The First Yoga Championship in Cairo was held on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan on June 5
The youngest Yoga practitioner at the Championship was six years old, and the oldest was 71 years old
The Yoga Schools teach different types of Yoga, especially hatha yoga and meditation
In the run-up to the International Day of Yoga, the Embassy of India and the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture played host to a first of its kind Yoga Championship in Cairo on June 5, 2016. The event took place against the backdrop of the Nile in the lush green lawns of the Embassy.
The Yoga Championship was a landmark event in an Arab country and saw the participation of more than 35 highly proficient Egyptian and foreign Yoga enthusiasts. The youngest Yoga practitioner at the Championship was six years old, and the oldest was 71 years old. The participants were divided into four categories — under 18 years, 18-30 years, 30-45 years and above 45 years. Each contestant performed ten basic and five advanced asanas to the tune of Indian music and chanting and loud cheers from the audiences.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Sanjay Bhattacharyya welcomed the growing number of Yoga practitioners in Egypt and said, “The essence of Yoga is to start from the level of one’s capacities and to strive continuously for higher levels of accomplishment.”
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The First Yoga Championship in Cairo was held on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan. Dr Prabhakar Medhikar, one of the three jury members of Yoga Championship said, “The successful conduct of the event on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan is a proof of the appreciation, acceptance and adoption of the Indian way of living a natural and healthy life of universal love, peace and harmony.”
Another jury member Ms Amira Fahmy extolled the virtues of Yoga. She said, “The First Yoga Championship is making history in Egypt. There is a tremendous potential for organising this Championship in future. The Yoga Sessions could be organised in schools as well. It will help schoolchildren become responsible humans.” Dr Bharat Singh was the third jury member.
Yashmine Hashem, one of the participants, said, “It was a beautiful day, and all of us had fun. Winning or losing was not the idea. The biggest takeaway for us was allowing others to inspire us to do our best.”
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Although the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture had started the formal teaching of Yoga way back in the Nineties, the growing popularity of Yoga could be credited to the first International Day of Yoga held in the Egyptian Capital last year. The number of Yoga Schools has grown three-fold in Cairo and today there are around 40 such centres.
The Yoga Schools teach different types of Yoga, especially hatha yoga and meditation, and maintain close contacts with Dr Bharat Singh, who has been providing Yoga lessons to more than 170 students in each term. They also form a bridge between Egypt and India and many of the Yoga students visit India for advanced lessons. Recently, two Yoga teachers were sent to New Delhi for advanced training under the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC).
The Embassy of India is also conducting the ‘Yoga in Egypt’ Photography Contest. It is open for all Egyptians nationals, and resident non-Egyptians as well. A maximum of two entries per person is allowed, and the deadline for receiving the entries is June 12, 2016.
The 10 best-selected photographs will then qualify for a Facebook competition. The best three entries will be judged on the basis of the number of ‘Likes’ which will have 50% weightage, and remaining weightage will be for the score given by an independent jury.
The best three entries and the winners of the First Yoga Championship will be awarded medals, certificates and prizes on the International Day of Yoga at the Al-Azhar Park. Given the growing popularity of yoga in Egypt, preparations are underway to host the International Day of Yoga 2016 events in Alexandria and Ismailia as well.
– by Shillpi A Singh, a freelance contributor at NewsGram. She may be reached at: email@example.com
Veerappan was a smuggler of ivory and sandalwood in the southern states of India.
He killed government officials and civilians alike when they tried to stop his illegal activities.
He died in October 2004 during ‘Operation Cocoon’, which was carried out by a Special Task Force.
Poaching, smuggling, extortion, smuggling, brigandry, murder — these are some of the few charges against Koose Munisamy Veerappan Gounder, popularly known as Veerappan, for whom was constituted India’s largest manhunt, on which the government spent around 1.5 million Rupees. From his childhood, narratives about the elusive dacoit were laced with fiction, as he became an object of myth when he was only ten years old, and had infamously shot his first tusker elephant for ivory. His notoriety became a national concern when the government banned ivory trade in India, and he began felling trees for precious sandalwood, thus beginning a period marred by Veerappan killing government officials and locals alike when they became an obstacle.
