Author: SITE EDITOR

Private Hospitals Running Losses, Despite ‘High’ Prices

Max Healthcare tweeted a rate card in June indicating the minimum cost of various COVID-19 treatments at one of its Delhi hospitals. The cost for ICU with ventilator was set at Rs 72,500. Eight days later, the Delhi government said that private hospitals in the national capital could not charge more than Rs 18,000 for ICU with ventilator–Rs 54,500 less than Max Hospital’s rate card price. Meanwhile, COVID-19 treatment in a government hospital is largely free.

During the ongoing pandemic, this stark difference has rekindled the debate over the cost of private and government healthcare: How is it that private hospitals, despite their exorbitant bills, claim that they are charging patients their best, most reasonable price while government hospitals charge little to nothing? How do government hospitals absorb this heavy cost?

IndiaSpend has investigated various aspects of the distortion in healthcare costs during the pandemic in its series ‘The Price of COVID.’ In our seventh report in the series, we speak to business leaders from the private healthcare sector, people who run advocacy agencies for private hospitals, and public health advocates to understand the reasons for the high costs of private healthcare in India during this pandemic.

Decoding balance sheets

Indian companies have started filing financial results for the first quarter (April to June) of the financial year 2020-21, the “COVID quarter”. During this period, all businesses were impacted by the countrywide lockdown that started in March and began to gradually lift from June 1 onwards.

IndiaSpend studied the balance sheets of India’s leading listed private hospitals, like Narayana Hrudalaya and Fortis Healthcare, to understand the impact of COVID-19 on their revenue and net profit. The filings show that many listed private hospitals have taken a hit during the COVID-19 quarter compared to the corresponding quarter in 2019-20.

For example, the total income from operations of Fortis Healthcare fell by Rs 532.4 crore or 46.8% (from Rs 1,138.3 crore in April-June 2019 to Rs 606 crore in April-June 2020). Consequently, they reported Rs 178.9 crore net loss in the COVID quarter, compared to Rs 67.8 crore net profit in April-June 2019.

Narayana Hrudayalaya, which is smaller than Fortis Healthcare by revenue, also saw a dip in its total income from operations, of Rs 383.9 crore (from Rs 777.4 crore to Rs 393.5 crore). Consequently, they reported a net loss of Rs 119.7 crore for the COVID quarter compared to Rs 30.3 crore net profit in the same quarter of the previous year.

The trend persists for smaller and mid-sized listed hospitals such as Kovai Medical and Artemis Medical Services. Kovai Medical saw its total income from operations fall from Rs 165.4 crore to Rs 129 crore, while Artemis Medical Services posted a Rs 73 crore drop in revenue year-on-year from Rs 135.7 crore to Rs 62.7 crore.

Meanwhile, Breach Candy Hospital, a private hospital in South Mumbai with over 200 beds, said in July that the hospital might have to shut down if the Maharashtra government regulated what they charged patients beyond August 31.

A corporate explanation

The private healthcare sector in India is not homogenous. Besides large corporate hospitals in big cities, private healthcare also includes thousands of clinics, nursing homes and single-building operations across the country.

In IndiaSpend’s interviews with people from the corporate healthcare sector, a few common complaints came up which, these representatives said, explains why they need to charge higher prices: The COVID-19 lockdown meant that people postponed their elective surgeries; it also dried up the usually steady inflow of people with chronic illnesses that need regular in-facility interventions such as dialysis, chemotherapy, blood transfusions, etc. Due to the shutdown of international flights, foreign patients also stopped visiting India for surgeries.

The additional need to sanitise the premises and give protective gear to healthcare staff added a new element to their costs. The staff had to be regularly quarantined, making the workforce sparse, and some hospitals had to give monetary bonuses to staff to encourage them to come to work despite the risk. Finally, the government’s decision to clamp down on prices and force hospitals to reserve beds for COVID-19 also hurt their bottomline.

Max Healthcare was staring at a tough financial situation due to two months of India’s lockdown, Max Healthcare chairperson Abhay Soi told IndiaSpend in July. “How can we be accused of profiteering on the one hand but also show losses on the other? These losses will show up in the audited financial statements of all hospitals soon.”

A common explanation by hospital executives is that they do not get any financial help and must generate their own revenues and profits. “Please understand, public hospitals get crores of rupees in budgetary funding through tax money. If we had got that kind of money to cover our costs, we could also charge less,” said a senior executive of a corporate hospital, on condition of anonymity. “The public is upset with private hospital bills because they pay for it at the point-of-care itself, whereas, they do not feel that pinch in the public sector because we all pay tax money, directly or indirectly, over time.”

India’s central government budget estimate for the health ministry is Rs 67,111 crore (including for research). This is apart from state government budgets for healthcare. Many state governments also have schemes, such as health insurance schemes, which also reimburse the private sector for treatment of those who cannot afford it.

Costs have also seemed high in the private sector because the understanding of COVID-19, treatment protocols and the government’s clinical guidelines have evolved slowly, said Dilip Jose, CEO of Manipal Hospitals. When the government finally came up with price regulation, it was “variable, lacking in a sensible algorithm and without uniformity on what should be included and excluded in pricing”, “The cost of providing healthcare is different in private and public sectors and thus pricing is different,” said Jose, echoing Soi’s argument.

Fortis Healthcare’s revenues from COVID-19 treatment accounted for 8% of its revenues so far, the group’s officials said in a media briefing in August. Its bed occupancy rate in pre-COVID times was 65-70% but had slumped to 51% in July.

In Narayana Hrudayalaya’s 2019-20 annual report to investors, chairperson Devi Shetty made the same arguments as his colleagues in other corporate hospitals. “Your company has undertaken multiple rounds of operational consolidation and cost-cutting measures across every department to ensure that business remains viable,” he said. All this was necessary because patients have delayed elective surgeries or do not have cash in hand to pay for it, he added.

However, things are already looking up for hospitals such as Fortis and Max. Fortis officials, in August, confirmed that there was an uptick in their patient load and revenues. Max Healthcare’s “liquidity and balance sheet has not been impacted due to COVID-19” in August, Soi told CNBC-TV18, adding that while pre-COVID occupancy levels were at 70-75%, they had fallen to 65% during the pandemic. “The worst seems to be behind us,” he said.

The prognosis

“The corporate hospitals’ lament with their balance sheets does not impress me. If the sector is so unviable for them, they should shut shop,” said Yogesh Jain, a doctor and founder member of Jan Swasthya Sahyog, a non-profit hospital in rural Chhattisgarh. “Clearly, something makes it viable for them. Their prices are high because they have been looking for business in this COVID crisis.”

“They charge everything from an individual patient. We have seen that in how they billed each patient separately for PPEs during the pandemic. This is how they inflate costs, recovering everything from every patient, many times over,” said Jain, questioning the billing practices of private hospitals. Jain also questioned private hospitals’ complaints about quarantining their staff when even public hospitals have had to do the same with their staff.

There’s no question that private hospitals big and small have taken a financial hit during the early months of the pandemic, said a healthcare analyst at a multi-national advisory firm in India. “We only have the data from the financial filings of corporate hospitals so we know how they have been affected. But thousands of smaller hospitals in big cities and small cities have taken a hit and may not recover. We don’t know the extent of this hit because these are not listed companies,” he said, requesting not to be named.

He expects big corporate hospitals to tide over this and recover by the end of this year, but believes the pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of smaller private hospitals and public hospitals, too.

Support for affordable public health, in fact, comes from a surprising quarter–the private sector itself. “I am sorry to say that privatising healthcare is not the solution for a country like India. No matter how much a private hospital reduces the treatment charges, they simply cannot treat a patient with no money in his pocket,” said Shetty in his note to investors in the 2019-20 annual report.

During Your Stay, Live The Royal Life In Hyderabad

It’s hard to imagine how it must feel to be king of all you survey. To look out from the palace walls as the sun dips behind the silhouetted hills, and know that everything you see from horizon to horizon is yours to rule.

Short of a marrying a monarch, daydreams are probably the closest most people will get to the extravagant existence enjoyed by the rulers of India’s princely states, but behind the whitewashed walls of Hyderabad’s Falaknuma Palace, you can get just a taste of this life of lavish.

The grand frontage of the Falaknuma Palace at night
The grand frontage of the Falaknuma Palace © Thierry Falise / LightRocket /Getty Images

Run as one of India’s most nostalgic heritage hotels, the Taj Falaknuma Palace serves up a perfect introduction to Hyderabad, city of palaces, perfumes and pearls. From this hilltop vantage point, the 7th Nizam of Hyderabad – once the richest man in the world – looked out over the rolling hills of India’s wealthiest princely state, worth more in its heyday than many European nations.

In fact, living the royal life in Hyderabad is easier than you might imagine, thanks to the thriving traditions that persist from the Nizam’s time. Even if you can’t afford to stay in the Falaknuma, you can swing by for high tea or haggle for pearls and ittars (Islamic perfumes) in the same bazaars as generations of Hyderabad royals.

Market stalls surrounding the Charminar in Hyderabad's old city
Market stalls surrounding the Charminar in Hyderabad’s old city © Exotica.im / UIG / Getty Images

Sleeping with royalty

My own brush with royalty began with an almost absurdly ostentatious arrival at the Falaknuma, rolling through gardens teeming with peacocks in an open, horse-drawn carriage, before climbing the palace’s marble steps beneath a shower of crimson rose petals. It was a wonderfully theatrical introduction to the former palace of the enigmatic (and succinctly named) His Exalted Highness Nawab Sir Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi, Bayafandi Asaf Jah the VIIth, last Nizam of the princely state of Hyderabad Deccan.

Laid out in the shape of a scorpion, with two wings embracing the Palladian central hall like protective claws, the Falaknuma is an elegant sprawl of staterooms, courtyards and formal gardens, and a splendid clash of East-meets-West ideas. While the Islamic star and crescent rises proudly from the rooftop, the stained glass windows depict Beefeaters, kings and cavaliers. For every Indo-Saracenic turret and Mughal arch, there’s a nude-crowned marble fountain or a neoclassical colonnade.

