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Creative Kids-Specific Activities organised to mark World Autism Awareness Day

The activities were aimed at clearing misconception about the disorder and create more public awareness

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A mother and her child. Upi.com

New Delhi, April 2, 2017: An array of creative kids-specific activities were organised here on Sunday to mark World Autism Awareness Day.

The activities were aimed at clearing misconception about the disorder and create more public awareness.

Centre for Child and Adolescent Well Being (CCAW) in collaboration with Child Mental Health Foundation (CMHF) organised the day where children took part in several fun activities like “bouncy, whirlpool, horse-riding and paint-stamping” and also arranged for “a special sensory-zone section” for the delight of “hyposensitive and hypersensitive” children.

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“We don’t believe in competitions… rather excellence should be the primary factor for driving children towards greater achievements. Activities at Autism Carnival are made of merriment, compassion and appreciation,” Shreya Tandon, a Child Psychologist working with CCAW, said in a statement.

This was the fifth such ‘Autism Carnival’ held by the organisers and was titled ‘My Playground’.

A parent of a child with autism and also an expert therapist herself, Indu Chaswal, said: “Feel like you are sitting in a chair that has a broken leg, wearing heavily starched clothes and there are loud noises all around you. What if you do not have the words to express your predicament? This, precisely, can be a moment of life for a person with autism.”

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“Autism is a neurological disorder that appears in the first three years of life and there are a varying range of symptoms from mild social and communication difficulties to associated learning difficulties,” the organisers explained in the statement.

They also emphasised that every child is unique in his or her own way and society must learn to appreciate that. (IANS)

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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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Understanding Phenomenon of Mind: Here’s why Children Today lack Thinking Abilities!

Creativity is the phenomenon of mind, where thinking and imagination work together to produce reality

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Children today lack the thinking skills
Children must be given full freedom to develop their thinking skills. Pixabay
We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we create the world.”  — The Buddha, The Dammapada

New Delhi, July 25th, 2017: The ability to create has always been the most underestimated yet the most practically advantageous quality in a person. Ours is the world that is constantly changing, can we, then, rely just on fixed ideas to get through? Creativity is not an option but an indispensable quality for success, adaptation or plain survival. The question that comes to mind is “Where are the origins of this ‘creativity’?” The answer is pretty simple, It is the phenomenon of mind, where thinking and imagination work together to produce reality.

NewGram got in touch with teachers from Delhi and Punjab to discuss child psychology, how flawed education system is affecting child’s intellectual growth.

Children today are lacking the much-needed thinking skills!
It has been noticed that the majority of children today do not possess the ability to think. Even the most ‘socially considered intelligent’ among the bunch, fail to respond appropriately when faced with a situation where only thinking or creativity could come to their rescue. The possible reasons for this are not exactly a mystery, for a lot of research and studies have been performed by the curious minds, to decode the answer to this mare’s nest, leaving us with certain assumptions and probabilities.

Could it be, by any chance, that the education system itself is flawed? In most countries of the world, marks remain the ultimate target and the criteria on which the intelligence of a child is judged. Marks, as we know, are attained by real hard work, but making marks the priority seems to be diminishing a child’s keenness to think. If they can read the facts, write the same on a piece of paper, get great marks and be called intelligent, why would they take the initiative to think and innovate? The system should aim to develop a child’s curiosity, their interest needs to be ignited, and consequently, their ability to think.

Children today are lacking the much-needed thinking skills. Click To Tweet

While speaking to NewsGram, Sunita Rani, a teacher at Shaheed Ganj Public School, Faridkot, Punjab says, “everybody is after marks, children, their parents, and even most of the teachers are compelled to think this way. I personally believe brains were meant to think, to analyze, but today’s children have given up on thinking over anything, even what I just said for that matter. This is disappointing, but system doesn’t work according to our wishes,”

Internet seems to be another monster in disguise, for children who rely on it, for almost anything and everything. They don’t feel the need to click their brains, when they can get to know most of everything, by clicking on their mouse instead.

“The availability of everything on the internet has made children lazy, no need to remember things, no need to attempt to understand the complicated in it’s original form, when you can easily understand it by finding some simpler alternatives on the internet. Impact of technology has not been very positive when it comes to children’s thinking skills,” says Renu Singla, a science teacher in Swami Sivananda Memorial School, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi.

ALSO READ: Memory and thinking tests can help in early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: New Study

Freedom is also something, the lack of which can directly or indirectly restrain children’s thinking skills. Constant monitoring and adult evaluation stifles creativity. On the contrary, allowing children to learn, explore, get bored, and overcome boredom, all by their own, not only nurtures creativity but also makes them confident and willing to take decisions, preparing future leaders in the process.

Creative culture that we have, demands creative people. Real situations need real people with the real/practical abilities to think, understand and find solutions. Even career wise, Most people have a decent academic profile, but what the employers seek now, are these abilities in the prospective employee, that can make their establishment reach real goals in real time.

And remind me again of the time, when you were deciding what to drink, where to invest, or how to deal with a difficult client, and what you crammed in the last history exam (for which you got an A), helped?

– reported by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393