FYI April 01, 2018


 
 

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On This Day

1854 – Charles Dickens’ novel Hard Times begins serialisation in his magazine Household Words.
Household Words was an English weekly magazine edited by Charles Dickens in the 1850s. It took its name from the line in Shakespeare’s Henry V: “Familiar in his mouth as household words.”

History
During the planning stages, titles originally considered by Dickens included The Robin, The Household Voice, The Comrade, The Lever, and The Highway of Life.[1]

Household Words was published every Saturday from March 1850 to May 1859. Each number cost a mere tuppence, thereby ensuring a wide readership. The publication’s first edition carried a section covering the paper’s principles, entitled “A Preliminary Word”:
“ We aspire to live in the Household affections, and to be numbered among the Household thoughts, of our readers. We hope to be the comrade and friend of many thousands of people, of both sexes, and of all ages and conditions, on whose faces we may never look. We seek to bring to innumerable homes, from the stirring world around us, the knowledge of many social wonders, good and evil, that are not calculated to render any of us less ardently persevering in ourselves, less faithful in the progress of mankind, less thankful for the privilege of living in this summer-dawn of time. ”
— Charles Dickens

A longer version of the publication’s principles appeared in newspapers such as The Argus in September 1850.[2]

Theoretically, the paper championed the cause of the poor and working classes, but in fact it addressed itself almost exclusively to the middle class. Only the name of Dickens, the journal’s “conductor”, appeared; articles were unsigned (although authors of serialised novels were identified) and, in spite of its regularly featuring an “advertiser”, the paper was unillustrated.

To boost slumping sales Dickens serialised his own novel, Hard Times, in weekly parts between 1 April and 12 August 1854. It had the desired effect, more than doubling the journal’s circulation and encouraging the author, who remarked that he was, “three–parts mad, and the fourth delirious, with perpetual rushing at Hard Times”.[3]

That Dickens owned half of the company and his agents, John Forster and William Henry Wills, owned a further quarter of it was insurance that the author would have a free hand in the paper. Wills was also appointed associate editor and, in December 1849, Dickens’s acquaintance, writer and poet Richard Henry Horne was appointed sub-editor at a salary of “five guineas a week”.[4] In 1859, however, owing to a dispute between Dickens and the publishers, Bradbury and Evans, publication ceased and Household Words was replaced by All the Year Round, in which he had greater control.

The journal contained a mixture of fiction and nonfiction. A large amount of the non-fiction dealt with the social issues of the time.
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Born On This Day

1856 – Acacio Gabriel Viegas, Indian physician (d. 1933)
Acacio Gabriel Viegas (born 1856—died 1933) was a medical practitioner who was credited with the discovery of the outbreak of bubonic plague in Bombay, India in 1896. His timely discovery helped saved many lives in the city and was credited with the inoculation of 18,000 residents. He was also the president of the Bombay Municipal Corporation.

Early life
Acacio Viegas was born on 1 April 1856 in Arpora, Goa. After the completion of his primary education, he joined St Xavier’s High School, Bombay, where he completed his matriculation in 1874 with a distinction.[citation needed] He then enrolled in the Grant Medical College, securing a First Class at the L.M. & S. degree examination held in 1880. Viegas then set up practice at Mandvi in the south Bombay area.

As president
Not satisfied with serving the public only through medicine, he successfully contested the civic election from 1888 till 1907. In 1906 he became the President of the Municipal Corporation, enjoying the distinction of being the first native Christian to do so.

He was an active member of the Standing Committee and the Improvement Trust. He then focused his attention to improving the living conditions of the city’s poor and down-trodden. He also tried to minimise the increases of public utility costs. As president, Viegas promoted medical relief and introduced compulsory free education.

Viegas was also a member of the Bombay University Syndicate, and was the pioneer of the Faculty of Scientific Technology. He also introduced Portuguese into the syllabus and supported the creation of special colleges for women. He was also an examiner in Medicine at the degree level and Foundation-Fellow of the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Plague
In 1896, a mysterious disease hit the city in the Nowroji Hill slums. The disease spread rapidly affecting many city residents and became an epidemic. Those in the medical field were puzzled by this disease which saw a mass exodus from the city. The city’s commerce was badly hit, and the flourishing textile industry was grounded.

Viegas correctly diagnosed the disease as Bubonic Plague and tended to patients with great personal risk. He then launched a vociferous campaign to clean up slums and exterminate rats, the carriers of the plague.

To confirm Viegas’ findings, four teams of independent experts were brought in. With his diagnosis proving to be correct, the Governor of Bombay invited W M Haffkine, who had earlier formulated a vaccine for cholera, do the same for the epidemic. Haffkine’s vaccine saved thousands of lives with Viegas personally inoculating around eighteen thousand residents.

As a Goan, he did a lot for his community with active involvement in the uplift and education of Goans.

After his death in 1933, a life-size statue of him was erected in the Cowasji Jehangir Hall opposite Metro Cinema on his birth centenary in 1956, by the Governor of Bombay Presidency, Harekrushna Mahtab, as a tribute to the services rendered to the city. A street in the Dhobitalao area is also named after him.

References
Dr Acacio Viegas, Goan Achievers in Bombay, Dr Teresa Albuquerque, Goacom: Goanow – Looking Back (Nov 2000 issue)
Goans are all over the world, doing all kinds of things (Archived 2009-10-24), Frederick Noronha

 
 
 
 

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