Cow beats porn star, India gets stomach trouble

 

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You can hum and haw, but can you wag a tail and say moo? Well, then you have just been pipped to the post. There is no stopping this four-legged wonder that has emerged from its humble shed to surge ahead in the online search race in India, horns and hooves and all! You guessed it, the cow has just been declared personality of the year by search engine Yahoo’s 2015 Year in Review (YIR) report.

It is an obvious reflection of people’s curiosity in the cow that peaked this year after a controversy over beef, which is traditionally shunned by the country’s Hindu majority.

Besides Yahoo, medtech firm Practo also has some fine finds up its sleeve in 2015. Who would have thought that gastroenterology – the branch of medicine that deals with disorders of the stomach – would emerge as the biggest health concern for netizens in India?

To draw up its lists, Yahoo editors analyzed the interest patterns of users – “what they searched for, read, recommended, and shared.” Here’s what they found.

The iPhone 6 may be expensive, but the thought of buying one may be crossing the minds of many Indians as it is the most-searched-for gadget in the Yahoo list. It is followed closely by Apple, Nokia, Windows 10, and Sony Xperia. This category also includes Lenovo A6000, iPhone 5, Intex Mobile, iPhone 6S, and Macbook.

For the fourth year in a row, Canada-born adult film actress Sunny Leone – whose brand of soft porn has many fans in India – is the most-searched-for female celebrity. Bollywood actresses walk all over the list. In second place is Katrina Kaif, followed by Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra. American celebrity Kim Kardashian is the only exception here.

The list for male celebrities is dominated by Salman Khan who makes headlines as much for his movies as for controversies. Singer-rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh comes in next “amid drug addiction rumors and his noticeable absence from the Bollywood music scene.” Sure enough, Shahid Kapoor, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, and evergreen Amitabh Bachchan also make it into the list.

There was some heartening news from the top 10 most-searched-for sportspersons list as two women – tennis ace Sania Mirza and badminton champ Saina Nehwal – volleyed their way into it. In cricket-crazy India, cricketers like M.S. Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Sachin Tendulkar, and Chris Gayle hogged the top slots.

The top 10 politician names were yet again led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this year, followed by his vociferous critic, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Extremist organization ISIS topped the most-searched-for news events, while the fantasy fiction movie Bahubali scored highest among movies and TV shows.

Homegrown brands prevailed over the top 10 bike launches in 2015. Starting with Bajaj Pulsar RS 200, the list featured the Honda Livo, Bajaj Pulsar AS 200, Bajaj Avenger Street/Cruise 220, Mahindra Mojo, and Yamaha YZF-R3.

The list also included the Best Instagram accounts of the year, most epic selfies, top 10 moments from Bollywood, and top 10 fashion trends of 2015 (which, in case you are interested, have cape jackets, pant suits, and Boho chic as the hottest ways to dress up)!

Cow jumped over the moon

Now for the cow story. So how did the humble domestic animal beat other contenders to be 2015’s personality of the year in online search?

Beef continues to be banned in the Indian capital, in neighboring Haryana, and several other states, though it is legal in states like West Bengal and Kerala. While many Hindus don’t eat beef for religious reasons, there are plenty who love their beef curry and steak. Many ‘Dalits’, who fall at the bottom of the Hindu caste hierarchy, also eat beef as it is a source of cheap, protein-rich food for them.

But lately it has become a controversial issue. “It started with the Maharashtra government announcing a ban on the sale of beef in the state – a move that led to massive debates online and offline, spiralling into the ‘beef controversy’,” Yahoo editors said.

Interest in the “cow” search term was further fuelled by the lynching of a man in Uttar Pradesh state over rumors that he had beef in his fridge. “The ‘cow’ became the icon of discussions on ‘intolerance,’” Yahoo editors said, even making note of a campaign by many intellectuals who returned their government awards to protest what they saw as rising intolerance in the country.

India has stomach troubles

India has more on its plate than the beef controversy, as search data reveals in the Practo Healthcare Map of India 2015. The report highlights “the fastest growing concerns” in Indian cities.

It says what specialty users increasingly search for the most was gastroenterology, growing at 204 percent. This indicates that ailments of the intestine and stomach became a major health concern during the year. This was true of tier one cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Pune as well as tier two-three cities like Agra, Allahabad, and Bhopal.

A growing number of Indians also seem to be concerned about matters of the heart. The search for cardiologists, at 163 percent, came in second, followed by ear-nose-throat (ENT) at 142 percent, pediatricians at 126 percent, and dentists at 109 percent.

Most tier one cities searched for gastroenterologists (255 percent), ENT (235 percent), dentists (159 percent), cardiologists (155 percent), and pediatricians (152 percent), in that order.

In tier two and three cities, people looked for gastroenterologists (201 percent), cardiologists (183 percent), ENT (147 percent), neurologists (133 percent), and pediatricians (130 percent).

The Indian capital has major concerns about gynecology, closely followed by searches on dermatology and dentistry. In fact gastroenterology, ENT and dentistry are the fastest search segments for Delhi, according to the Practo list.

Other regions, like Bengaluru, Chennai, and Jaipur, are concerned with dermatology, pediatrics, dentistry, urology, and gynecology. But all of them seem to agree that stomach disorders were the top concern this past year.

The report was based on search data from Practo, which boasts nearly 40 million appointments per year and over 75 million searches across 200,000 doctors and over 200 specialties. It hopes to help the healthcare industry focus on the most common illnesses in the country.

Guess Indians have more to worry about than the cow?

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