dominant castes which are literate and cunning, are eating up the major chunk, leaving only tiny crumbs for the weak. Just like the big fish leaves nothing for the small fish. Babasaheb achieved reservation for Dalits in 1932 but even today you won’t find a single constable from the Banspbor, Nat, Musahar, Hela and other such castes in the State capital. The same is for smaller OBC castes such as Bind, Prajapati, Kumhar, Mallah, Chauhan, Pal, Rajbhar, Julha and Dhuniya which have reservation but are not getting its actual benefits.
So is everything all right with you and the BJP now?
Amit Shah has promised to come here on April 10. He will hold a meeting with the CM and people of his organisation to discuss the ground reality. But let me tell you, for a year, the BJP and its government did not give my party the status of a political party. Be it in government functions or meetings, they did not once place a single chair for my party. After I returned from Delhi, for the first time, in the Legislative Assembly party meeting, a chair was put for me next to the CM. Why so? Had I not gone to Delhi, this would not have been possible. And the CM for the first time also had to issue a statement in the Assembly saying that he will divide the OBC reservation. In the presidential election, we also voted but they never thanked my party.
But this time [after the RS voting], they remembered us. Only because I went to Delhi.
What do you think of the SP and BSP alliance? It is being touted as an alliance of Dalits and OBCs.
I believe in the ideals of both Dr. Ambedkar and Lohia. The alliance is absolutely sound.
My movement, our ideology won’t get affected by the BJP or depend on it. It is because of Ambedkar and Lohia that I am here today. I am a product of Kanshiramji. He created lakhs of leaders in every caste, be it backward, forward, Dalit or minority; 70-80% of MLAs roaming in the U.P. Assembly are products of Kanshiram.
If by coming together the SP and BSP fulfil Dr. Ambedkar’s and Kanshiramji’s ideals, then it is a good thing.
Even if BJP, your alliance partner, loses due to it? That means your loss, too.
Yes, I have no problem. I am not indentured to ensure the BJP’s victory (laughs).
If your demands are not met, what will be the future of the alliance? Will you break up before 2019?
How will they not fulfill it? They will have to. There is no question of me breaking the alliance. I have got votes for the BJP.
Source:- The Hindu

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