Classical murals in the entrance hall at the Falaknuma
Classical murals fill the entrance hall at the Falaknuma © Leisa Tyler / LightRocket / Getty Images

This Europe-by-way-of-Asia interior design was actually the vision of Sir Viqar-ul-Umra, prime minister of Hyderabad Deccan and head of the noble Paigah family, who raised the palace and then gifted the entire complex, gardens and all, to the 6th Nizam, Mahbub Ali Khan, who passed it to his son as a venue for lavish state functions. However, by the middle of the 20th century, the palace was neglected and fading, used as a store for the Nizam’s mountain of heirlooms.

Over a formal dinner in the palace grounds, I spoke to the prime minister’s great-grandson, Faiz Khan, about the palace’s decline. ‘As a child I could hardly move in the Falaknuma,’ he said wistfully. ‘I remember a whole room full entirely of clocks. All the display cases were packed – there were things everywhere.

A portrait of the sixth Nizam lords over the Falaknuma's marble stairway
A portrait of the sixth Nizam lords over the Falaknuma’s marble stairway © Leisa Tyler / LightRocket / Getty Images

Now painstakingly restored, the Falaknuma today is far from a musty museum-piece. Guests are free to wander the staterooms, decked out with royal portraits and heirlooms as they were in the Nizam’s time. During my stay, I spent one thoroughly relaxing evening sipping single malts and playing pool on the Nizam’s billiard table, a twin to the table in London’s Buckingham Palace. Sadly, the Nizam’s legendary dinner table, set with bone china for 100 dignitaries, is no longer used; guests dine instead on the terrace leading off the trinket-stuffed Jade Room.

If you can’t stretch to an overnight stay at the Falaknuma, come for high tea or a dinner tour and watch dusk settle over the rooftops of Hyderabad from the terrace, while the Islamic call to prayer rises in a multi-throated chorus from a legion of mosques and dargahs (tombs) tucked into the winding lanes.

Elaborate stucco-work adorning the Chowmahalla Palace
Elaborate stucco-work adorning the Chowmahalla Palace © Morgan Davis / CC by 2.0

A profusion of palaces

For all its heirlooms, the Falaknuma displays just a tiny fraction of the Nizam’s vast wealth. After losing his kingdom at Independence, the 7th Nizam retreated heart-broken to Istanbul and many of his treasures were spirited away by courtiers, but significant parts of the collection were saved by his daughter-in-law, Princess Esra, and displayed in the lovingly restored Chowmahalla Palace, where the Asaf Jahi dynasty entertained official guests and visiting royalty.

‘When I came back to Hyderabad after a gap of 20 years I found a very sorry state of affairs,’ she explained. ‘The Nizam’s properties were very badly kept – it was as if history were wiping them away. I felt I had to do something to bring them back to life to help people in Hyderabad remember their past, and keep their history and heritage alive.’

An illuminated copy of the Quran at the Chowmahalla
An illuminated copy of the Quran at the Chowmahalla © Joe Bindloss / Lonely Planet

While the Falaknuma – also restored by Princess Esra – is unmistakably a home, the Chowmahalla was the public face of the royal family. Here, everything was about appearances, and creating the grandest impression possible for visiting dignitaries, relatives and rivals. Wandering through the interlinked courtyards, flanked by wedding-cake pavilions and rainbow-casting fountains, I felt the same sense of royal theatre as at Peterhof near St Petersburg, or Beijing’s Forbidden City, or Versailles.

Belgian chandeliers hanging in the Chowmahalla's Darbar Hall
Belgian chandeliers fill the Chowmahalla’s Darbar Hall © Joe Bindloss / Lonely Planet

In one pavilion I found a library of elegant illuminated copies of the Quran, the script picked out in delicate traces of indigo, vermillion and gold. In another, the sumptuous wedding outfits of the royal family, weighed down by kilos of gold and silver thread. But these were minor treasures compared to the Darbar Hall, where the Nizams held court from a marble throne beneath a canopy of Belgian crystal chandeliers.

At the rear of the Chowmahalla compound, a garage displays just a tiny part of the Nizam’s personal collection of automobiles. It is said that the sixth and seventh Nizams owned a third of all the cars imported into Hyderabad in the first half of the 20th century. Predictably, the Nizams’ tastes ran to luxury limousines, but the story that the Nizam used a fleet of Rolls-Royces to collect rubbish from the streets of Hyderabad is sadly an urban myth.

Ornate marble archways at the Paigah Tombs
Sublime architectural lines at the Paigah Tombs © Arvind Balaraman / Shutterstock

Luxury in the afterlife

While the Nizams lived lavishly in life, they reverted to Islamic principles of humility in death, residing through the centuries in simple, marble tombs inside the Mecca Masjid, within sight of the Charminar, the mosque-come-triumphal arch that marks the centre of Hyderabad’s ancient Islamic quarter. Some of their courtiers, however, were less restrained, building lavish tombs to rival the great mausoleums of the Mughal emperors.

Reputedly descended from the second Caliph of Islam, the Paigahs erected their own family necropolis southeast of the Charminar. Unlike the towering domes favoured by the Mughals, the Paigahs preferred delicate pavilions of carved lime mortar and sculpted marble, ringed by arcades of Islamic arches and intricate perforated marble screens.

Today, the mausoleums are quietly forgotten, and I wandered the tombs in peaceful silence, with only the occasional flash of a colourful sari behind a marble screen to show that I was sharing the necropolis with another living soul.

A pearl vendor sorts through strands of Hyderbadi pearls
Pearls for sale by the strand on Patthargatti in Hyderabad © Joe Bindloss / Lonely Planet

The price of pearls

The wealth of Hyderabad was built on solid foundations. The kingdom controlled India’s only diamond mines – source of the Koh-i-Noor and Hope diamonds, amongst other splendid gems – and the city was India’s busiest marketplace for pearls, imported from as far away as Sri Lanka, Basra (in Iraq) and China.

Pearl traders still crowd Patthargatti, the medieval bazaar running north from the Charminar. Stepping into a brightly-lit showroom, I was immediately seized by a vendor and draped with string after string of pearls in every imaginable size, shape and colour, in a scene pulled straight from Sinbad the Sailor.

Presented en masse, the gleaming mounds of pearls can inspire a buying frenzy, but shop judiciously. The best pearls should have an even tone and lustre; look for strands where every pearl is the same shape and size. You’ll pay more for large sizes and perfect spheres, and naturally formed spherical pearls, as compared to cultured pearls grown around a man-made seed, command a stratospheric price tag.

Ittar-wallahs mix fragrances in the old city of Hyderabad
Ittar-wallahs mixing scents in the old city © Joe Bindloss / Lonely Planet

Princely perfumes

Another luxury favoured by the Nizams was ittars – heady fragrances made from essential oils, prepared with an alcohol-free base to satisfy Islamic sensibilities. It is said that the wife of the Nizam had a separate tap just for perfume in her bathtub at the Falaknuma. During the 19th century, dozens of ittar-wallahs from Gujarat set up shop in the bazaars surrounding the Charminar to service the royal household, and the scent of rose and jasmine still hangs heavy in the air today.

In search of a bespoke fragrance to conjure up the mystique of Islamic India, I joined the crowds of burqa-clad women haggling for essentials in the Charminar bazaars, following my nose to a street-side stall, where a perfumer perched cross-legged behind a row of cut-glass ittardan (scent bottles).

Ittars and essential oils in cut-glass decanters
Ittars and essential oils in cut-glass decanters © Exotica.im / UIG / Getty Images

Unlike Western perfumes, ittars are built on an oil base – only sandalwood oil was good enough for the Nizams, but cheaper alternatives are often used today – and the finest fragrances are wrist-ready straight from the distillation vessel. Perfumers also craft essential oils into mukhallat blends, a combination of scent-mixing and street theatre. In a handsomely decorated mixing bottle, drops of ittar are added slowly to build the fragrance, then, with a shake here, a waft there, a sample dab on the forearm, and a showman’s flourish, the customised perfume is ready to wear.

The dominant scents used in Indian ittars are rose, jasmine, saffron, sandalwood and musk (sourced from Indian musk seeds, as well as animal sources). Expect to pay premium prices for oud, an earthy fragrance created by a fungus that attacks the resinous heartwood of the lign-aloe tree.

An Hyderbadi thali (plate meal) on a silver platter
An elegantly presented Hyderbadi thali (plate meal) © Joe Bindloss / Lonely Planet

In praise of biryani

One thing that unites Hyderbadis of all backgrounds, from Nizams to street-sweepers, is their love of food. The collected dishes that we now know as Hyderabadi cuisine came into existence in Mughal times, blending cooking traditions from Central Asia with the spices and seasonings of the Indian south.ADVERTISEMENThttps://d3849c300a1ca04b4df51b2db1e3d7ec.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Many of the most popular dishes have religious origins – take haleem, a slow-cooked stew of wheat, lentils, mutton and spices, consumed enthusiastically by Muslims breaking the fast during the holy month of Ramadan. The Hyderabadi version is protected by Geographical Indication status, much like champagne in France, and haleem sales in the city during Ramadan are worth more than US$77 million annually.

Mughal-inspired mutton biryani in an earthenware bowl
Mughal-inspired mutton biryani, Hyderabad’s favourite staple © Manu_Bahuguna / Getty Images

Without doubt, the most popular local speciality is the Hyderabadi biryani, a dish reputedly conceived in the Nizam’s own kitchens. This fragrant mix of chicken or mutton, rice and spices comes in two iterations – kachchi (raw) biryani, made from uncooked spiced meat, layered with basmati rice and slowly steamed over coals in an earthenware pot sealed with a roll of pastry, and pakki (cooked) biryani, with the meat pre-cooked.

I had already sampled an upscale version at dinner at the Falaknuma, while a choir of qawwali singers performed uplifting Sufi devotional songs to the clicking beat of khartal castanets, but I wanted to get down to street level to seek out the down-home version enjoyed by ordinary Hyderabadis.

Following a tip from a taxi driver, I ducked back into the winding lanes of the old city to Hotel Shadab, at the north end of Patthargatti, joining crowds of enthusiastic Hyderabadi families beneath glaring strip-lights to sample what is said to be one of the finest biryanis in the city. Despite the down-to-earth setting, the biryani was superb. Tender, moist lamb, intoxicating spices, and subtle layers of flavour, served simply in double-quick time, but to my tastebuds, plainly fit for a Nizam.

