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Banned bull-taming sport of Jallikattu receives stronger opposition with Activist’s Letter to the President

PETA also wrote to Tamil Nadu government for calling a ban on the sport

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banned bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu
Jallikattu sport of Tamil Nadu, Wikimedia

Chennai, Jan 13, 2017: The banned bull-taming sport of Jallikattu ordinance grows stronger this week in Tamil Nadu as animal rights groups today wrote to President Pranab Mukherjee and the Centre, arguing against any such possible move.

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People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which has come under criticism from Jallikattu supporters in the state and Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations (FIAPO) have written to Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave in this regard, PETA said in a statement.

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In a release PETA said “In the letters, PETA and FIAPO note that Jallikattu is illegal according to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960; the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change’s 2011 ban on the use of bulls in performances and a 2014 Supreme Court judgement,”

“PETA also notes that issuing an ordinance to allow the spectacle may be considered unconstitutional and an inappropriate use of power,” it said.


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PETA also wrote to Tamil Nadu government for calling a ban on the sport.

“If miscreants were to enter Lord Shiva’s temple and desecrate Nandi’s idol, people would not stand for it,” PETA India CEO Poorva Joshipura said, adding “so why should we support the abuse of living bulls”.

Meanwhile, FIAPO Director Varda Mehrotra said: “No culture promotes violence, least of all towards animals. Moreover, bovines have always been revered in the Indian culture.

prepared by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon

 

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC

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Lost in Time : The Less Explored Pamban Island and the Rameswaram Island | Travelogue

The land of temples, picturesque locales, architecture, and the home of the 'Missile Man' of India - welcome to the Rameswaram Island!

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We take you through a town lost in time, Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram island. Wikimedia

Rameswaram, September 15, 2017 : Off the eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, some 500 km south of Chennai, lies Pamban Island. Seemingly a stone’s throw from neighboring Sri Lanka, this is an island steeped in historical significance, and with some of the most resilient people alive.

One of the longest sea bridges in the country, the iconic Pamban Bridge connects the mainland with the island, also known as Rameswaram Island. With breathtaking views of the Bay of Bengal, the journey to the island over this bridge rewinds one to colonial times, when it was built by the British to improve trade relations with Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).

Built in 1914 as India’s first-ever sea bridge, the 6,700-foot structure is in itself an engineering and historical marvel that has withstood several of nature’s furies — from storms to cyclones.

Rameswaram island
An overview of the Pamban Brindge. Wikimedia

The bridge initially ran up to the southeastern tip of the island, Dhanushkodi, now a ghost town. After a cyclone hit it in 1964, Dhanushkodi was washed away by the sea and is now a mere skeleton of the town it once was.

Remnants of its railway lines, church and the devastated dwellings of people can still be seen, though in very poor shape.

From the tip of the region, cell phone networks welcome one to Sri Lanka.

Visible from here is the Adam’s Bridge — a former land link between India and Sri Lanka, now undersea — that is also known as Rama Setu, the bridge believed to have been built by Lord Rama’s army to rescue Sita from Lanka.

Nambavel, a 50-year-old, says there can be no other home for him than Dhanushkodi, of pristine waters and picturesque views of the Bay of Bengal. Three generations of his family have lived here. Although the deadly cyclone forced many to migrate to villages around, some 50 families, including Nambavel’s, refused to leave.

“This has been our home for as long as we’ve known. We grew up playing in the sea water, then learnt to make our living through fishing or running petty shops,” Nambavel told this visiting IANS correspondent.

Rameswaram island
Residents of Dhanushkodi refuse to abandon their small town; for them the “sea is everything”. Wikimedia

“Even as many people we know migrated to nearby villages, there’s no home like Dhanushkodi for us — the sea is everything,” he said.

With sea levels rising around the world due to global warming, the region is constantly threatened by nature. But that does not deter Nambavel: “Even if another cyclone is close, most of us would like to be here, a land we’ve grown up in.”

Surrounded by sea and sand, the town cannot grow any crops and has no provision for electricity due to the wind velocity in the area. It is only the solar panels, an initiative of late President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who hailed from Rameswaram, that light up the shacks of the few residents.

With Rameswaram considered one of the holiest places for Hindus, a majority of visitors make temples the focus of their travels.

