Published: 11th November 2021
What happened on November 11: A movie's novel attempt at AIDS awareness and India observes National Education Day
The late 20th century was not a good time for you in America if you were from the LGBTQIA+ community and, if you were diagnosed with AIDS, then life was, to put it mildly, bleak
November 11 marked the launch of the made-for-TV film An Early Frost, on American broadcasting network, PBS, in the year 1985. The Aiden Quinn-starrer was a moving story of a gay man, Michael Pierson, diagnosed with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), a disease that was fast infecting many in the United States at the time. It was a period of homophobia and science was only coming to terms with the disease, with precious few medical interventions possible. That led to an atmosphere of hysteria around the disease, with those infected being meted out with often inhumane treatment.
The film follows the evolution of Michael Pierson's relationship with his family and loved ones as he learns to embrace his sexuality and embrace the cruel, premature end fate has in store for him. What was perhaps remarkable was that the cast and crew raised plenty of awareness about the disease and the issue after the movie was released and Aiden Quinn even donated half of his paycheck to an organisation working for those diagnosed with AIDS.
What is National Education Day, anyway?
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was a freedom fighter and a visionary who served as the first Education Minister of independent India. He laid the groundwork for the evolution of a post-colonial India into a state with its own education infrastructure. While he stressed on the importance of elementary education, it was also under his leadership that the first Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) was established in Kharagpur in 1951. His birthday, November 11, has been celebrated as National Education Day since 2008.