Top 10 Ways To Get On The First Page Of Google

For those in the business of trying to drive organic traffic, Google is the all-powerful. It crawls the web, determining which pages are the most useful and relevant for its users for virtually any topic. We don’t just trust Google’s results, we rely on them.

With such immense power and influence, getting your small business on the first page of Google might seem unrealistic, However, it this very power Google holds that makes it more possible than ever for small and local businesses to rank high in search results—for free!

how to get on the first page of google for free

In this post I’m going to cover several tangible actions you can take to help your business rise to the top of the first page, using two free strategies: website optimization and listing optimization. I will first cover the importance of the first page of Google and then get into the tactics, which include:

  • Adding keywords to specific places on your website
  • Creating content for humans, not Google
  • Emphasizing location
  • Regularly updating and maintaining your Google listing
  • And many more

It’s abundantly clear that the first page of Google is a worthwhile (if not essential) goal for any business, but let’s first go over its specific benefits, as this can help you prioritize within your business’s strategy.

Why the first page of Google is important

Google’s search results are getting more robust— with Knowledge Panels, answer boxes, expandable related questions, local results, and more. With so many ways to stand out, working for top ranking is well worth the effort, especially considering that traffic and click-through rate fall off precipitously as one works their way down the search results. 

How to Get on The First Page of Google

Traffic and engagement falls off precipitously after the first few results.

Getting on the first page means significantly higher click-through rate

It’s a known fact that the first page of Google captures the majority of traffic, but did you know that there are significant differences in click-through rates for the top vs bottom results? One study shows the following click-through rates by Google position:

• First result: 36.4% clickthrough rate
• Second result: 12.5% clickthrough rate
• Third result: 9.5% clickthrough rate

How to Get on The First Page of Google

CTR continues to decline, down to 2.2% for the 10th result (there are usually 10 organic results max per page, even less now with local results, ads, answer boxes, and other new features. If you’re not at the top of Google search results, you are missing out on a lot of clicks.

Get immediate exposure

Top results for Google searches now also populate “Position Zero” answer boxes, otherwise known as featured snippets:

Google Featured Snippet

Earning a top spot on Google could lead to getting featured in a featured snippet, granting your business immediate exposure and increasing your credibility.

Top position traffic share

Another study found that the top result on Google captures 33% of search traffic. The closer to the top you can get your website to appear on Google, the better your search presence and brand authority.

How does first page ranking benefit your business?

It’s important to understand the different goals that getting a top ranking on Google can help your business to achieve.

1. Improve your visibility

Let’s say you have a brick and mortar location. If you had the choice between putting your business on the main road that goes through town or a quiet side street, which one would you choose? The main road, of course.

With 167 billion searches per month, getting on the first page of Google is like planting your business on the busiest road in town. The more people that see your website, the greater your brand awareness. The more familiar consumers are with your brand, the more receptive they will be to conversion activities.

2. Generate more leads

Now what if you had to choose between the main street of a diverse town or a town of ideal customers?  There are as many Google first pages as search queries out there. Your goal is to get on the first page for queries that your ideal customers are performing. By doing so, you get discovered by consumers that are searching online with the intent to buy or engage. These people are the most likely to convert into leads and customers for your business.

3. Increase engagement

According to Adweek, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying, and Google is the go-to for this. With answer boxes, the “People also ask” section, and local results showing contact information, maps, reviews, ratings, and descriptions, Google’s search engine results page alone enables consumers to learn about, compare, and engage with your business before even clicking on your result.

How to Get on The First Page of Google People Also Ask

A People Also Ask section.

4. Drive website traffic

Snippets and answer boxes can only provide so much information. While a search engine results page itself can sometimes supply all the information a person needs, there are still a number of queries for which people will inevitably click through to a website. Don’t forget that it often takes several engagements with a business before a person converts into a customer, so interactions with your website are important.

Not only does being on the first page of Google drastically increase traffic to your website; not being on the first page of Google has a huge disadvantage. In fact, the first page of Google captures at least 71% of web traffic (some sources say up to 92%), and the second page is far from a close second: It drops to 6% of website clicks. This steep decline in web traffic is an indicator of just how important the first page of Google is.

4. Increase your industry authority

Getting on the first page of Google requires regularly creating high-quality content that Google recognizes is satisfying the needs of its searchers. This takes time, but the increased traffic and trust that will result is well worth the investment.

In addition, writing regularly about your industry and business will require you to stay in tune with what your target audience wants to know as well as what the latest updates are in your industry. Appearing on the first page of Google is important because it facilitates the development and maintenance of a robust knowledge base upon which your business can firmly stand.

5. Earn trust

Google’s algorithm is designed to recognize spammy, suspicious, and low-quality content. If you’re consistently showing up on the first page of Google, it means that Google recognizes you as a trusted source of information, and consumers trust businesses that Google trusts.

How to Get on The First Page of Google

6. Build your audience

As mentioned above, getting on the first page of Google requires creating high-quality, evergreen content. This type of content is the gift that keeps on giving; it can be repurposed and redistributed across a variety of marketing channels including social media, email, and paid ads.

Your content-driven efforts to get on the first page of Google will provide you with more material and more opportunities to engage with your target audience, nurture leads, and stay top of mind.

How many different ways can you get on the first page of Google for free?

Getting on the first page of Google is not only a common goal among small business owners, but also a very feasible one. Google is not focused on quantity, but quality. As a result, a larger company or bigger budget does not equate to top rank. There are several factors behind Google’s algorithm and, thanks to the fact that Google’s results page has many different components, there are also different types of media that can achieve first-page status. They include:

• Blog posts and website pages (in organic results)
• Your Google My Business account (in the local/maps section)

How to Get on The First Page of Google

Optimizing your Google My Business listing ensures your business and its ratings show up for local queries.

• Snippets of your website content (in Google’s many search results page features including “People also ask” and the answer box.

• Your landing pages (This is via the paid ads section, which is not free, but still worth mentioning. For more help with using paid strategies to get on the first page of Google, head to this post on Google Ads tutorials.)

Now let’s get back to the two free mediums by which you can get to the first page.

How to use your website to get on the first page of Google

The practice of aligning your website with search engine ranking factors is called search engine optimization (SEO). You do not necessarily search engine-optimize your whole site at once, but rather each individual page on your site. Here’s how to do so:

1. Determine your keywords

First, determine which search queries you want Google to answer with your website pages. These are known as keywords—which, by the way, can be single words OR phrases.

Examples of keywords include:

• “MA tenant laws”
• “salon near me”
• “brunch Boston”
• “air conditioner repair Brighton”
• “how to plug a leaky roof”
• “how to get on the first page of Google”

Each page on your website should target a different set of keywords so that the pages aren’t competing with each other.

The right keywords for your business are those that your ideal customers are typing in to get the products and services they need. For help choosing keywords for your business, try our Free Keyword Tool

How to Get on The First Page of Google Free Keyword Tool

Use our Free Keyword Tool to find high-volume keywords for your niche. 

2. Tell Google what keywords you’re using

Google works by crawling the web, ranking the millions of pages that exist, and storing them in an index. When a user performs a search, Google can then scan through its more organized index (rather than the whole web) to quickly come up with relevant results.

Therefore, another important step for showing up on the first page of Google is to make it as easy as possible for Google to scan, index, and retrieve your site. Do this by placing keywords in the following places:

Meta title

Every blog post and page of your website has a meta title. This title appears at the top of your page in the form of a header but also as the title of that page’s listing in search results (depending upon your CMS settings).

Meta description

The meta description is the little blurb that shows up underneath the title in Google’s search results.

How to Get on The First Page of Google Meta Description

In addition to telling Google what your page is about, the meta description quickly tells a searcher what they can expect if they click on your page, increasing the relevant clicks to that page. Therefore the meta description helps Google to put your business on the right first page for the right searches and helps Google searchers to keep it there.

URL

Your URL consists of your domain name (such as wordstream.com), followed by a forward slash, followed by text separated by dashes. 

Including keywords in your URL will help Google more quickly identify what your page is about. Also, the URL appears in between the title and meta description in search results. A clean URL that matches the title of the page is more appealing and trustworthy to users, and better suited for first-page appearances.

Alt tags

Google can only see images if the image has a text alternative (aka alt tag). If your alt tag includes keywords, Google can detect further relevancy of that page and feel more comfortable putting you on its first page of search results.

3. Write for humans

Of course, the body of your page’s content is the most important place to include the keywords for which you’re trying to rank. However, it is crucial that these keywords are not systematically and excessively inserted but naturally incorporated. In fact, Google can now detect keyword stuffing and if it does it will place you far, far from the first page of its results.

The key to getting on the first page of Google is providing useful, trustworthy, easy-to-read, but informative content that will keep your target audience on your pages and coming back for more. And conversationally sharing the knowledge already in your head is both free and easy. Just remember that if you want to rank on the first page of Google for a particular keyword search, your page needs to provide the information, and not just the keywords, that users are trying to obtain when they type that search into Google.

4. Emphasize location

Another free way to get your website pages on the first page of Google is to target location-based queries. Make sure your website clearly indicates your city and/or geographic area, via your contact page and potentially also through blog posts and services pages. That way, when people search: “your industry” + ”your city”, Google will pick up that information and show your business as a “near me” search result. 

How to Get on The First Page of Google

Even if a user does not search using a specific location, Google will still serve up geographically relevant results based on their IP address, so local SEO is not only free, but always important (even during a pandemic).

5. Optimize for mobile

You will not find a website at the top of a Google search that is not responsive. Consumers now use phones and tablets more than computers and laptops, and the majority of local searches are performed on mobile devices. As a result, Google favors mobile-friendly websites.

Responsive is ideal, as your website will adapt to any size screen and maintain functionality. However, if you don’t have a responsive website, there are adjustments you can make to your site to ensure the most seamless experience for a mobile user.

6. Focus on user experience

Being mobile-friendly isn’t enough for a website. It must also be appealing and user-friendly. A website with intuitive navigation, clear calls to action, and answers to your visitors’ most immediate questions will keep visitors there longer and coming back later—which Google will notice and, in turn, rank you higher. The higher you rank, the more traffic you will get to your site, and the more likely you are to show up on the first page.