Aiming to showcase the rich cultural and historical heritage of the island, apart from the much-visited temples, Utsa Majumder, the General Manager of the newly-launched Hyatt Place, Rameswaram, is working extensively on various itineraries that uncover the untrodden places in and around the region.

“There’s a lot more that the Rameswaram Island can offer than just the temples it is mostly known for. We want people to know that Rameswaram can be an experiential destination and not just a pilgrimage spot,” Majumder told IANS.

“From historic places that have stood the test of time to some incredible architecture and engineering like the Pamban Bridge, there’s a lot a tourist can see here,” she added.

The hotel offers these itineraries to travelers according to their interests, allowing them to explore different facets of the region, along with menus that present the cuisines of the land — from kuzhi paniyaram (rice batter dumplings) to kara kozhumbu (a spicy tamarind gravy).

Rameswaram Island
Local cuisine at Dhanushkodi. Wikimedia

The region also celebrates its much-beloved son Abdul Kalam. His two-storeyed house on Mosque Street is filled with thousands of his books and is always bustling with people.

A Rs 15-crore memorial to India’s “Missile Man”, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 27, has also grown rather quickly as a tourist attraction. The memorial houses a copy of the last speech Kalam delivered at IIM-Shillong on July 27, 2015, a number of pictures of his meetings with world leaders, and a host of other objects.

As an island that is yearning to receive a boost to its tourism, even a bottle of water bought from a shack in Dhanushkodi goes towards supporting a family.

FAQs:

Reaching there: Flights to Madurai, the nearest airport, from all major cities. From Madurai, Rameswaram can be reached in 3 hrs 30 min (160 kms) by road.

For the picturesque views from a train, pick one that is available almost every hour to Rameswaram from Madurai Railway Station.

Stay: There are four-star, three-star hotels and smaller lodges in the town.

Best time to visit: October to March as the temperatures drop and stay between 20 to 30 degrees C, making travel easier. (IANS)

 

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Journalist Gauri Lankesh Shot Dead ; Protests Organized Across the State as Karnataka Comes to a Standstill

Senior Kannada tabloid Editor and social activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead on Tuesday night by unidentified men at her residence.

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National and international media clike, condemn the murder of Gauri Lankesh, a senior journalist and a fearless critic of right wing politics. Wikimedia
  • Reputed journalist, editor and activist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead on September 5 by three unidentified men outside her house
  • Lankesh was an editor of popular Kannada tabloid “Lankesh Patrike”
  • Protests have erupted in various cities in Kerala following Gauri Lankesh’s murder

Karnataka, September 6, 2017 : Protests erupted across Karnataka on Wednesday morning condemning the dastardly killing of senior Kannada journalist Gauri Lankesh, who was shot dead at her residence here on Tuesday night by three unidentified men.

Journalists, activists, writers, thinkers and women organisations were seen among the crowds that gathered in the city and across the state condemning the killing of the journalist.

People were seen gathered at the Town Hall here for a silent protest, holding placards. “You can kill a person but not their ideas,” read one placard.

Silent demonstration was also staged by journalist groups at the Victoria Hospital grounds, where the autopsy is being done.

Across the state, protests were witnessed in Mangaluru, Kalaburagi, Dharwad, Koppal among other regions, where citizens took to the streets.

Journalists in Mysuru, wearing black ribbons around their shoulders, also held a protest in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office.

Massive protests have also been planned across the country in various cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad among others.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has also cancelled all his official programmes on Wednesday.

“CM has cancelled all engagements, including a day-long trip to Kerala in view of the developments since Tuesday night,” said an official from the Chief Minister’s Office.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi also expressed shock and distress over the murder on Wednesday, saying “this can’t and should not be tolerated”.

Accusing the BJP of silencing dissent, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said it was a part of their ideology. “Anyone who speaks against BJP is silenced…” Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday.

Gauri Lankesh, 55, was shot dead by three unidentified men who had shot her when she returned home from her office in the city.

Lankesh was an editor of popular Kannada tabloid “Lankesh Patrike”.

In November 2016, Gauri Lankesh was sentenced to six months in jail after a defamation case was filed against her for a report against Bharatiya Janata Party leaders. She was out on bail pending an appeal. (IANS)