Important Events of November – 17
International Students Day
International Students’ Day is an international observance of the student community, held annually on November 17. Originally commemorating the Nazi storming of Czech universities in 1939 and the subsequent killing and sending of students to concentration camps, it is now marked by a number of universities, sometimes on a day other than November 17, as a nonpolitical celebration of the multiculturalism of their international students.
In 1989 independent student leaders together with the Socialist Union of Youth (SSM/SZM) organized a mass demonstration to commemorate International Students’ Day. The students used this 50th-anniversary event to express their dissatisfaction with the ruling Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. By nightfall, what had begun as a peaceful commemorative event turned violent, with many participants brutally beaten by riot police, red berets, and other members of law enforcement agencies. About 15,000 people took part in this demonstration. The only person left lying where the beatings took place was thought to be the body of a student, but in fact turned out to be an undercover agent. The rumour that a student had died due to the police brutality triggered further actions; the same night, students and theatre actors agreed to go on strike. The events linked to the International Students’ Day of 17 November 1989 helped spark the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day is today observed as an official holiday in both the Czech Republic (since 2000, following a campaign by the Czech Student Chamber of the Council of Higher Education Institutions) and Slovakia.
National Epilepsy Day
In India, November 17 is observed every year as National Epilepsy Day to create awareness about epilepsy. Epilepsy is a chronic disorder of brain characterized by recurrent ‘seizures’ or ‘fits’. The seizures are caused as a result of sudden, excessive electrical discharges in the neurons (brain cells). The condition can affect people at any age and each age group has unique concerns and problems.
The symptoms of epilepsy are as follows:
- Sudden twitching (uncontrollable jerking motions of the arms and legs)
- Loss of consciousness
- Tingling sensation (feeling of pricking pins or needles) in arms or legs
- Stiffness in muscles of arms or legs or face
Tips to deal with Seizures
- Do not panic.
- Do not try to restrain the person during a seizure.
- Remove sharp objects or other harmful objects out of the person with seizures.
- Loosen any tight neck wear.
- Gently roll the person onto one side so that any fluid in the mouth can safely come out.
- Put something soft under his or her head.
- Do not put anything into the person’s mouth for the fear of swallowing tongue.
- Be with the person until medical help arrives.
- Allow the person to rest or sleep.
Lala Lajput Rai Memorial Day
Lala Lajpat Rai (28 January 1865 – 17 November 1928) was an Indian freedom fighter. He played a pivotal role in the Indian Independence movement. He was popularly known as Punjab Kesari. He was one third of the Lal Bal Paltriumvirate.
Lajpat Rai was born on 28 January 1865 in a Hindu Aggarwal family, as a son of Urdu and Persian government school teacher Munshi Radha Krishan Agrawal and his wife Gulab Devi Agrawal, in Dhudike (now in Moga district, Punjab). In 1877, he was married to Radha Devi Agrawal, with whom had two sons, Amrit Rai Agrawal and Pyarelal Agrawal, and a daughter, Parvati Agrawal.
After joining the Indian National Congress and taking part in political agitation in Punjab, Lala Lajpat Rai was deported to Mandalay, Burma (now Myanmar), without trial in May 1907. Lajpat Rai’s supporters attempted to secure his election to the presidency of the party session at Surat in December 1907, but he did not succeed.
Graduates of the National College, which he founded inside the Bradlaugh Hall at Lahore as an alternative to British institutions, included Bhagat Singh. He was elected President of the Indian National Congress in the Calcutta Special Session of 1920. In 1921, he founded Servants of the People Society, a non-profit welfare organisation, in Lahore, which shifted its base to Delhi after partition, and has branches in many parts of India.
He controversially demanded “a clear partition of India into a Muslim India and Hindu State India” in The Tribune on 14 December 1923.
He did not fully recover from his injuries and died on 17 November 1928 of a heart attack.
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