How to use your business listings to get on the first page of Google

In addition to your website pages, your online business directory listings can also show up on the first page of a Google search. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Create a Google My Business account

Google My Business is evolving into one of the most powerful (not to mention free) tools for local business owners. Both Google Maps and Search pull from Google My Business to produce local listings (known as Business Profiles). Creating a Google My Business account is a fast and easy way to add more information to your Business Profile, which helps it to to appear on the first page of Google Maps and Search (in the ocal results section)h. Make sure you follow through with claiming and verifying your listing so that you can monitor, maintain, and optimize your listing.

How to Get on The First Page of Google

2. Optimize your Google business listing (Business Profile)

Speaking of optimizing your listing, I consider this strategy a separate entity because while creating a Google listing can help you with your visibility, it can only take you so far in terms of ranking. Rather than creating a bare-bones listing and hoping that it shows up for one or two searches, optimize your Google business listing for maximum visibility. Here’s how:

Complete every section of your profile

The more information you include in your Google My Business listing, the more searches for which it can show up on the first page. In fact, complete Google My Business listings get, on average, 7X more clicks than incomplete listings.

Keep your name consistent

Use the same exact name for your business at all times. Google doesn’t like discrepancies—even those as minor as “Co.” vs “Company”

Update your information

Not being able to find your business, showing up to find it closed, or getting an operator when trying to call can not only deter a customer, but also lead them to distrust your business or write a negative review. Stay on top of your Google listing and make the necessary updates and changes so that it can be trusted enough to be at the top of the list.

Obtain Google reviews

Google searchers love to see what other people think about a business, so it’s no surprise that the businesses with more positive Google reviews show up on the first page. Ask customers in person and create a review shortcut link so you can easily encourage reviews across your online channels.

how to get on the first page of google get reviews local pack

Reviews can land you in the “Local Pack” which shows up at the top of Google’s SERP

Upload photos to your listing

Google My Business strives to equip consumers with as much information about a business as possible, before even encountering that business. This includes what it’s like to be at that business, so be sure to upload photos that depict not only the products and services your business offers but also the atmosphere and people that frequent it.

Try our Google My Business Grader

We have a free tool designed specifically for Google My Business listings. Simply log in with your Google business account and in less than 30 seconds, you’ll get an assessment of your profile and learn what you need to do to get closer to the first page. 

8. List your business on other directories

Google My Business is powerful, but you should still create and optimize listings on other popular directories like Yelp. First, because Yelp has high traffic and is widely trusted by Google, so your business’s Yelp page can very well show up on the first page of Google for relevant searches. Second, because a solid listing with positive reviews improves your online presence in general. Online review and links from other trusted sites send signals to Google that figure into its ranking algorithm.

As with your Google Business Profile, make sure the rest of your online directory listings are complete and accurate, consistent across platforms, updated, and that you are collecting and responding to reviews. Don’t forget to add photos to your online listings as well.

Getting on the first page of Google is a tangible goal

Getting to the top of Google, or even just improving your ranking, is very doable, even for small businesses. It takes work and time, but it is one of the most important things you can do for your business. By knowing where and how to make adjustments, you can get your business the visibility it deserves.

The Traveller’s Temple Of Tamilnadu

A melange of all things young and old, Tamil Nadu’s extensive platter meets every kind of traveller’s needs, often leaving you spoilt for choice.

Heritage, nature or wildlife. What’s your pick? Occupying the bottom stretch of the Coromandel Coast, Tamil Nadu sits comfortably in the lap of nature. Supremely rich in culture and heritage, it is home to the ancient Chola Dynasty, the state has a wealth of temple architecture. A social-distancing friendly destination, especially in the hill stations, the towering mountains and charming landscape offer countless reasons as to why this southern gem should be your next vacation destination post the pandemic. 

Pancha Rathas

Pancha Rathas

Step Back In tIme 
The rich history of Tamil Nadu has resulted in many notable sights across the state. Its diversity is best exemplified in the plethora of religious sites including a number of churches, mosques and even Buddhist monasteries. 

The Chola dynasty that ruled the region till the 13th century is credited with the most outstanding temples that showcase the grandeur of the bygone era. During their reign of nearly 1,500 years, the Chola temples became the hub of economic, political and cultural activities. Head to the Great Living Chola Temples, a Unesco World Heritage Site, to witness their architectural brilliance. The site includes three great temples— the Brihadeeswarar Temple at Thanjavur, the Airavatesvara Temple at Darasuram and the Gangaikonda Cholapuram Temple at Jayankondam. 

Vivekananda Rock Memorial and statue of poet Thiruvalluvar

Vivekananda Rock Memorial and statue of poet Thiruvalluvar

The Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram, another Unesco World Heritage Site, is a collection of monolithic monuments built by the Pallava kings in the 7th and 8th centuries. The rock sculptures are inspired by tales from Mahabharata and are a sight to behold. Some of the prominent ones are Arjuna’s Penance, Pancha Rathas, Varaha Mandapam, Mahisha suramarthini Mandapa etc., Located in the heart of Madurai, the Meenakshi Temple, built in 6th century BC, is one of the most iconic attractions down south. Madurai situated on the banks of River Vaigai, has a rich cultural heritage passed on from the great Tamil Sangam era which is more than 2500 years old. It was the capital city of Pandya Kings. Meenakshi Temple is dedicated to Parvathi or Meenakshi – the consort of Lord Shiva. It is a splendid example of Dravidian Architecture. The temple has doors in all four directions for devotees to enter. However, it’s the Koodal Azhagar Temple here that is believed to be older than the Meenakshi Temple. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, one can spot the three varied statues in different postures—standing, sitting and reclining. 

Airavatesvara temple in Darasuram

Airavatesvara temple in Darasuram

Along the Coast
With the Indian Ocean in the south and the Bay of Bengal in the east, this Tamil Nadu is the perfect destination for a beach holiday. Each beach has its own charm with resorts and tiny cafés serving delicacies as you gaze into that picture-perfect sunset. 

Apart from the monolithic structures, the sandy beach of Mahabalipuram also attracts hordes of tourists from all over the world. If you love swimming and windsurfing then this is the ideal spot for you. The Mahabalipuram Dance Festival held during winters every year is another reason to hit this beach town. 

The southernmost tip of the Indian mainland, Kanyakumari is located at the confluence of the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. Its tranquil aura is contrasted by the roaring tides of the sea, making it the perfect getaway for those who prefer the solitude of a less-touristy beach. The sight of the waves striking the rocks makes for an alluring visual. While in Kanyakumari, you can pay your respects to goddess Kanya Kumari at the 3,000-year-old Kumari Amman Temple, visit the Padmanabhapuram Palace and the century-old lighthouse. A memorial dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, 500 meters from main land, accessible by a ferry service and gigantic 40 meters high statue of Tiruvalluvar, a great poet – saint are major attractions. 

Chettinad Mansion in Kanadukathan

Chettinad Mansion in Kanadukathan

If you’re looking to get away from the bustle of city life, then you surely need a holiday to the ‘lost town’ of Dhanushkodi at the southernmost end of Rameshwaram. Surrounded by the Bay of Bengal on one side and Indian Ocean on the other, Dhanushkodi Beach offers a chance to encounter the thrills of sea surfing. With every beach extraordinary in its own sense, it is a sweet addition to your Tamil Nadu vacation. 

ENCOUNTER NATURE’S BOUNTY
There’s no doubt that Tamil Nadu is a nature lover’s paradise. With its quaint hill stations, including the likes of Ooty, Kodaikanal, Coonoor, Yelagiri and many more situated in the Western Ghats, it offers ample scope for eco-tourism. 

The tranquil hill station of Valparai in Coimbatore

The tranquil hill station of Valparai in Coimbatore

Known as the ‘Queen of Hills’, Ooty or Udhagamandalam is one of the most popular hill stations in the region. Situated in the Nilgiri Mountains, this little town served as a getaway for the British in the pre-independent era. A boat ride at Ooty Lake can be very refreshing. If a heritage ride is on your mind, then the Nilgiri Mountain Railway is just the one for you. Declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2005, it was first built by the British in 1908. The train runs from Mettupalayam to Udagamandalam, via Coonoor. As the train chugs over bridges, be prepared to be awed by the vistas of mountains, valleys and tea plantations along the way. 

The journey to upper Bhavani Lake located within the deep jungles is worthwhile and if you are lucky you might even spot wild cats and peacocks. You can spend the night at the forest boat house near Pykara Lake. The highest point in the Nilgiri Mountains, the Doddabetta Peak in Ooty is a real treat to the eyes, offering a breathtaking view of the city’s skyline. 

The ancient Brihadeeswarar Temple

The ancient Brihadeeswarar Temple

Kodaikanal, nestled in the Palani Hills is perfect for those looking for something a bit more offbeat and away from the typical touristy crowd. Be it a boat ride along the star-shaped Kodaikanal Lake or capturing the ethereal beauty from the Pillar Rocks, where three vertical granite boulders play hide and seek with mists, this resort town creates the ideal setting for you to connect with nature. Apart from its manicured cliffs and rolling slopes, the charming hill station is known for its mesmeric cascading waterfalls. The Bear Shola Falls and Vattakanal Falls are both sights to behold especially during the monsoons. 

Into the Wild
With as many as 15 wildlife and bird sanctuaries, five national parks and four tiger reserves, the sheer number of flora and fauna is incentive enough for travellers to visit the state. 

Located at the foothills of the Nilgiris, Mudumalai National Park is a must-visit on a first timer’s itinerary. Established in 1940, it is an integral part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Home to many endangered species like the royal Bengal tiger and the Asiatic wild dog, reports suggest that nearly 13 per cent of the mammal species in India can be found in Mudumalai. Bird watchers are in for a ride as one can spot the crested serpent eagle and the tiny-eared owl. 

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway

The Nilgiri Mountain Railway

Catch a glimpse of the wild cats at the Anamalai Tiger Reserve. Situated in the Anamalai Hills of Coimbatore, the reserve is home to not only tigers but many other species such as spotted deer and panthers. A biodiversity hotspot in its truest sense, you can find more than 250 species of birds here. 