Veerappan unleashed a reign of terror on the southern states of India from the early 1980s till his death in 2004; during which Veerappan killing police officers and civilians alike caused a nationwide uproar. In 1990, the notorious smuggler had beheaded a forest officer K. Srinivas, which wasn’t recovered until three years later. In 2000, he had kidnapped the Kannada actor K. Rajkumar, whose release was negotiated through Nakkeeran editor Gopal, to whom the infamous poacher admitted to murdering as many as 120 people. Matters came to a head when abducted the former Karnataka minister H. Nagappa in 2002, and killed him when his demands were not met.
A Special Task Force or STF was constituted for the capture of Veerappan in 1991, which, headed by K. Vijay Kumar, launched Operation Cocoon in 2004, which finally resulted in Veerappan’s death. Kumar, aided by his previous experience with Veerappan, based Operation Cocoon on human intelligence and interaction, during which multiple STF personnel blended in with the locals in areas frequented by Veerappan. The initial stages of Operation Cocoon consisted of gaining the trust of Veerappan’s associates, till they started divulging details about his failing health. In the years before his death, the elusive outlaw seemed to have lost much of his vigour and vitality, as he suffered from diabetes, and a cataract had almost blinded him in one eye. On 18th October, 2004, the police lured Veerappan out of familiar terrains in an ambulance, and apprehended him at a roadblock, where he was killed in the crossfire between his team and the STF, via three bullets. The photographs after Veerappan’s demise show him in a pathetic light, bereft of his signature handlebar moustache, and the agility which had facilitated his escape for over four decades.
There have been a lot of controversies regarding his death, as many media houses and activists have claimed that Operation Cocoon has derived Veerappan of a fair trial by law. Some have even claimed that he was tortured to death in police custody. The facts regarding the elusive sandalwood smuggler remain inconclusive even after a decade of his death, due to the lack of concrete evidence.
Yoga being the ultimatum for a good respiratory system
Smog, the choking threat which has landed the national capital in a pollution emergency, has been the cause of many respiratory problems in children and adults. When your daily commute feels like living on the edge, what are your other outdoor activities supposed to feel like?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is dangerous to breathe when there is too much smog. Smog contains ozone particles, and elevated ozone levels can have a variety of negative effects on your lungs.
While it is advised to stay indoors when the air is toxic outside, a more practical solution would be to establish a habit of cleansing your respiratory organs through Yoga.
If Yoga has been shown to improve the quality of life of lung cancer patients, it could definitely do wonders against other respiratory issues. Here are a few asanas you could try to give you relief from chest congestion, respiratory flues and discomfort in breathing.
* Pranayama: This has proved beneficial for those suffering with bronchitis or lung congestion.
How to do it:
1. While performing pranayama one should make sure that his or her back is straight and should concentrate on the breathing.
2. Sahaj Pranayama, which is also called easy breathing, involves breathing a few times deeply.
3. Inhale through the nostrils for five counts and hold the breath for 10 counts.
4. Exhale through the mouth for 10 counts; this has to be repeated 10-12 times.
* Adho Mukha Svanasana: This posture strengthens the chest muscles and expands the lung region, increasing its capacity.
How to do it:
1. From table top position, tuck your toes, straighten your legs and lift your hips towards the ceiling.
2. Adjust your hands forward a bit, if necessary, and spread your fingers.
3. Keep your spine long, and your head and neck in line with your spine. Hold for one minute.
* Bhujangasana: This asana opens up the heart and lungs and gives them a good stretch.
How to do it:
1. Lie on your stomach; engage your back muscles in lifting your head and upper torso.
2. Align your elbows underneath your shoulders for support.
3. Open your chest and relax your shoulders away from your ears.
4. Look straight ahead and hold for one minute.
* Sukhasana: This heavy breathing seated position relieves yourself from stress, anxiety and exhaustion.
How to do it:
1. Sit erect, with the feet stretched out towards the front.
2. Now cross the legs in such a way that the knees are wide, shins are crossed, and each foot is placed under the knee. Knees must be bent, and legs should be tucked into the torso.
3. Feet must be relaxed, and the outer edges must rest on the floor while the inner edges must arch on the shins. Look down on your legs, must see a triangle formed by shins that are crossed and both the thighs.
4. Back must be balanced in such a way that the tailbone and the pubic bone are at equal distance from the floor.
5. Place the palms stacked up in your lap. Or you can also lay them on the knees palms up or palms down.
6. Elongate the tailbone, and firm up the shoulders. But make sure the lower back is not arched in such a way that it pokes the lower ribs forward.
