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Captain strikes at VIP culture in Punjab, shuns red beacon from government officials’ vehicles

Captain Amarinder Singh took a strike at the prevalent VIP culture, barring the ministers of the state, bureaucrats and himself from using the Red beacon on top of the vehicles provided

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Chandigarh, March 18, 2017: In the first cabinet meeting of the new form government led by Captain Amarinder Singh, he took a strike at the prevalent VIP culture, barring the ministers of the state, bureaucrats and himself from using the Red beacon on top of the vehicles provided.

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“My cabinet has decided to rid the state of VIP culture. All beacon lights to be removed from vehicles of Ministers, MLAs and bureaucrats,” said Amarinder Singh.

Moving one step forward, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal announced that none of the ministers and MLAs will lay any foundation stone or do innaugrations.

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“Even for big projects of Rs 100 crore or Rs 200 crore, the names of the Chief Minister and ministers will not be displayed (on the foundation or inauguration stones). It will carry only one line saying that the project has been executed with the money of the taxpayers,” Badal said while talking to the media.

The shift in power of Punjab has led many unsurprising changes. This recent decision came a day after when Punjab government reshuffled top bureaucrats from their current posting with immediate effect.

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While it’s too early to judge the outcome of the mandate given by the cabinet headed by Captain Amarinder, but it isn’t hard to presume the certainty of this verdict over the rampant VIP culture in the state of Punjab.

For now, it’s welcome and applaudable step at the part of the state government. Meanwhile, it would be interesting to watch whether other states pursuit this initiative taken by the incumbent government of Punjab.

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This the second time when Captain Amarinder Singh has returned to power. Prior to this, he served as the Chief Minister of Punjab from 2002 to 2007.

-prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard

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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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Indians Missing in Iraq: Families Swing from Hope to Hopelessness

Earlier this month, Sushma Swaraj had assured Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that her ministry was making all-out efforts to trace and facilitate the return of the 39 Indians.

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Mosul, Iraq
39 Indians still remain missing from Mosul Iraq. Wikimedia
  • Iraqi Foreign Minister on Monday said that he was not sure if the missing Indians were alive or not
  •  Families of 39 Indians, mostly from Punjab, who went missing in Iraq’s Mosul town three years ago are still keeping their fingers crossed
  • A Punjab government official said that they were in touch with the External Affairs Ministry “to ensure that all efforts are made to trace the missing Indians and to get them back home safely”

Chandigarh, July 26, 2017: Families of 39 Indians, mostly from Punjab, who went missing in Iraq’s Mosul town three years ago are still keeping their fingers crossed even after Iraqi Foreign Minister on Monday said that he was not sure if the missing Indians were alive or not.

“We can only hope for the return of our loved ones. We have been going through this torture for the past over three years,” said Manjit Kaur, whose husband Dalwinder is among the missing men.

“The minister (Sushma Swaraj) told us that things are settling in Iraq and the area, where the 39 men are said to be held hostage, could be cleared in the next 2-3 months,” said Kaur, who had met her in New Delhi last week along with families of the other missing men and been assured that all efforts were being made to trace the missing men.

Visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who met Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on Monday, later said: “We’re not 100 per cent sure if they’re alive or not. We don’t know, but we’ll do our best.”

ALSO READ: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Wants Canada to Rein in Radical Sikh Elements

Sushma Swaraj had, earlier this month, also assured Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh that her ministry was making all-out efforts to trace and facilitate the return of the 39 Indians.

Other affected families, who all are from poor backgrounds from different parts of Punjab, say that they have nothing but to pin hopes on the government’s and the minister’s assurances.

“The families are in a bad shape with children and old parents to fend for. Their respective bread-winners, who had gone to Iraq to earn money are not safe. The families are hardly able to sustain themselves despite government help,” said Balbir Singh, friend of one of the missing persons.

Meanwhile, a Punjab government official said that they were in touch with the External Affairs Ministry “to ensure that all efforts are made to trace the missing Indians and to get them back home safely”.

A man from Punjab, Harjit Masih, who escaped from the clutches of IS terrorist organisation in June 2014 had claimed that all 39 Indian nationals who were taken hostage on June 11, 2014 in Mosul town had been killed.

However, the External Affairs Ministry had maintained that it had no information confirming that they were dead. (IANS)

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Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Wants Canada to Rein in Radical Sikh Elements

Amarinder Singh also said the Canadian government should crack down on these forces and ensure that they do not have a free run on social media and other public platforms

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Sikh Community, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh
Children belonging to Sikh Community, Wikimedia

New Delhi July 21, 2017: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday stressed the need for Canada to rein in the radical elements trying to use its soil to spread strife and divisiveness in India.

He raised the issue with Jalandhar-born Canadian MP Rameshwar Singh Sangha, who called on him here.

ALSO READ: Indian American Lawyer Neomi Rao to lead White House Regulatory Affairs Office

“While such elements, including Khalistani supporters, could not have any impact on the Canadian political environment, they could influence the people of India and vitiate the atmosphere here.

“Unfortunately, these elements were successful in spreading their divisive messages in India through the use of the social media,” he said.

Amarinder Singh also said the Canadian government should crack down on these forces and ensure that they do not have a free run on social media and other public platforms. (IANS)