Offering a real insight into urban wilderness, the Guindy National Park in Chennai serves as the humble abode of a large number of migratory birds, reptiles, blackbucks, jackals, pangolins and Indian civets among many others. For the adventure lovers, Mukurthi National Park in the Nilgiri Hills has some of the most beautiful trekking routes up its sleeve.

‘Immunity’ Products Are Fastly Off The Stores, Are They Really Works?

The unpredictability of COVID-19 and the desperation for a vaccine are boons for pharma companies, natural-food manufacturers and plant-based nutrition products whose consumers are in panic.

Since the virus was affecting weakened immune systems more, the obvious answer must have been, why not make a drug that contains Ayurvedic ingredients such as ashwagandha, giloy, tulsi and rudanti, and throw in a few minerals? The result was Coronil.

Ramdev called it a breakthrough and claimed that successful clinical trials were conducted on 15-65-year-olds affected by the virus who were cured by the medicine. Soon Patanjali walked a few steps back, saying that it had never claimed that Coronil was a cure against Covid-19 but it was an effective immunity booster against the virus.

The ‘Coronil Kit’ now comes with the tag line, ‘Covid-19 Immunity Booster Kit.’ The Madras High Court recently rapped the company’s knuckles for “exploiting the fear and panic among the general public by projecting a cure for the coronavirus,” and fined it Rs 10 lakh. As for the kit itself, it has been a smash hit. Patanjali claimed that it was selling over 10 lakh kits per day, each priced at Rs 545.

Immunity is the holy grail of the Covid-19 age, which some medical scientists predict will last two or more years, or perhaps forever, hibernating like a beast of prey until some act of nature wakens it to strike again.

The pharma companies aren’t complaining. The immunology drugs market is projected to grow from $65.1 billion in 2016 to $113 billion in 2023, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2 percent.

The body’s only defence against a virus and other pathogens is the immune system, the most complex network of cells and molecules outside our brain.

They deal with viral intrusions as shapechangers, warriors, honey traps and provocateurs, and even produce calm. The medical world has never seen a virus so complicated as the current coronavirus nicknamed SARS-CoV-2. It is sly, changes form and acts unpredictably across neural systems, age and geography. 

On the immunity battleground

Immunity is of two types—the innate and the adaptive. Innate immunity is dependent on a person’s genetic constitution, which he or she has inherited from their parents. Imagine the body as a battlefield and the body’s airways as the scene of the first attack.

The innate immune system contains white blood cell soldiers called B-cells, which are the first line of defence. The body’s intelligence system kicks in when it senses enemy molecules and launches proteins called cytokines.

They activate the B-cells to engulf, digest and launch a barrage of chemical warfare, which incidentally releases more cytokines. Inferons interfere with the replication of viruses. The result—inflammation that proves the innate system is working. But SARS-CoV-2 is a resilient enemy.

The problem with System 1 is that it goes for broad-based attacks while this requires specific areas to target.

The adaptive (or acquired) system goes into action mode. The sleeper network of chemicals and proteins alerts the T-cells, which have antibodies of the specific size and shape of the virus. These cells are specialists with different skills.

Each one is like a laser-guided torpedo with different receptors on its surface that recognise specific antigens. The missiles are released in the form of antibodies, which bind to a specific antigen, putting the virus in its crosshairs. The virus’s armour is accurately neutralised. 

Immunity is not bulletproof

It’s a perfect war plan. Then what’s going wrong with the immune system’s anti-Covid battle plan? Its time and memory.

Once the virus is demolished, most of the mobilised warrior cells back off and die. Except for a tiny fraction of commandos who stay back in the vital organs and patrol the bloodstream.

These seasoned soldiers rely on memory and counter-attack a fresh raid immediately because they remember what to do.

The difference is that Covid is a guerilla. It delays the relaunch of the commandos by stopping the production of interferons—molecules that block viral replication in the first stage.

This delay gives the invading virus a small time window for it to multiply its population unnoticed before the trip wires aren’t activated. These delays have a multiplier effect causing both innate and adaptive sections to lag behind.

Different persons, regardless of age or health, respond differently to the virus. Since coronavirus affects the respiratory tract initially, one patient could’ve inhaled a large dose of it in the beginning unlike another.

Their innate immune system could’ve weakened by old age or chronic illness. Sometimes the levels of T-cells start diminishing. All these open the gates to the lungs, kidneys, blood vessels, and the gastrointestinal and nervous systems. The immune system doesn’t stop working, which causes a serious backlash.

It’s designed to explode with maximum force, and destroy cells and release harmful chemicals to kill invaders. But when the virus escalates its offensive, the immune system will react equally furiously, thereby causing collateral damage to the body.

This protracted uncontrolled violence could kill people who are already cured. The immune system is engineered to counter three broad groups of pathogens: viruses and microbes that infect cells, bacteria and fungi clinging on outside cells, and parasitic worms.

Each group has proprietary cells and molecules which will be activated during an invasion. Covid-19 being virus-caused, only the first should be switched on.

But all three are activated in serious cases, because the immune system has gone amok. Doctors call it cytokine storm—“a hyper inflammation caused by the body’s immune chemicals in response to certain infections like Covid-19 when the immune system has unpredictably gone awry. This is happening even in persons who are otherwise healthy. This hyperactive immune system as a reaction to Covid-19 has, in fact, led to many deaths during the pandemic.”

Dr Aviral Roy, Consultant, Critical Care, Medica Superspecialty Hospital, Kolkata, calls our immune response a “very delicately balanced and beautiful system.”

Any imbalance can cause havoc in the body and lead to complications like multi-organ failures seen in Covid-19-infected patients. “It’s such a new virus that our immune systems haven’t learned how to deal with it,” says Dr Roy, while asserting that 80 percent of people have immune systems that know exactly what to do.

“Taking immune-boosting foods is unlikely to alter this response by the body,” says Dr V Ramana Dhara, professor at the Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, and infectious diseases expert.

In other words, human immune systems are well-equipped or sometimes, too well-equipped to our own detriment. Says Dr Surya Kant, Professor and Head, Department of Respiratory Medicine, KGMU, Lucknow, “Our immune system is designed to fight external agents, but can be compromised.” 

Market is booming

The unpredictability of SARS-CoV-2 and the desperation for a vaccine are boons for pharma companies, natural-food manufacturers and plant-based nutrition products whose consumers, both at home and work, are in a panic. Immunity is their new playground and immune boosters, both natural and processed, are in huge demand. Says Mohit Malhotra, CEO of a top natural health products manufacturer, “There’s a strong surge in demand for chyavanprash, honey and giloy tablets, among other things. The first quarter of 2020-21 saw a nearly seven-fold growth in demand for chyavanprash and an over 60 percent surge in demand for honey.

This is despite April being a complete washout.” The company has expanded its capacity recently since it claims medical stores are out of stock. Ayurveda-based preventive healthcare and hygiene are gaining prominence in the consumer mind-space.

“People are now more inclined to prophylactic health remedies, especially immunity-boosting products. This trend would sustain, going forward,” adds Malhotra. People are exploring novel foods and supplements to strengthen their immune system as never before. Rajasthan’s camel milk manufacturers are a happy lot. Their claims that the milk contains elements to fight diabetes, improve blood circulation, and yes, provide immunity are perhaps being taken seriously.

A Rajasthan-based company has seen a surge in demand for the milk by 30 percent over the last three months. “Our raw camel milk powder and flavoured camel milk powder have been getting an overwhelming response from cities, particularly Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Delhi after Covid,” says Shrey Kumar, co-founder of the company.

The demand for plant-based nutrition food has grown too. “It improves gut health and therefore you’re better equipped to absorb nutrients that support the immune system,” says Aarti Gill, co-founder of a plant-based nutrition product manufacturer. To keep the immune system balanced and harmonious, gut health is crucial. Over 70 percent of immune system cells are connected to the digestive tract. Intestines contain around 10 times more microorganisms than human cells in the entire body.

This balance will boost the strength of intestinal microflora to ward off harmful bacteria. Gill says immunity-boosting products that contain elderberry, guduchi (giloy), plant Vitamin C and plant protein have gained over 100 percent popularity in the last few months. Bottled water brands have dived into the immunity pool too.

One such company claims its bottled alkaline water is black in colour because it contains more than 70 minerals, sourced from the “depths of the Earth”, is 100 percent natural, provides superior hydration and better detoxification, and reduces acidity throughout the day. The company’s co-founder Aakash Vaghela claims the demand for his water is up by nearly 20 percent in the last four months.

“Overseeing the current pandemic situation and immunity concerns of consumers we’re receiving queries and orders on a regular basis from across the country from all age groups, with metros and tier-1 cities contributing to about 70 percent of the orders,” he says. For Amit Agarwal, 38, a Delhi-based banking professional and his family of three, kaadha (an Ayurvedic concoction of tulsi, ginger, jaggery, cardamom and other ingredients) is a must, every day. “I feel this is what has kept my family safe from the coronavirus,” he says. After the pandemic, he has become a regular consumer of supplements such as chyavanprash and multi-vitamins. 

Dr Dhara isn’t surprised at this rush for anything that is an immunity enhancer. “In the absence of a specific treatment for Covid-19, this is natural. It’s people’s way of allaying anxiety about this unknown and changing disease,” says he. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation, Indian pharma companies supply over 80 percent of the antiretroviral drugs to combat AIDS. Pharmaceutical exports from India that include bulk drugs, intermediates, drug formulations, biologicals, Ayush and herbal products, and surgical products stood at $20.70 billion in FY20. India’s domestic pharmaceutical market itself was worth Rs 1.4 lakh crore in 2019, up from Rs 129,015 crore in 2018. 

Return to roots but be careful

It is not just families that are closely monitoring eating habits and incorporating ‘healthy’ and ‘immunity boosting’ foods in daily diet. Sandipan Mitra, co-founder and CEO, HungerBox, India’s leading institutional food technology company, knows that corporates are asking for immunity-boosting food to be served in cafeterias.

“The pandemic has forced us to turn towards our traditions and roots. For example, amla rice has become extremely popular since amla is considered to possess immunity-enhancing properties. Citrus-based foods such as lemon and coriander soup are in demand,” Mitra says. Office cafeteria counters have changed with anti-inflammatory juice, ginger peanut curry, beetroot juice, etc finding space over poori aloo and fried rice.