* Marjari Asana: This involves deep breathing, which in turn expands the lungs and boosts blood circulation.
How to do it:
1. Begin with Adhomukhi Swanasana
2. Lean forward and place your knees down on your mat
3. Inhale, look up and relax
4. Inhale as you drop your knees
5. While navigating back, shift the body weight from the knees to palms and feet.
(Akshar is founder and course director of Bengaluru’s Akshar Yog. The views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org) (IANS)
Bhai Boolchand, the anonymous Indian, is credited with starting trade between Ghana and India
The year was 1890.
Not much is known about him, but it has now emerged that trade relations between Ghana and Indiawere started by Bhai Boolchand, the first Indian to arrive in the Gold Coast — Ghana’s colonial name — in 1890. That’s some 67 years before the British colonial government granted the country independence, research by the Indian Association of Ghana has found.
“As far as our records show, Bhai Boolchand (of the Bhaiband Sindhworki trading community), landed on the shores of the Gold Coast in western Africa in 1890. Nearly twenty years later, in 1919, the first Sindhi company was established by two brothers — Tarachand Jasoomal Daswani and Metharam Jasoomal Daswani,” the Indian Association said.
The duo opened a store — Metharam Jassomal Brothers — in the then capital city of Cape Coast in 1919.
“Their business flourished and branches were opened in Accra and Kumasi. A few years later, the two brothers separated and whilst Bhai Metharam Jasoomal continued the business as Metharam Brothers, Tarachand Jasoomal operated his business as Bombay Bazaar. These were the first two Indian companies that were established in the Gold Coast,” the Association said.
Boolchand’s arrival, therefore, pre-dates the historical links between the two countries that were always thought to have started between Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkruman, and India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Boolchand can thus be described as the one who paved the way for the arrival of other members of the Sindhi community, initially as traders and shopkeepers.
The Indian Association said more of this group arrived in the 1950s and 1960s, with a few venturing into manufacturing industries such as garments, plastics, textiles, insecticides, electronics, pharmaceuticals and optical goods.
The Association said two more Indian firms were established under the names of Lilaram Thanwardas and Mahtani Brothers in the 1920s. This trend continued in the 1930s and 1940s with the creation of several more Indian companies like T. Chandirams, Punjabi Brothers, Wassiamal Brothers, Hariram Brothers, K. Chellaram & Sons, G. Motiram, D.P. Motwani, G. Dayaram, V. Lokumal, and Glamour Stores.
Glamour Stores, which was stared by Ramchand Khubchandani who arrived in Ghana in 1929, has grown — after changing its name to Melcom Group — to become the largest retailing business in the country. The Melcom Group, headed by Ramchand’s son Bhagwan Khubchandani, is now in its 60th year and about 40 stores all over the country.
Ramchand and his brother later went into garment manufacturing in 1955 and once employed over 1,200 Ghanaians. They later opened the first Indian restaurant, Maharaja, in Ghana. Bhagwan followed in his father’s footsteps and in 1989 established the Melcom Group with his sons-in-law, Mahesh Melwani and Ramesh Sadhwani.
Another Indian-owned company that has survived through the years is the Mohanani Group, which is currently in its 51st year. At the first-ever Ghana Expatriate Business Awards, the Ministry of Trade and Industries recognised the work of one of the thriving Indian-owned B5 Plus Steel Company and awarded it the Best Expatriate Company in the metal and steel category.
As these companies brought in new expatriate staff, some left their employers to venture out on their own — resulting in more companies opening up.
“After 1947, the Gold Coast attracted the attention of some Indian multinational companies, and big names like Chanrai, Bhojsons, K.A.J. Chotirmal, Dalamals and A.D. Gulab opened branches in Ghana,” the Association said.
“The employment of Ghanaians by these founding companies also helped to lessen the burden of unemployment in the country. This amply demonstrates the level of commitment India has in the developmental agenda of Ghana,” it said.
Indians are not only investing in the manufacturing and commercial sectors of the country; they are also investing in the financial sector. Bank of Baroda, one of India’s biggest and most reputable banks, recently established a branch in Ghana and hopefully it will expand its operations in other parts of the country very soon. (IANS)