Nutritionists, immunologists and internal medicine experts understand the race to gain the extra edge with immunity boosters to prevent SARS-CoV-2 attacks.

But they feel this demand may not be based on scientific evidence. The Indian dietary supplements market is expected to reach $4 billion by 2020.

Kinita Kadakia Patel, well-known sports nutritionist, and health management professional, thinks that immunity products are useful only in case of an existing deficiency of a certain vitamin or mineral. These should be taken keeping in mind age, gender and body’s needs.

“Even during this pandemic, consuming multiple immunity-boosting products in a single day doesn’t improve immunity overnight. Building immunity is a process and takes time,” says Patel. Stop popping those multivitamin tablets indiscriminately.

Dr Kant is of the opinion that while combining vitamin B complex, C, D along with Zinc is recommended to boost immunity among high-risk groups, they should be taken only after consulting the doctor and bought from reputed pharma companies. A 2015 study released by Assocham-RNCOS concluded that 60-70 percent of dietary supplements sold across India are fake, counterfeit, unregistered and unapproved.

Last year, Amazon warned that some of the supplements were fake and even issued refunds. India’s food regulator, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, is checking the claims of many immunity-boosting products in the market.

It didn’t respond to queries, but has on its website guidelines for manufacturers and warnings to people not to buy unverified products.

The World Health Organization denies that micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) supplements can prevent Covid-19 and recommends micronutrient intakes from a nutritionally balanced and diverse diet that has fruits, vegetables and animal source foods.

Agrees Dr Roy, “There is no one magic food or drink that can build up your immune system overnight. It takes months if not years of good nutrition, good exercise, good habits, not smoking or drinking in addition to all the above to have a good immune system.”

Myth, commerce and health

“Claiming that some foods have instant immunity-boosting powers is a myth,” says Dr AB Singh, Secretary, Indian College of Allergy and Immunology, Delhi.

He is betting on herd immunity as the ultimate defence against the raging pandemic. If a large enough proportion of a population becomes immune, it’ll prevent the virus from multiplying simply because its spread through contact is blocked.

Even people with no immunity will be safe because the pathogens encounter too many immune people. This crucial point in pandemic control is “herd immunity”—everyone is effectively immune because enough people have become immune.

Their proportion depends on the virus’s infection power. Many immunologists agree. They emphasise that the prevalence of a large number of Covid cases and relatively a smaller number of casualties means that herd immunity could be at play in India already, and immunity-boosting foods have little role in this.

“For healthy individuals who have a normal diet, immunity-boosting foods are a needless expense,” says Dr Dhara. The unintended silver lining is that India’s traditional remedies have caught large-scale public attention.

Drug companies are determined not to lose this new profit opportunity. Many are expanding their immunity-boosting product mix with, for instance, tulsi drops, considered a natural immunity booster that also helps build respiratory health.

Products with haldi drops, introduced recently in the market, are touted to be another immunity builder. In times of trouble people tend to depend on the familiar and the past.

Mitra of HungerBox says we’re going back to our traditional roots. “The highly recommended immune-boosting items have traditionally been part of our palate which came to be overlooked by the majority of us. These have now reclaimed their place in our lives,” he says.

From a loosely used term in times of a mild flu or a serious ICU-stuck disease, immunity has become a worldwide concern. In spite of the many vaccines being developed, Covid-19 continues to occupy both mind and physical space. Immunity could be the final frontier of healthcare.

Virus prevention: Myths and Realities

Myth 

Handwashing ‘kills’ viruses

Reality: It doesn’t. Viruses aren’t alive, so they can’t be killed. Soap sticks to the membrane of viruses, pries them away and renders them harmless. It means microbes can be rinsed away with water. When you wash your hands, you are literally washing off the viruses that can make you sick. After you have washed your hands thoroughly, dry them thoroughly too. It is harder for viruses to transfer from dry hands. 

Myth 

Hand sanitiser is more effective than hand washing   

Reality: Wrong. Hand sanitisers with 60 percent alcohol destroy microbes, stopping pathogens from transferring from hands to the mouth, nose and eyes. First, remove visible dirt and debris before using sanitiser. Having said this, hand sanitiser is practical but not as effective at removing microbes as hand washing.

Myth

Exercise weakens the immune system

Reality: Exercise boosts immunity against germs because it boosts cell turnover in your body and stimulates the production of immune cells. Stick to walking, jogging, or swimming. Move your body daily to keep your immune system in shape. 
Source: https://askthescientists.com

Supplements manual

Take: 

  • Probiotics: Look for LA-14 Lactobacillus Acidophilus probiotic which is the top immune-boosting strain
  • Zinc: 20mg 
  • Vitamin C: At least 300 mg 
  • Vitamin D3:  Helps lower risk of respiratory infections 
  • Vitamin B: These vitamins, including B12 and B6, are important for healthy immune response

Avoid:

  • Glorified Vitamin C supplements, which contain high dosages of only Vitamin C
  • Supplements without probiotics
  • Unproven vitamins and minerals 
  • Supplements using sugar/sweeteners since sugar suppresses the immune system  
  • Extremely low or high price: Do proper research before buying

Fighting the virus through immune boosters

Source: Samaritan Health Services

Eat nutrient-rich foods

Colourful fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants
Antioxidants such as beta-carotene and Vitamins C and E are plentiful in fruits and vegetables. Choose brightly coloured ones such as spinach, bell peppers, strawberries, and sweet potatoes. Have citrus fruits like oranges and limes. All the above are full of Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin E is found in seeds and nuts. Add vegetables to an omelette or breakfast wrap, and fruit to oatmeal. 

Lean protein to build up immune system cells and antibodies
Protein actively helps to heal and recover after an illness. Eat plant-based protein, such as beans, nuts and seeds, and lean meats, low-fat dairy, eggs and fish. A plate must be half vegetables and fruits, a quarter protein, and a quarter whole grains or healthy starch.

Zinc is important
Low zinc levels can make you more susceptible to diseases since it helps the immune system and wound healing. Zinc is abundant in lean meats such as chicken and turkey, some seafoods, whole grains and milk.

Feed your gut with probiotics and prebiotics

About 75 percent of immune-boosting activity begins in the gut, with naturally occurring healthy bacteria, fighting off bad bacteria. Healthy bacteria thrive with prebiotics. Have fibre-rich prebiotics in natural fermented food products like yogurt, kefir, and kombucha. Non-digestible fibres of fruit and veggies, beans and whole grains contain prebiotics. Because the body doesn’t process them away, they act as a kind of fuel to help healthy bacteria thrive.

Choose whole foods over supplements

Eating well-balanced diets rich in nutrients eliminates the need for supplements, which don’t have all the nutritional benefits of whole foods.

Stay hydrated with fluids

This maintains regular body temperature and eliminates bacteria through the gastrointestinal tract.  Eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day should suffice. Occasionally replace water with no-sugar-added drinks, sparkling water, soup, tea, broth, milk and juice.

How the Immune System Works
The immune system has a vital role: It protects the body from harmful substances, germs and cell changes that could make you ill. It is made up of various organs, cells and proteins.

How is it activated?

The immune system can be activated by a lot of different things that the body doesn’t recognise as its own. These are called antigens. Examples of antigens include the proteins on the surfaces of bacteria, fungi and viruses. When these antigens attach to special receptors on the immune cells (immune system cells), a whole series of processes are triggered in the body.

Once the body has come into contact with a disease-causing germ for the first time, it usually stores information about the germ and how to fight it. Then, if it comes into contact with the germ again, it recognises the germ straight away and can start fighting it faster. The body’s own cells have proteins on their surface, too. But those proteins don’t usually trigger the immune system to fight the cells. Sometimes the immune system mistakenly thinks that the body’s own cells are foreign cells. It then attacks healthy, harmless cells in the body. This is known as an autoimmune response.

Innate and adaptive

There are two subsystems within the immune system known as the innate (non-specific) and the adaptive (specific) immune systems. Both of these are closely linked and work together whenever a germ or harmful substance triggers an immune response. The innate immune system: It provides a general defence against harmful germs and substances, so it’s also called the non-specific immune system.

It mostly fights using immune cells such as natural killer cells and phagocytes (“eating cells”). The main job of the innate system is to fight harmful substances and germs that enter the body, for instance through the skin or digestive system. The adaptive immune system: It makes antibodies and uses them to specifically fight certain germs that the body has previously come into contact with. This is also known as an “acquired” (learned) or specific immune response. Because the adaptive immune system is constantly learning and adapting, the body can also fight bacteria or viruses that change over time.

Seventy per cent of immune system cells are connected to the digestive tract. Intestines contain around 10 times more microorganisms than human cells in the entire body

Eighty per cent of people have immune systems that know exactly what to do, says  Dr Aviral Roy of Medica Superspecialty Hospital, Kolkata.

To fight disease-causing germs (pathogens) like bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi, and to remove them from the body.

To recognise and neutralise harmful substances from the environment To fight disease-causing changes in the body, such as cancer cells.

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine

COVID and your kid

The innate immune system is inherited and is active from the moment your child is born. Its cells are called phagocytes. The acquired immune system, in cooperation with the innate system, produces antibodies developed by cells called B lymphocytes after the body has been exposed to the pathogen.

The antibodies stay in your child’s body. It can take several days for antibodies to develop. But after the first exposure, the immune system will recognise the invader and defend against it. The acquired immune system changes throughout your child’s life. Immunisations train your child’s immune system to make antibodies to protect him or her from harmful diseases.  

Where are the cells of both systems made?

  • Adenoids: Two glands located at the back of the nasal passage. 
  • Bone marrow: The soft, spongy tissue found in bone cavities.  
  • Lymph nodes: Small organs shaped like beans, which are located throughout the body and connect via the lymphatic vessels.  
  • Lymphatic vessels: A network of channels throughout the body that carries lymphocytes to the lymphoid organs and bloodstream.  
  • Peyer’s patches: Lymphoid tissue in the small intestine.  
  • Spleen: A fist-sized organ located in the abdominal cavity.  
  • Thymus: Two lobes that join in front of the trachea behind the breastbone. 
  • Tonsils: Two oval masses in the back of the throat. 

Repeated questions:

Are Covid-19-infected young people safer than older people? 

Not necessarily. There are cases of near-centurions surviving and teenagers dropping dead. Dr Vanessa Bryant  at the University of Melbourne thinks that this could be a genetic problem in some young and healthy people severely affected by Covid-19 because they could be missing a key component specific to the virus and hence cannot be targeted by T-cells. 

Can the infection resurface?

Not imperative. Labs test basically for viral RNA to detect infection in the body. RNA may stay in the system for months even after recovery from Covid-19 even though the infection has been contained. When someone gets a flu and is compelled to go for a Covid test, results may come back positive. The patient would be wrongly diagnosed and treated for reinfection. 

Is a Covid-19 vaccine forever, or for example, must it be injected once a year like a flu shot?

A vaccine that gives the immune system new defences is created by basing research only on a part of a virus. Not all people have equal immunity, which is the reason why vaccines don’t fully protect everyone injected.

Therapeutic Benefits Of ‘Moringa’ – The Miracle Tree


Superfoods and superfoods markets are here to stay when the world has started paying the much-needed attention to health and fitness. We in India have revered one such superfood for thousands of years in traditional medicine – drumstick, also known as the horseradish tree and moringa. Highly valued for centuries throughout Southeast Asia and lauded The Miracle Tree, moringa has one of the richest nutrition profiles in the world of plants.


Moringa is nutrient-dense and has an impressive protein content with all eight essential amino acids, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, vitamins A, D and C along with Omega 3, 6, and 9. Its health benefits have been eulogised by many academic publications, thus making moringa a new buzzword in the health scenario.

Benefits of Moringa

Anti-inflammatory

While suppressing inflammatory enzymes, moringa boosts production of anti-inflammatory cytokines. Chronic diseases like diabetes, arthritis and obesity may be countered by the anti-inflammatory compounds found in this superfood. Research on rats has confirmed its effective treatment on colon inflammation which is also a symptom of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Anti-bacterial and antioxidant

Moringa is loaded with medicinal compounds that are anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. This makes it useful in water purification and food preservation. It also protects the body against harmful illnesses caused by salmonella and fungi. Skin infections and UTIs can be effectively fought off due to these very compounds in moringa. It is also used to treat wounds due to its antimicrobial and blood-clotting properties. It can also be a favourable treatment of Herpes Simplex virus.

Immunity booster

Moringa boasts of a storehouse of antioxidants like vitamin C and E, flavonoids and polyphenols that protect the body from oxidative stress while ridding the body of free radicals. The phytonutrients found in moringa not only invigorate the immune system but also fight off infections. The zinc in moringa is way more than many other plants which also gives it an edge as an immune booster.

Lowers blood sugar and blood pressure

The plant compound called terpenoids which are found in moringa is known to help the pancreas secrete more insulin. Moringa helps lower and maintain cholesterol and lipid levels in the blood, which are notorious in the development of diabetes, thus making it an incredible aid for people with diabetes.


The leaves of this super plant are loaded with potassium which is responsible for reducing the above-normal sodium levels in the blood, thus decreasing and maintaining the blood pressure. The oil extracted from its seeds is full of monosaturated fats and vitamin E, which are considered heart-friendly. These leaves are also known to prevent plaque formation in the arteries, thus preventing a stroke or heart attack.

Counters cognitive decline

As moringa is brimming with antioxidants, amino acids and omega-3’s, it inhibits neurodegeneration and damage in the brain cells. It is known to keep the neurotransmitters healthy and slow down brain ageing. Memory-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia might find therapeutic value in moringa.

Increases energy

The concentration of vitamin B found in moringa, along with its impressive iron content is responsible for its energy-boosting property. Vitamin B3 is vital to trigger protein, fat and carbohydrates to make energy, and this is found in abundance in moringa. This iron-rich food is fitting for people suffering from anaemia as it increases the red blood count and prevents the breakdown of the same.

Supports skin, hair and eye health

Moringa oil is hailed as a beauty oil due to its 47 antioxidant compounds and can be used as a moisturiser for skin and hair and is also a great cleanser. Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties help to deal with skin ailments like acne and blackheads. Skin cells are guarded against oxidative stress owing to its vitamin A, C and E and also a load of selenium found in moringa. The high content of vitamin C assures the production of collagen, which is known to fight sun damage, sagging and wrinkles, making it an excellent anti-ageing beauty oil.


The overload of vitamin A and beta carotene in moringa promises to prevent retinal damage by supporting healthy retinal blood vessels.

Balances hormones

Moringa powder has shown excellent health benefits in post-menopausal women affected by lower estrogen by helping raise their antioxidant levels. A study in 2014 noted that post-menopausal women showed an increase in their blood antioxidant levels on consuming moringa powder along with amaranth powder for three months. This led to better haemoglobin levels and better fasting blood sugar which in turn led to more balanced hormones.

Safety concerns of moringa powder

Moringa should not be consumed by women trying to conceive or are pregnant or lactating owing to its uterine stimulating effects. It has also not been proved safe for children so far, so steering clear by children should be imperative. It also shows some risk to those on medication for hypothyroidism, diabetes and high blood pressure, so consulting your physician before use of moringa powder is advisable.

How to use moringa

Each part of this plant can be used in preparing foods: leaves, seeds, roots, and flowers. The leaves are always better cooked as raw leaves might lead to digestive distress. Chopping and dumping some leaves in stews and dals make for a delicious dish.


Moringa powder has an earthy and peppery taste and can be used in smoothie and soups. Moringa tea has a pleasant taste and provides with a dose of instant energy.


It is also available as capsules and can be taken by following the recommended dosage.

Moringa is a new buzzword in the health and wellness scene owing to its elaborate health resume. So, go ahead and enjoy a round of health with this fantastic superfood.

Best Oils With A High Smoke Point Cooking

We might be aware of the good fats and bad fats. But did you know all variants of oil have a ‘smoke point’, the temperature at which it begins to break? It is that tipping moment from where the oil, due to heat, changes its basic properties. Many times, this change in basic characteristics could be harmful to health. Hence, an oil with a high smoke point is good for deep frying while an oil with a low one is good for sautéing and so on. In other words, it is always wise to check the variant before embarking on preparing any dish.

Here we throw light upon the same…

Coconut Oil

Once, coconut oil was India’s favourite variant of oil, especially in the South. Being rich in saturated fat earned this variant a bad name and was frowned upon till recent times. New knowledge of oils and its high smoke point catapulted this wonder in the top position, making it one of the healthiest oils to use. Though it does increase blood cholesterol, it also raises good cholesterol alongside. Having a high smoke point of more than 300-degree Fahrenheit earns this pure beauty the title ‘Thalaiva’ of oils.

Groundnut Oil

Groundnut oil has a decent blend of fats. It has a good balance of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats making it an all-purpose cooking oil. Being low in bad fats, this nature’s gift is a popular and a safe option in kitchens. Also called peanut oil, this variant contains vitamin E, making it rich in antioxidants (which protects our body from free-radical damage). This nutty flavoured oil is good for stir-fried, Chinese, Thai and such dishes.

Mustard Oil

A favourite of the East, as hardly any Bengali dishes are prepared without mustard oil! It has a distinct and pungent aroma and has an almost perfect balance of the fat composition. Additionally, this wonder is known to be antibacterial, good for the skin and heart friendly. However, it is suggested that you use it in combination with other oils. Mustard oil has a high smoke point and is good for preparing pakodas, samosa, and other fried food.

Sesame Oil

Along with a high smoke point, this ‘til oil’ has a perfect blend of MUFA and PUFA. Being low in saturated fats makes it yet another favourite on the kitchen shelf. Do note that as sesame oil is high in polyunsaturated fat, it should not be heated for long. This variant is also nutritious boasting of essential minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, and B6 vitamin too. This makes it perfect oil for sautéing, shallow frying and Asian cuisine.

Sunflower Oil

Another popular variant, this oil contains many health benefits and our favourite vitamin, vitamin E. The wonder has a good blend of PUFA and MUFA but includes more polyunsaturated fats than any other vegetable oil (which we regularly use for our cooking). This makes this oil good for our heart. Sunflower oil also helps our immune system thus boosts our energy. It has a high smoke point, making it a go-to oil while frying samosa, pakodas, chips, etc.

Rice Bran Oil

Yet another oil gaining grounds is rice bran oil. Processed from bran of rice grain, this variant has a chemical ‘oryzanol’, making it anti for a lot of harmful effects on our health such as anti-cancerous, anti-diabetic, anti-thyroid and so on.  As it has good amounts of MUFA and PUFA, this oil gets a stamp for being right for cholesterol. It is packed in vitamin E and this is a powerful antioxidant. Rice bran oil is good for frying as it has a high smoke point. Besides other sterling properties, it is good for our skin. It is no wonder then that nutritionists and other health authorities consider it one of the healthiest oils.

Olive Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil

If you are an olive oil fan, then this spells happy news for you. A gift from the Mediterranean, olive oil is known to be a ‘jigri dost’ of our heart and is great for the skin too. It contains monounsaturated fats, believed to help in lowering risk of heart diseases, cholesterol and also breast cancer. Extra virgin olive oil is also a good source of antioxidants.  It’s active component ‘polyphenols’ is considered good for heart health. This variant is less acidic than olive oil, allowing you to drizzle it over salads and enjoy.

Footnotes:

  • Some oils raise the sugar levels. Therefore, all those who have diabetes need to consult their physician as to which one they can consume.
  • No single oil is ideal, no variant is perfect. Hence, it is wise to keep changing cooking oils so that you get the nourishment from other oils as well as a well-rounded variety of Essential Fatty Acids. Cook different cuisines like Bengali (mustard), Rajasthani (sesame), regular (groundnut), Italian (Olive) and so on. Have fun.
  • Moderation is the operative word while using oil.
  • Your cooking oil should have a healthy balance of fats. As each of us is different and our families have a medical history, figure out with your physician which cooking oil is good for you and your family.

By the end of it, you can opt for one that suits your needs the most.

‘Guest Posts’ And ‘Sponsored Reviews’ On INNLIVE Media Network

As a blogger, many a times, you share your experience of visiting a new restaurant, watching a new movie, pros and cons of using a particular product/service, discovering a new culture/practice or even sharing your experience with a customer service agent of your mobile network with your readers.

This sharing is like reviewing that product, service or experience and helps others in their decisions to use or purchase that product/service. It also in turn helps the organisation know how consumers feel and perceive their product.

Wouldn’t it be exciting to get a chance to either experience that service or own a product without paying for it?

There is one such in store for you now! #KhabarLive will now give bloggers a platform to earn revenue from their blog and/or get free products by reviewing a product/service.

You now have a chance to get paid and/or experience a product/service by the company in return for a review. A great chance to give your blog a new impetus by giving analytical reviews! The review will be neutral, transparent (proper disclosure) and completely based on how you feel. More details about this program will be announced shortly.

For brands/companies interested to review their products/services, write to innlivenetwork@gmail.com

Is AP Govt Robbing ‘Ram’ To Pay ‘Robert’ And ‘Rahim’?

How can any secular government allot taxpayers money for the purpose of religious propagation?

Andhra government is controlling temples, looting them and also in some cases diverting the funds for the welfare of other religions.

Andra Pradesh government under the chief ministership of Sri Jagan Mohan Reddy proposed the state budget recently. There is one crucial announcement which caused a lot of furore among Hindus, especially those who oppose religious conversions. The Andhra Pradesh government proposes to pay monthly salaries to Christian PastorsMuslim Imams, and Mouzzans. A total of 948.72 crores is allocated for this scheme for the year 2019 – 20[1]. On the other hand, Hindu pujaris/pundits don’t find any mention

A few are comparing the salaries that pujaris working in Hindu temples get, to the new scheme of Sri Jagan Mohan Reddy. This is nothing but ignorance. Those who are doing this and even others should know that most of the Hindu temples in states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Odisha and Maharashtra are in the hands of the state and the salaries given are from the money which belongs to temples and not from the state budget. It is a different story that lakhs of acres of temples were encroached upon and thousands of crores of temple wealth looted by the government both “legally” and illegally. Those who want more details may please watch Sri J Sai Deepak‘s videos and read his writings online. So, salaries being paid to Hindu pundits should not be compared with the proposed salaries to Pastors and Imams.

If one carefully studies the similarities between world ‘religions’ that existed before Christianity and the strategies implemented by Christianity to destroy them, one will find strikingly similar.

This is not the only one such incident, readers of PGurus might already know about the ‘illegal’ detention of Sivaji, a Hindu activist belonging to Siva Sakthi and the controversial order release by Visakhapatnam police to provide protection only to Churches and Christian minorities, which they later altered to religious places of all the religions. Thanks to the protest of various vigilant netizens[2].

There is one more incident that took place in a village called Dasaripalem near Vijayawada, wherein 3 women who came back to Hindu dharma from Christianity were threatened to be removed from Dwarka group. As per the news reports, their lives were made miserable and even the police are not registering their complaint[3]. These are only those incidents which came out and we do not know how many more happened since the new administration took charge.

Is Bharat A Secular state?

By definition, yes, but practically, no, we are not a secular state. A secular state, by definition, should keep itself away from religion. But it’s not the case with Bharat. In Bharat, most parties in the name of secularism snub the majority Hindus and appease so-called Minorities. Perhaps Bharat is the only country where majority people fight for equality and the only country where a religion with a population of nearly 20 crores is considered a minority. I am not sure where our political parties borrowed this definition of secularism, but what is happening in Bharat cannot happen in ay truly secular state. I can quote several examples to prove my case and the recent decision by Andra Pradesh government is another such example.

Historical Roots

All the countries, with the only exception of Bharat, got culturally destroyed after Christianity/Islam set foot. It’s not that we didn’t loose anything but are far far better than the rest. All the other countries got almost completely disconnected with their own culture and become Christianized or Islamized. Be it Europe or the Middle East or South/North America or Africa, all the ancient cultures are more or less lost. Bharat is the only ancient civilization that has not just survived but also in a way thriving. The fact that now Yoga, which was considered a superstition by most Western-educated 30 – 40 years ago, is now being practised across the world, is a proof of that. More than 3.6 crores Americans practice Yoga and it’s only growing[4]. We shall see a similar thing happening with Ayurveda too.

If one carefully studies the similarities between world ‘religions’ that existed before Christianity and the strategies implemented by Christianity to destroy them, one will find striking similarities. In 313 CE Constantine made Christianity legal in the Roman Empire[5]. Since then, support of those in power has played a vital in Christianity across the world. After coming to power Constantine supported the spread of Christianity in many ways like giving financial assistance to Bishops and others, grants and other facilities to construct churches etc. Though the destruction of temples on a large scale started little late, Constantine did start it. He destroyed at least 5 temples and converted them to churches as per “Life of Constantine” written by Eusebius. Eusebius is a very prominent church historian and is called “The father of church history”[6].

Whatever has happened in the Roman empire is happening in Bharat now and perhaps would have happened in a lot of other countries too.

All the other Roman emperors after Constantine, except for Julian, who just rules for 19 months, were Christian. As time passed by, the Christian population and along with that support of emperors to the religion only grew. Not only that, but the restrictions on the native religions also increased. The restrictions on native religions only got worse. It all started with making Christianity legal, then comes state support to Churches, then temples were taken over by govt, a lot of times temple money too was diverted to churches, new temple constructions banned, repair of old temples banned, divination (something similar to Jyothisham), animal slaughter, public celebrations, worship inside temples, going into temples, going anywhere near temples, worshipping at home and finally Theodosian who was the Roman emperor from 379 CE to 395 CE not just banned all the native traditions but also made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire[7]. There was also active destruction of temples across the Roman Empire. Many a time Christians themselves lead by the local bishop destroyed the temples. Bishops in some cases used to get prior approval of the emperor to destroy the temple and construct a new church or converted the temple into a church, by quoting verses from the bible which ask Christians to destroy temples belonging to other gods.

Ban on animal sacrifice deserves some explanation. Please note that the ban on animal sacrifice has nothing to do with cruelty towards animals. For some theological reasons it is banned in Christianity and only because of that, it was banned in Roman Empire and for the very same reason, though not overtly called so, activists even today oppose animal sacrifice at temples. A true animal lover would promote vegetarianism. But these activists specifically target a Hindu practice.

Whatever has happened in the Roman empire is happening in Bharat now and perhaps would have happened in a lot of other countries too. If you take Andhra govt as an example they are also doing the same. They are controlling temples, looting them and also in some cases diverting the funds for the welfare of other religions. Also, governments are providing financial assistance to those who preach religion like in the case of Andhra Pradesh and also sponsoring the construction of churches and other institutions which are traditionally associated with a church like a hospital, school etc.

For example, the Andhra government has given the following grants[8].

1. New church construction: Upto Rs.1,00,000
2. Church Repair: Upto Rs. 30,000
3. Christian Hospital: Upto Rs. 10,00,000
4. Christian School Building: Upto Rs. 5,00,000
5. Christian Orphanage: Upto Rs. 5,00,000
6. Christian Old Age Home: Upto Rs. 5,00,000
7. Christian Community Hall cum youth resource centre: Upto Rs. 5,00,000

So, what is happening now in Andhra and most probably in many other states of Bharat and what has happened in the Roman Empire are strikingly similar. Luckily we are still, relatively in the initial stages and we have time to reverse things. But if we let the things continue as they are, we will also meet the same fate what the Roman pagans met and our temples will also get destroyed and be converted into churches as well.

No Jati survives without learning from their and others’ history. Roman pagans though got destroyed are a great source of history to us. Now it is up to us to at least react. The reversal should start NOW.

It’s NOW or maybe NEVER.

Note:
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

References:

[1] ఆంధ్రప్రదేశ్ బడ్జెట్ 2019-20 SakshiEducation.com

[2] 2016 Yoga in America Study Conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance Reveals Growth and Benefits of the Practice YogaAlliance.org

[3] Christianity took over Andhra Administration? July 22, 2019 PGurus.com

[4] గుంటూరు,కృష్ణా జిల్లాలలో మతమార్పిడి వివాదాలు ,మతం మార్చుకున్న వారి ఇళ్లపై స్థానికుల దాడి July 23, 2019

[5] The Triumph of Christianity by Bart D. Ehrman – page number: 290 (2018)

[6] Ibid 230 – 231

[7] Ibid 250 – 252

[8] Andhra Pradesh State Christian(Minorities)Finance Corporation Go to downloads section and download the applications. All the details are on the application form.

Tollywood Actor Vijay Deverakonda To Debut In Bollywood With Abhishek Kapoor’s Next?

Vijay Deverakonda will be next seen in Puri Jagannadh’s Pan-India film Fighter, which also features Ananya Panday in a key role.

Well, with the success of the Hindi dubbed versions of Arjun Reddy, Geetha Govindam, Dwarka and others, Vijay Deverakonda has attended the status of Pan-India star. While we are waiting for his pan-India venture Fighter, which is expected to release in 2021, the latest report suggests that the handsome hunk is set to make his Bollywood debut with Abhishek Kapoor’s next project, which is based on Balakot Air Strike. Reportedly, the filmmaker has joined hands with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Bhushan Kumar for this film. 

As per the PinkVilla report, a source close to the development said, “The untitled project on Balakot Air Strike will mostly be South superstar Vijay Deverakonda’s big Bollywood debut. While his next film Fighter will be dubbed in Hindi and given a pan-India release, Abhishek’s directorial will be his full-fledged Hindi feature. He will play the role of Wing Commander and national hero Abhinandan Varthaman who was kept captive in Pakistan for 60 hours following the India-Pakistan standoff. The film will trace the Pulwama attack, the air strike and Abhinandan’s time in captivity in the neighbouring country and his return to India.” 

Apparently, the Dear Comrade star has liked the script and has even given a verbal nod to it though he is yet to sign the dotted lines. “When Vijay was offered the project, he expressed his interest in it. While he still has not signed on the dotted line, the Covid outbreak delayed things further. Right now, the team has no clue of when to bring the film on floors. Abhishek will first finish his film with Ayushmann Khurrana and Vaani Kapoor and then proceed with this ambitious project,” added the source. Well, if this news materialises, it will definitely make all his fans super happy. #innlive